The upcoming Curtain Up Broadway Festival will bring more than fifteen free interactive public events and live performances to the heart of NYC, from Times Square to Duffy Square, between 45th and 48th Streets on Broadway. Presented by Playbill, Prudential Financial, the Times Square Alliance, and The Broadway League, with additional support from Wagoneer, Audible Theater, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and The Music Performance Trust Fund, the three-day outdoor celebration kicks off with a mainstage event on Friday, September 30, at 2 pm, with a roster of noted speakers and special guest performers, including Broadway star Norm Lewis and more to be announced, under the music direction of James Sampliner. The festival runs through Sunday, October 2, culminating in a grand finale in Duffy Square from 11 am-1 pm, which will also be aired live on WABC-TV.
Hosted by Amber Ruffin and Jesse Tyler Fergusson, the closing rain-or-shine Sunday concert, with direction by Sammi Cannold and musical direction by Daryl Waters, will spotlight marquee talent from a variety of long-running favorites, Tony winners, and new productions of the 2022-23 season. The participating shows are: A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical; A Strange Loop; Aladdin; & Juliet; Beetlejuice; Chicago; Death of a Salesman; Funny Girl; Hadestown; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; Into the Woods; KPOP; The Lion King; MJ The Musical; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; The Music Man; The Phantom of the Opera; Six; and Wicked.
Throughout the weekend, Broadway fans will also have opportunities to join in on a wide variety of offerings. Among them are: Broadway Sing-Alongs (to songs from Chicago, Wicked, Little Shop of Horrors, and Kinky Boots); a procession led by Ailey’s West African drummers and dancers to a dance workshop (where you’ll learn modified excerpts from Alvin Ailey’s masterwork Revelations); Belt It Out On Broadway (a series of Dueling Piano show-downs, from specially themed programs featuring Broadway stars and spirited sing-alongs where audience members choose the tunes); and The Broadway Block Party, which will take place on Friday, September 30, beginning at 5 pm, when theater-lovers can dance and sing to classic and contemporary Broadway songs and be entertained by Broadway DJ Mike Borowski and guest performers Christine Dwyer (Wicked), Matt DeAngelis (Waitress), Apollo Levine (MJ), Raymond J Lee (Groundhog Day), Tracee Beazer (Frozen), Lee Siegel (Paradise Square), and others.
Additional events include: the daily Sing for Hope Piano Concerts and Free Play (where you can take photos, play a tune, or enjoy a concert by special guest pianists Rachel Kaufman, Steven Jamail, and Kevin B. Winebold playing contemporary and classic Broadway tunes); Playbill: The Game Show LIVE (where participants Julia Murney from Wicked, Nic Rouleau from The Book of Mormon, and Shereen Pimentel from West Side Story test their knowledge of all-things Broadway in a fun and fast-paced game hosted by Chris Sieber of Company); One Night Only (a benefit concert by stage stars and celebrities for The Entertainment Community Fund, directed by Bryan Campione and Corey Mach, with musical direction by Joshua Stephen Kartes); an Audible Theater Special Concert Presentation; and Setting The Stage (a star-studded concert presented by The Entertainment Community Fund, with details to be announced shortly).
There will also be Curtain Up After Dark Concerts: Broadway Sings: The Golden Age of Broadway, with Broadway Sings Band members Kartes, Colin Dean, Hiroyuki Matsuura, Yayoi Ikawa, Clyde Daley, Matthew Jermiason, and Noah Vece, and special guest performers T. Oliver Reid from Hadestown, Conrad Ricamora from The King and I, Jessica Keenan Wynn from Beautiful, Morgan James from Motown the Musical, Jeanna de Waal from Diana, Corey Mach from Kinky Boots, MK Morrissey from Mean Girls, and Allison Semmes from Motown, for which you can help choose the next song using your mobile device; and Rockers on Broadway, benefitting The PATH Fund and featuring Donnie Kehr and his band alongside special guests Rob Evan from Jekyll & Hyde, N’Kenge from Caroline, or Change, Jen Perry from Kinky Boots, Max Sangerman from Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Jeremy Schoenfeld, Sam Behr, and more, performing Broadway and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll hits, with opportunities to choose the songs by donating to the fund via your mobile device.
For a full listing of all the events, dates, times, and locations, visit the Playbill website. Please note that performances and artists are subject to change. Event organizers will continue to follow the city, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines and will inform the public of any changes to the event protocols or schedule.