For 150 minutes, no one mentioned Donald J. Trump.
Instead, a constellation of well-known Broadway performers gathered on Friday at the Town Hall auditorium in Manhattan to sing a collection of songs about love of country and hope for the future, offering a competing vision of America to the one they associate with the country’s new president, who had been inaugurated a few hours earlier.
Without a word of direct criticism, the diverse array of performers spoke of values they clearly believe are now under threat — equal protection for sexual and racial minorities, support for the poor, government aid to the arts — and raised money for groups supporting civil liberties, women’s health and environmental protection.
Ben Vereen performing in 2012. At the 'Concert for America' on Friday in New York, Mr. Vereen sang “What a Wonderful World.” (Karsten Moran for The New York Times)
“It ain’t over yet,” a visibly choked up Ben Vereen repeatedly interpolated into the lyrics of “What a Wonderful World,” prompting a standing ovation. “We have no room for discouragement,” said Mr. Vereen, who won a Tony Award in 1973 as the Leading Player in “Pippin.” “Hope is all we’ve got.”