Light the lights—the Curtain Up Broadway Festival is back to take over Times Square for a celebration of all things Broadway. September 9 marks day two of the three-day festival. Playbill, The Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance have brought the outdoor experience back for a third year, presented by Prudential Financial with additional support from the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Music Performance Trust Fund, The Film Fund, Open Jar Studios, and Hotel Edison. The festivities continue through September 10.
Stretching between 45th and 47th Streets, the Festival will include interactive events and performances that are all live, free, and open to the public. The various concerts from the weekend will stream live at Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
Saturday's programming kicks off at 10:30 AM on the Duffy Square Mainstage with Alvin Ailey's Revelations dance workshop. Wear comfy clothing because you'll be learning modified excerpts from the iconic Ailey dance number. Performers will include Amos Machanic, Renée Robinson, Fatima Logan-Alston, Cheryl Rowley-Gaskins, and Aaron Thomas with David Alston on drums.
Next up over at the Dueling Pianos is a Chicago sing-along, led by Chicago Broadway cast member Angel Reda! Celebrate 26 years on Broadway by belting out "All That Jazz," "When You're Good to Mama," "Roxie," and all your favorites from the John Kander-Fred Ebb score.
At 1 PM, pianists Elijah Caldwell and Rachel Kaufman will duke it out at Dueling Pianos. Audience members will be able to choose the tunes and sing-along at this wildly fun event for the true theatre fan.
Wicked's Brittney Johnson will host the culmination of the Prudential Stages on Broadway contest at the Duffy Square Mainstage beginning at 1:30 PM. Our four finalists—Brianna Kaleen, Chris Richie, Alli Sutton, and Zalah Vallien—will perform live for the chance to be chosen as the grand prize winner, an honor that comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an opportunity for financial advice from a Prudential Advisor. James Sampliner is music directing, leading an orchestra comprising Roberto Shina, Steve Count, Richard Mercurio, John Putnam, Michael Bono, Aaron Heick, Alex Morrison Hamlin, Matt Owens, Dan Morris Levine, Judy Yin-Chi Lee, John Dinklage, Mary Jo Strip, Kiku Enomoto, and Eleanor Anne Norton. Tony winner LaChanze will also be on hand to accept Prudential's donation to Black Theatre United.
Directly following will be another event at Dueling Pianos, this time featuring Kaufman and Drew Wutke.
Over at the Mainstage, the Broadway Block Party will get going at 3 PM with Playbill's Bryan Campione hosting and DJ Mike Borowski spinning Broadway hits.
¡Viva! Broadway will make a triumphant return to the Duffy Square Mainstage with a new concert subtitled Aquí y Allá (Here and There) at 5 PM. Conceived and directed by Luis Salgado, the concert will celebrate history from the inspiration of early songwriters to the authentic voices and stories of Broadway today. Jaime Lozano is music directing, and Eric Ulloa is writing. Scheduled to appear are Andréa Burns (The Rose Tattoo), Tami Dahbura (Kinky Boots), Matías De La Flor (Camelot), Linedy Genao (Bad Cinderella), Javier Ignacio (Company), Angel Sigala (New York, New York), Martín Solá (How To Dance In Ohio), four-time Tony Award-winning costume designer Emilio Sosa (Sweeney Todd), and Maria Bilbao (On Your Feet!, Westchester Broadway Theatre), along with Mayelah Barrera, Florencia Cuenca (A Never Ending Line), Henry Gainza (Mr. Saturday Night), Mario Tadeo (Teatro Latea), and Pablo Torres (¡Americano!), and ensemble members Angelica Beliard (Summer), Adriel Flete (Hamilton), Megan Elyse Fulmer (¡Americano!), Christian Galvis (No Hard Feelings), Henry Gendron (MJ The Musical), Anna Guerra (The Gala), Yani Marin (Dancin’), Jenny Mollet (The Color Purple), and Ralphie Rivera (On Your Feet!). Band members include Lozano, Alejandro Berti, Jonathan Gomez, associate music director Daniel Gutierrez, Alex Hamlin, Yahir Montes, Hugo Moreno, Victor Pablo, Ruben Rodriguez, and Alberto Toro. (This concert will not be available for live streaming.)
Closing out the evening will be Rockers On Broadway at 6:30 PM at Dueling Pianos. Join Broadway’s Donnie Kehr (Jersey Boys) and his band as they rock the stage with Broadway and contemporary rock-and-roll hits, alongside special guests including Gerard Canonico (Almost Famous), Maya Days (Aida), Keirsten Nicole Hodgens (SIX: The Musical), Michael Longoria (Jersey Boys), Jennifer Perry (Kinky Boots), Nick Prez (The Circle of Eyes), Max Sangerman (A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical), Jeremy Schonfeld (Iron & Coal), Bligh Voth (The Band’s Visit), Aléna Watters (Bad Cinderella), and PATH Fund Student Performers Claudia Fabella, Isabelle Gottfried, Avery Rehl, GG Roberts-Nguyen, Matteo Russo, Sylvia Smith, Jurnee Swan, and Audrey Simone Winters. The Rockers On Broadway band includes Kehr, Prez, Gary Bristol, Hidayat Honari, Jay Leslie, John Putnam, and Dan Weiner. The concert is executive-produced by Cori Gardner, with additional support from stage manager Michael T. Clarkson and production manager Mitchell “Bubbles” Keller.
“What better way to kick off a new Broadway season than to celebrate the Curtain Up Broadway Festival in Times Square. This incredible three-day festival will host special concerts, sing-alongs, and workshops, just to name a few of the many exciting events planned,” says Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “Last season, Broadway had a total attendance of 12.3 million, indicating just how much live theatre means to so many and its pivotal role in NYC’s economic development. We’ll wrap up the weekend with the Curtain Up! LIVE from Broadway finale concert on Sunday, September 10th and thank WABC for returning to live broadcast the star-studded show.”
"We at Playbill are extremely excited to help bring the Curtain Up Broadway Festival to Times Square once again with our friends and partners at Prudential, the Times Square Alliance, and The Broadway League,” adds Alex Birsh, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Playbill. “It brings us so much excitement to welcome all patrons of Times Square to celebrate Broadway in such a fabulous way. Join us in the fun as we celebrate Broadway’s new season during our three days in Times Square, culminating in our finale concert on Sunday.”
“At Prudential, we recognize that Broadway and local theatres help drive inclusion and expand access to the arts for millions of people in New York City and across the globe,” explains Susan Somersille Johnson, Prudential’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We are proud to be partnering once again with Playbill, The Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance to help stimulate the local economy and positively impact the industry while giving aspiring and emerging artists the opportunity to capitalize on their 'Now What?' moments.”
“Broadway is the beating heart of Times Square and New York City, and we are thrilled to join our great partners at The Broadway League, Playbill, and Prudential to kick off the new season with Curtain Up Broadway Festival,” says Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. “We continue to see regularly over 400,000 people pass through Times Square each day, and our hope is that throughout the three-day festival we will see Broadway fans from near and far enjoying this free programming in the heart of Times Square.”
“We are so proud to support live theatre in NYC by once again partnering with Playbill, The Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance to present the Curtain Up! Broadway Festival," states Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Pat Swinney Kaufman. “This year our involvement will include a special presentation of the Broadway Block Party, which will provide festival goers multiple opportunities to dance and sing throughout the weekend in NYC's iconic center of cultural activity, Times Square."
“Thanks to The Film Fund’s Trustee, Bob Jaffe for joining with the recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund in supporting the musicians who make Curtain Up! and all Broadway musicals such a treasured New York experience,” says Dan Beck, the Trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund.
Join the conversation about Curtain Up Broadway Festival by following @Playbill, @TimesSquareNYC, and @BroadwayLeague and using #CurtainUpBway.
For a full, detailed listing of events taking place all weekend, visit Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
Take a look at the 2022 Curtain Up Festival: