By Dave Carlin

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the road to reopening, Friday marks one year since the coronavirus pandemic shut down theaters.

But, as CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the industry is showing new signs of life, as pop-up shows are bringing back some of Broadway‘s favorite stars.

Liza Minelli loves New York and it definitely loves her back, a glowing affection brighter than Times Square. Famous friends will pay tribute to her Friday, her 75th birthday.

“My darling Liza, she came to see me in a show called ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ She said, ‘Great show.’ She came back every night and then we became friends and we’re friends to this day,” Ben Vereen said.

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The online party brings back dancers and others in the entertainment industry, at a time when they need work the most.

Haley Swindal, Joel Grey, Chita Rivera and many more will take part for this birthday benefitting for The Actors Fund.

In a statement, Brian Stokes Mitchell, its chairman, said, “Liza Minelli’s spirit is generous, her talents are boundless and her age is timeless. We are honored that producers chose The Actors Fund to benefit from this birthday celebration.”

That’s online, but more and more our favorite artists are back doing in-person shows.

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Legendary rocker, poet and author Patti Smith was recently at the Brooklyn Museum performing live. Smith entertained a crowd of about 50, and it lasted an hour.

It was just one in a series from NY Pops Up, of close to 1,000 events planned statewide between now and Labor Day.

“It’s viral. It’s important,” Blake Ross said.

Ross is with another group that presents pop-up entertainment, NYC Next.

“It’s ephemeral. It’s momentary. But it will help sustain people until they can get back to work,” Ross said.

“We are bringing as much joy that we can to the city and as much work to as many people as possible,” added Holly-Anne Devlin of Kaleidoscope Productions.

READ MORETony-Award Winning Actor Ben Vereen Hopeful About Bringing Broadway Back, Encourages Others To Get Vaccinated, ‘Let’s Get Our Country Back To Work’

Big events with big stars are being rehearsed and will show up soon, but details must must be kept secret until the last minute to avoid attracting large crowds. But it does get the dazzle back, step by step.

Want to find out more about the pop-up shows? Please click here.

For more information on a “Love Letter to Liza: A 75th Birthday Tribute Celebration,” please click here and here.

Dave Carlin