The audience at Sunday night’s (Dec. 4) Broadway opening of A Beautiful Noise: the Neil Diamond Musical showed up to hear their favorite hits from the legendary 81-year-old singer. But they went home with much more. According to CNN, Diamond surprised theatergoers when he popped up in the balcony during the curtain call to help lead the audience in a singalong of his beloved 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline.”
The singer, who retired from touring in 2018 after receiving a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, sang the song’s opening lines before encouraging the packed house at the Broadhurst Theatre to join in on the iconic chorus as the house band played along. The pop-in at the jukebox musical that pays homage to his long, hit-filled musical career was New Yorker Diamond’s first appearance in his hometown since 2017 and one of the few times he’s appeared in public since his diagnosis.
According to People, before the surprise, Diamond walked the red carpet with his wife, Katie McNeil, and received a standing ovation from the audience upon entering the theater. While Diamond has kept a low profile since 2018, he did show up for a rare public appearance during a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park in June to sing “Caroline.”
Diamond stepped out during the 8th inning of the Red Sox’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals to deliver a rousing rendition of his 1969 hit; the singer had last performed at Fenway Park in 2013, just days after the Boston Marathon bombing. “Sweet Caroline” has been an 8th inning tradition at the ballpark since 1997. Standing alongside Diamond at Fenway was Broadway veteran Will Swenson, who plays the lead role in A Beautiful Noise.
Check out footage of the impromptu “Caroline” singalong below.