It's going to be a mega-concert in Central Park with thousands upon thousands of people to mark New York City's dramatic, ongoing comeback from COVID-19. And now we're learning more about the stars who will headline the comeback show.
Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Hudson are slated to take part in the grand musical event scheduled for the Great Lawn section of the park on Aug. 21.
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who sang in the legendary, hit-making rock-folk duo Simon & Garfunkel before embarking on an acclaimed solo career, is a Queens native and no stranger to headlining Central Park concerts: a 1981 free concert with Art Garfunkel that attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators and a headlining 1991 concert that also attracted an audience of hundreds of thousands -- among the largest audiences in music history.
Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson rose to fame in the early aughts when she participated in the singing reality competition American Idol before winning a multitude of awards -- including Grammys and an Oscar -- and becoming not only a revered singer but also a respected actress.
The announcement that "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen, a New Jersey native, will also be headlining New York City's homecoming mega-concert comes on the heels of his smash-hit Broadway show coming back to New York City for a limited run of new performances, making it the first Broadway show to reopen since the theater industry shut down due to the pandemic.
"Three amazing artists have stepped forward and said they want to be part of the comeback of New York City," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. "They want to help us do this and we are really appreciative of all three."
"This is going to be a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime week in New York City," the mayor said.
De Blasio originally said he wants a three-hour show for 60,000 fans and eight "iconic" musicians performing. He also previously said there will be both vaccinated and non-vaccinated sections, and perhaps best of all: most tickets will be free. At least 70 percent of the tickets will go to people who can prove that they got the shot, however.
De Blasio enlisted the help of veteran music producer Clive Davis to pull it all off.
"The concert will be in August. It will celebrate the summer of New York City, the comeback, and it will emphatically make the point there is no stopping New York. It's going to be a great lineup," the mayor said last month. "I know it's going to be a great lineup because we turned to literally one of the greatest figures in music industry history - Clive Davis - Brooklyn's own."
The mega-concert will form part of the city's homecoming week, which will include other big events planned in the five boroughs.
The homecoming week is the brainchild of Danny Meyer, chair of the New York City Economic Development Corporation Board, the mayor said, adding that Meyer has proved "legendary for the work he has done in the hospitality industry and a great booster for New York City."
"When he came on board with our team he said let's do something that really pulls all the pieces together - let's have a homecoming week. And then we said, 'What would be the focal point? What would be the highlight of this week?" We decided to do something classic, iconic, a massive concert in Central Park to celebrate the rebirth of New York City."