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Explosion Won't Halt Broadway Opening

This undated photo released by Springer Associates shows Anika Noni Rose, left, and Terrence Howard in the Tennessee Williams classic "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" showing at the Broadhurst Theater in New York from March 6 to April 13, 2008.
AP Photo/Joan Marcus
Broadway's motto - the show must go on - rang truer than ever Thursday as celebrities lined up to attend a big theater opening, undeterred by a low-level explosion that did minor damage to a Times Square Army recruitment office early Thursday.

Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Rosie O'Donnell and other celebrities are still expected in New York tonight to attend the opening of a new production of the Tennessee Williams classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," starring Terrence Howard and James Earl Jones.


Photos: Terrence Howard
The explosion "hasn't affected anything really," the show's publicist, Gary Springer, told The ShowBuzz.

Published reports that that Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, Oprah Winfrey and even Sen. Barack Obama were coming to the event turned out not to be true.

"I don't know where they got those names," Springer said. "As far as I know, Obama wasn't even invited."

Perhaps the rumor started after the Secret Service did a security check last Thursday of the Broadhurst Theater, where the play is being staged. Springer confirmed that the Secret Service were there, but they never divulged why they were checking the theater.

Bill Clinton, who as a former president is protected by the Secret Service, did receive an official invitation to the play.

Other celebrities expected to attend include Jeremy Piven, Eartha Kitt, Harry Belafonte, Whoopie Goldberg, Cicely Tyson, Lynn Whitfield, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund and Berry Gordy.

Jones plays the role of Big Daddy opposite Howard's Brick in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" with "Dreamgirls" star Anika Noni Rose as Maggie and Phylicia Rashad as Big Momma.

The first Broadway production of the play featuring an African-American cast, it is directed by Debbie Allen. If robust tickets sales and a stellar cast are any indication, this play will be anything but a bomb. It has already grossed nearly $1.3 million in just two weeks of previews to nearly sold-out crowds.

Authorities said that the low-order explosive planted in an ammunition box at the Army recruitment center went off at about 3:45 a.m. Thursday, shattering the station's glass entryway. No one was injured.

No one was inside the station, where the Marines, Air Force and Navy also recruit.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that New Yorkers were not deterred by the incident. "People are going about their business: shopping, working and sightseeing. They were not intimidated.

"New York City is back and open for business," he said.