Light the lights—the Curtain Up Broadway Festival is back to take over Times Square for a celebration of all things Broadway beginning September 8. Playbill, The Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance have brought the three-day 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.
The various concerts from the weekend will stream live at Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
And as the weekend gets going, a major A-list star has just signed on to the roster of notables scheduled to make appearances and performances throughout the weekend. Two-time Grammy winner Melissa Ethridge, poised to bring her solo show My Window to Broadway's Circle in the Square beginning September 14, will make a special appearance as a presenter at the Curtain Up! Live From Broadway finale concert September 10 at 11 AM. The concert will broadcast live on WABC.
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 Festival starts with a Divas of Broadway Sing-Along at Belt it Out on Broadway Dueling Pianos. Marie's Crisis pianist and Trixie Mattel album producer Brandon James Gwinn will play some of the greatest hits made famous by Broadway's most fabulous leading ladies as the audience sings along.
But the true kick off comes at 2:30 PM on the Mainstage in Duffy Square. Hosted by Here Lies Love's Arielle Jacobs and Melody Butiu, the event will feature performances from Colin Donnell (The Shark is Broken), Patti Murin (Frozen), Eric Krop (Godspell), and Jelani Remy (Back to the Future), along with guest speakers from Playbill, The Broadway League, Times Square Alliance, Prudential Financial, The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Hotel Edison, Open Jar Studios, The Entertainment Community Fund, and more. Jonathan Ivie music directs.
The Broadway Block Party, presented by the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, follows at 3 PM on the Mainstage. With Playbill's Bryan Campione, DJ superstar Mike Borowski will spin Broadway hits in the middle of Times Square. This event will stream live at Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
Over at the Dueling Pianos, it's Sondheim Sing-Along beginning at 3:45 PM with Brandon James Gwinn back at the keys. Stick around because that will be followed by a Wicked Sing-Along at 4:30 PM.
And Chita Rivera fans, get ready! The three-time Tony recipient and Broadway legend will be honored at 5 PM on the Duffy Square Mainstage with All That Jazz. Scheduled to perform are Laura Benanti, George Dvorsky, Andy Karl, Alexis Michelle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Bebe Neuwirth, Orfeh, and John Riddle—and Rivera will be on hand, too!
The night will close out with Broadway Sings: Acoustic! at the Dueling Pianos. Join Olivia Donalson (SIX), Ben Fankhauser (Newsies), Bradley Gibson (Hercules), Ainsley Melham (Aladdin), Samantha Pauly (SIX), Ximone Rose (Into the Woods), Eleri Ward (Only Gold), and music director Joshua Stephen Kartes for an acoustically driven concert under the golden setting sun. Corey Mach is producing, with Abby DePhillips line producing. Featured in the Broadway Sings Band will be Kartes, Bryan Bisordi, David Cinquegrana, Colin Dean, Amy Griffiths, Miho Nobuzane, and Sasha Ono.
“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: