Celebs jump at the chance to entertain the USO
It didn’t stop with the telethon. Celebrities on both coasts are responding to the rising tide of patriotism. Case in point: The USO is suddenly popular — and not just with Bob Hope and his peers. ”There’s been an unprecedented number of calls coming in,” says USO entertainment director Jim Pearcy. ”Some are telling us they would go anywhere on a moment’s notice.” Before the attacks, Pearcy’s big show was a now-postponed Go-Go’s reunion in Puerto Rico in November. Now he’s talking to heavyweights like Aerosmith, Chris Rock, and Jamie Foxx about performing for U.S. troops. Details are still being ironed out, but Pearcy says he’d like to broadcast some shows via Armed Forces Television for soldiers in the most far-flung corners of the world.
Flag-waving musicians have other outlets, like arenas needing a designated national anthem crooner. Sports franchises nationwide report being inundated with calls from agents hoping to book their clients for the now-desirable gig. There have been so many requests — particularly from A-listers — that teams are adding ”America the Beautiful” or ”God Bless America” to pregame festivities. (The New England Patriots even plugged in Lee Greenwood’s ”God Bless the USA.”) ”We’ve never had problems attracting hot artists to perform at our games,” says New York Knicks presentation manager Jennifer Maclure, who booked the likes of Macy Gray last year. ”But now we want to get Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Bette Midler — performers who normally would not sing at a regular Knicks game.”