A Manhattan hospital transformed into the Great White Way Tuesday when a crew of Broadway actors gave a surprise performance to children suffering from life-threatening diseases.
Stars from the hit show, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” made their cameos at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders.
The young patients sang along and shook tambourines and maracas as the actors belted out such tunes as “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Girl on Fire,” and “We Will Rock You.”
“It’s so special to able to connect to these kids who we don’t know,” said Jessica Keenan Wynn, who plays Cynthia Weil in the musical.
“We don’t know what they could be dealing with, and they can engage and really smile and enjoy the connection and the activity.”
Chilina Kennedy, who plays Carole King in the musical, serenaded the children with an acoustic-style version of “Twinkle Twinkle.”
Afterward, she said she jumped at the chance to perform in front of the ailing children.
“For me, it turns music back into what it should be, which is something that everybody can do, everybody can enjoy,” Kennedy said.
Xanath Hernandez, 9, who suffers from leukemia, said music therapy helps her relax and keep focused on her goals.
“I like singing because it can relax you, it can calm your body,” Xanath said. “It’s a way to release the stress that you have. It’s also useful for focusing on things that you want and also just hearing other people’s talent.”
The other actor who took part in the center’s music therapy program was Alan Wiggins.
They all handed out signed CDs of the “Beautiful” soundtrack so the kids can sing along to the show tunes the next time the actors stop by.
Hospital music therapist Joseph Lee, who has been working with NYU Langone patients for eight years, hailed the special visit.
“It’s a great way for them to express themselves and make choices and have fun like regular kids get to do,” Lee said.