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Press Resources
Press Releases

07
Sep

Curtain Up! Festival Announces Twenty-Two Star-Studded Events

CURTAIN UP! FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES TWENTY-TWO STAR-STUDDED EVENTS INCLUDING:
The Jimmy Awards® Reunion Concert
Black to Broadway – It’s “Play” Time Artist Event
¡Viva! Broadway When We See Ourselves! Concert
PLUS
Curtain Up: This is Broadway!
Final weekend concert with performances & appearances from
18 Returning Broadway Musicals, 5 Broadway Plays and Special Guests
 
All Live and Free in Times Square Sept 17-19, 2021
 
(Times Square – September 1, 2021) – Playbill, in partnership with The Broadway League, the Times Square Alliance, and title sponsor Prudential announces details and talent for Curtain Up!, a three-day outdoor experience in Times Square presented by title sponsor Prudential; sponsored in part by Lexus, Netflix, and United Airlines; with additional support from Audible and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
 
Curtain Up! will take place outdoors in Times Square, on Broadway stretching between 45thand 48th Streets.  Twenty-two unique events will take place on stages in Duffy Square (7thAve. & 47th St.) and between 45th & 46th Streets.
 
The three-day celebration will include the following headlining events:
 
The Curtain Up! Kick-Off Event on Friday, September 17 at 12 PM will feature speakers and special guests Brian Stokes Mitchell and Jessica Vosk with music director John McDaniel and additional participants to be announced.  The event will ignite excitement on the mainstage and include a celebratory countdown to the official start of the festival.
 
The Jimmy Awards® Reunion Concert! will take place on Friday, September 17 at 5:30 PM in Duffy Square. Hosted by Jelani Alladin, this concert event will bring together alumni of the famed Jimmy Awards®/National High School Musical Theatre Awards® program.
 
Black to Broadway – It’s “Play” Time is a panel event which will take place on September 18 at 12:15 PM in Duffy Square.  As Broadway performances resume following the global pandemic and social reckoning that have taken place over the past 18 months, no less than seven new productions of plays by Black writers are slated to open this fall—including four by Black women. Join this entertaining and informative live conversation to get to know some of the writers, directors, and performers who are bringing these works to Broadway stages.  Participants include artists from: Chicken and Biscuits, Thoughts of a Colored Man, Clyde’s, Lackawanna Blues, Skeleton Crew, Pass Over and Trouble in Mind.Harriette Cole, the nationally renowned lifestylist, and branding coach and Dreamleapers founder, will moderate.
 
¡Viva! Broadway When We See Ourselves concert will take place on Saturday, September 18 at 5:00 PM in Duffy Square, This event is a musical celebration of the joy, diversity, and extensive contributions of the Latin and Hispanic Broadway with artists including Daphne Rubin-Vega, Robin de Jesús, Bianca Marroquín, Ana Villafañe and more to be announced.
 
Curtain Up: This is Broadway!, a grand, outdoor event that marks the culmination of the Curtain Up! Festival will take place on Sunday, Sept 19 at 11:00 AM in Duffy Square.  This concert will spotlight marquee talent from returning and new Broadway productions, showcasing Broadway to the world, trumpeting the message that BROADWAY IS BACK!  This concert will celebrate all of Broadway and the re-opening of New York City. 
 
Current shows and performers participating include 18 Broadway musicals: Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Aladdin, Caroline, or Change, Chicago, Come From Away, Company, Dear Evan Hansen, Diana the Musical, Girl from the North County, Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, The Lion King, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Phantom of the Opera, Six, Tina- The Tina Turner Musical, Waitress, Wicked, five Broadway plays:Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Lackawanna Blues, Pass Over, Thoughts of a Colored Man and To Kill A Mockingbird.  Additional special guests will be announced soon. *Shows and performers are subject to change.
 
Throughout the celebratory weekend, Broadway fans will have the unique opportunity to join with a wide variety of interactive experiences and intimate concerts peppered throughout the festival, including Broadway sing a-long’s, The Sing for Hope Piano, variety shows, after dark events and special Broadway Podcast Network recordings.   
 
For a full list of events, please see below. Additionally, all details for Curtain Up! can be found at Playbill.com/CurtainUp as they are announced. Playbill is also creating a specially customized Playbill that is the Guide To All-Things Curtain Up! that will be handed out to attendees throughout Times Square during the event, with a virtual copy available on the website.
 
 “I am grateful to the myriad Broadway artists and behind-the-scenes workers who have come together to deliver a weekend packed full of theatre, music and fun,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “Broadway lovers are in for a treat, and we look forward to seeing everyone in Times Square September 17-19.”
 
“It is thrilling for us to welcome back Broadway and its beloved fans with Curtain Up! in September,” said Alexander Birsh, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Playbill. “Our theatre community has been through so much since March 2020, and we are excited to bring the joy of theatre to the center of Times Square. We cannot imagine greater partners to put this all together with than Prudential, the Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance. Playbill has been delivering lasting mementos to theatergoers for over 137 years, and it is not lost on us just how momentous this weekend will be through the lens of Broadway and our company’s long history. We can't wait to celebrate the return of Broadway with Curtain Up!”
 
“Broadway theatres have long been a cultural and financial backbone to New York City,” said Susan Somersille Johnson, Prudential’s Chief Marketing Officer. “As the bright lights restart this economic engine, Prudential is proud to be an unwavering rock of financial support for the Broadway community, bringing the magic of the arts to people at a time we need it most, rising even stronger than before.”
 
“Broadway’s reopening is like a huge welcome mat for New Yorkers and visitors to return to Times Square, which has the brightest lights in NYC and is an international symbol for the city as a whole,” said Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. “With Broadway’s return and theatres bringing back live entertainment and artists to their stages, it will also create a domino effect and help to continue to bring back guests to neighborhood restaurants, hotels, retailers, and independent businesses which have all been waiting for Broadway’s return.”
 
"What a joy to say out loud that Broadway is officially back, where it belongs, live and on the iconic stages of New York City," said the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. "This accomplishment signals the return of one of the city's largest creative economic contributors and the employment of its diverse community of creative talent, for the continued enjoyment of New Yorkers and tourists alike." 
 
“The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund is proud to support Curtain Up!, a wonderfully unique three-day celebration of Broadway’s triumphant return,” said Dan Beck Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund.  “There is nothing more fun than free, live concerts featuring the music and performers from so many current and new musicals. Welcome back!”
 
Additional support for Curtain Up! is provided by the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.
 
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.
 
Join the conversation about Curtain Up! by following @Playbill, @TimesSquareNYC, and @BroadwayLeague and using #CurtainUpBroadway. 
 
 
 
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CURTAIN UP! FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 
 
The three-day celebration will include the following events below. For a full, detailed listing of the events taking place, please also visit Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
 
*Performers are subject to change.
 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER  17
 
Event: Wake Up, Broadway!
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join co-hosts, Ayanna Prescod and Christian Lewis of What’s Up Broadway? a BPN original podcast delivering the latest news, interviews, and chatter from Broadway and beyond, as they welcome esteemed guests from BPN and the Broadway community.  Prescod, our very own “Gossip Girl”, is omniscient on everything buzzworthy happening on the Great White Way, don’t miss this informative hour.
 
Event: Official Curtain Up! Kick-Off
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Playbill, The Broadway League and The Times Square Alliance will Kick-Off Curtain Up!featuring speakers and special guests Brian Stokes Mitchell and Jessica Vosk, with music director John McDaniel and additional participants to be announced.  The event will ignite excitement on the mainstage and include a celebratory countdown to the official event start!
 
Event: Divas of Broadway Sing-Along
Time: 1:00-1:30 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join 2021 Richard Rodger Awards Winner Brandon James Gwinn (pianist at the world-renowned Marie’s Crisis and producer of Trixie Mattel’s albums) as he plays some of the greatest hits from the divas of Broadway!
 
Panel: “Dear White People” Discussion
Time: 1:30-2:30 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Presented by Netflix, join celebrities as they speak in conversation with stars from the Netflix Series “Dear White People”, discussing the crossover of theatre to TV/Film and the remarkable steps towards diversifying the arts for BIPOC members of the community.
 
Event: New Broadway Hits Sing-Along
Time: 2:30-3:00 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join 2021 Richard Rodger Awards Winner Brandon James Gwinn (pianist at the world-renowned Marie’s Crisis and producer of Trixie Mattel’s albums) as he plays some of pop and contemporary hits from Broadway!
 
Event: Sing-Along with Joe Iconis
Time: 3:00-3:30 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join Joe Iconis (Composer, Be More Chill) as he plays through some of his best known (and super fun) songs on the Sing For Hope Piano!
 
Event: The Playbill Variety Show
Time: 3:30-4:30 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Playbill is curating an hour of Broadway news updates, stories, interviews, and surprise performances in the middle of Times Square. Join Playbill’s Creative Director, Bryan Campione as he. invites stars and more to the stage for a fun celebration of theatre, Broadway and Curtain Up!. Guests include: Joshua Henry (Carousel, Shuffle Along, Violet, Porgy and Bess, American Idiot, The Scottsboro Boys, In The Heights); Tom Viola - Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; The Actors Fund; Frank DiLella - Emmy Award Winning Host of Spectrum News NY 1’s “On Stage”; Viral Sensation T.3 (America’s Got Talent) and more!
 
Event: WICKED Sing-Along
Time: 4:30-5:00 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
We couldn’t be happier to have pianist Paul Loesel play thrillifying songs from the Broadway sensation, WICKED! Audiences can sing-along to their favorite songs in the heart of Times Square on the Sing For Hope Piano!
 
Concert: Jimmy Awards® Reunion Concert!
Time: 5:30-6:30 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Hosted by Broadway’s Jelani Alladin, this event brings together alumni of the famed Jimmy Awards®/National High School Musical Theatre Awards® program in a free, outdoor concert with live music. Join us for a chance to catch up with some of the Jimmy Awards alums who have graduated to roles on Broadway and National Tours. They’ll each have a moment in the spotlight with solo numbers from classic and contemporary Broadway shows, and they’ll join-together for a grand finale. The concert will feature the two top winners from the virtual 2021 Jimmy Awards making their New York performance debuts. For more information on The Jimmy Awards program, visit www.JimmyAwards.com.
 
Event: Curtain Up After Dark
Time: 6:30-7:30 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join Broadway guest performers as they take to the stage and perform their favorite tunes under the setting sun and the lights of Times Square. Performers will be announced soon.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
 
Event: “The Broadway Morning Warm-Up”
Time: 10:30-11:15 AM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Join Broadway Arts Community, a performing arts training & James T. Lane, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Tyler Hanes mentorship company, as they “get the celebration started” Saturday morning! Together with BAC co-founders & mentors Chryssie Whitehead and Alexis Carra, special BAC guests, and BAC students will warm you up for an incredible day of all-things Broadway!
 
Event: Wake Up, Broadway!
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join co-hosts, Ayanna Prescod and Christian Lewis of What’s Up Broadway? a BPN original podcast delivering the latest news, interviews, and chatter from Broadway and beyond, as they welcome esteemed guests from BPN and the Broadway community.  Prescod, our very own “Gossip Girl”, is omniscient on everything buzzworthy happening on the Great White Way, don’t miss this informative hour.
 
Panel: Black to Broadway – It’s “Play” Time!
Time: 12:15-1:45 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
As Broadway performances resume following the global pandemic and social reckoning that have taken place over the past 18 months, no less than seven new productions of plays by Black writers are slated to open this fall—including four by Black women. Join us for an entertaining and informative live conversation in the heart of the Broadway Theatre District that will give the theatergoing public a chance to get to know some of the writers, directors, and performers who are bringing these works to Broadway stages. These works represent a broad spectrum of production styles and voices, and the event will spotlight what makes each one uniquely relevant and entertaining. Harriette Cole, the nationally renowned lifestylist, and branding coach and DREAMLEAPERS founder, will introduce the speakers and lead the discussion.
 
The event is part of The Broadway League’s ongoing Black to Broadway initiative to inspire, engage and build awareness among the Black community with Broadway.
 
Event: Broadway Sing-Along’s
Time: 2:00-4:45 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Times Square Guests can spend an hour or two at the Sing For Hope Piano with special guests pianists and a Broadway star or two. 
 
Event: The Golden Age of Broadway Sing-Along
Time: 2:00-2:30 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join Playbill’s own Logan Culwell-Block as he plays songs of the past, that still have an imprint on Broadway fans and audiences on the Sing For Hope Piano!
 
Event: Sing-Along with Rob Rokicki
Time: 2:30-3:00 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join Rob Rokicki (Composer, The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical) on the Sing For Hope Piano, as he plays songs fans of his music can sing-along to! 
 
Event: The Playbill Variety Show
Time: 3:00-3:45 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
Playbill is curating an hour of Broadway news updates, stories, interviews, and surprise performances in the middle of Times Square! Join Playbill’s Creative Director, Bryan Campione as he invites stars and more to the stage for a fun celebration of theatre, Broadway and Curtain Up!  A special AAPI conversation and performance will helm this event, hosted by JoAnn M. Hunter and produced by Valerie Lau-Kee with special Broadway surprise guests!
 
Concert: ¡Viva! Broadway When We See Ourselves
Time: 5:00-6:30 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
A musical celebration of the joy, diversity, and extensive contributions of the Latin and Hispanic Broadway! We are celebrating the beginning of the 2021 National Hispanic Heritage Month and welcoming the return of live Broadway performances. The free concert will lift-up the incredible history Broadway Latinx artists have shared throughout the decades and invite audiences to join us in the continued work that lies ahead.
 
The event will celebrate some of the most familiar names of Latinx representation on Broadway such as Daphne Rubin-Vega, Robin de Jesús, Bianca Marroquín, Ana Villafañe, and more, and elevate the talented ensemble members who always lead the way. The creative team includes Luis Salgado (director and choreographer), Gabriela Garcia(associate director/choreographer), Eric Ulloa (writer), Jaime Lozano (musical direction) and Sergio Trujillo (creative consultant).
 
Viva Broadway is a national Broadway League audience development partnership with the Hispanic community that helps bridge the world of Broadway with Latinx audiences around the country. This long-term initiative aims to celebrate Latinx talent and increase awareness of and engagement with Broadway. More info at Viva.Broadway.org
 
 
 
 
 
Event: Curtain Up After Dark
Time: 6:30-7:30 PM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join Broadway guest performers as they take to the stage and perform their favorite tunes under the setting sun and the lights of Times Square.  Performers will be announced shortly.
 
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
 
Event: Wake Up, Broadway!
Time: 8:30-10:00 AM
Location: Playbill Piano Bar (Location in Times Square bet, 45th and 46th Streets)
Join co-hosts, Ayanna Prescod and Christian Lewis of What’s Up Broadway? a BPN original podcast delivering the latest news, interviews, and chatter from Broadway and beyond, as they welcome esteemed guests from BPN and the Broadway community.  Prescod, our very own “Gossip Girl”, is omniscient on everything buzzworthy happening on the Great White Way, don’t miss this informative hour.
 
Concert: Curtain Up: This is Broadway!
Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: Mainstage on Duffy Square
A grand, outdoor event that marks the culmination of the Curtain Up! Festival, this concert will spotlight marquee talent from returning and new Broadway productions, showcasing Broadway to the world, trumpeting the message that BROADWAY IS BACK!  This concert will celebrate all of Broadway and the re-opening of New York City.  Current shows and performers participating include: Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Aladdin, Caroline, or Change, Chicago, Come From Away, Company, Dear Evan Hansen, Diana the Musical, Girl from the North County, Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, The Lion King, Mrs Doubtfire, The Phantom of the Opera, Six, Tina- The Tina Turner Musical, Waitress, Wicked and the following plays:  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Lackawanna Blues, Pass Over, Thoughts of a Colored Man, and To Kill A Mockingbird.  Additional special guests will be announced soon.
*Shows and performers are subject to change.
 
###
 
Playbill
Founded in 1884, Playbill is an internationally known trademark synonymous with theatre and is a symbol of the arts. Playbill Magazine is distributed to every Broadway theatre, most Off-Broadway theaters, and regional theaters and fine arts institutions in over 24 cities across the country. The company’s website, Playbill.com, debuted in 1994 and continues to be the most trusted source of theatre news and information on the web, reaching nearly 2 million unique users per month. Playbill Online boasts the popular subsidiaries The Playbill Store, the online-only store for theatre fans; PLAYBILLder, the make-your-own Playbill site; and Playbill Jobs, the premiere job marketplace for the Broadway industry. Playbill Travel was introduced in 2011, focusing on chartering Broadway-themed cruises and additional vacations worldwide. The newest division, Playbill Events, curates and produces in-person and virtual events annually for audiences worldwide.
The Broadway League
The Broadway League (Charlotte St. Martin, President), founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in nearly 200 markets in North America and internationally. Each year, League members bring Broadway to upwards of 30 million people in New York, on tour across the U.S. and Canada, and around the globe. The Broadway League’s newest category of membership, League Fellows, affords access and benefits to upcoming professionals who represent a diversity of background, ethnicity, experience, and views. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry. 
 
Key League programs and resources include: Kids’ Night on Broadway®, The Jimmy Awards®, Stars in the Alley®, Viva Broadway, Black to Broadway, Internet Broadway Database® (ibdb.com), Broadway.org, SpotlightonBroadway.com, Commercial Theater Institute (with TDF), as well as numerous conferences and forums for our members. Broadway Bridges®, is aimed at giving every New York City public high school student the opportunity to see a Broadway show before graduation. TheatreAccessNYC (co-produced with TDF) is the one-stop website of accessible Broadway performances for theatregoers with disabilities. Broadway.org is the League’s official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC, on tour, and internationally.  
 
For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com or follow @BroadwayLeague on Twitter and visit us at Facebook.com/BroadwayLeague. Follow @Broadway on Instagram for more Broadway content.  
 
Times Square Alliance
The Times Square Alliance works to improve and promote Times Square - cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture, and urban life for over a century. Founded in 1992, the Alliance keeps the neighborhood clean and safe, promotes local businesses, manages area improvements and produces major annual events with partners including New Year's Eve, Solstice in Times Square and Taste of Times Square. As the custodians of Times Square, the Alliance works every day to improve the quality of life for the neighborhood residents and businesses while driving economic growth in New York City. www.TSq.org
 
Prudential Financial, Inc.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of June 30, 2021, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.
 
The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) was established in 1948 as a nonprofit independent public service organization whose mission includes contributing to the public knowledge and appreciation of music, as well as making music a part of every child's life experience. Headquartered in New York City, the tax-exempt MPTF, operating under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, evolved from a landmark collective bargaining agreement between the American Federation of Musicians and the major recording companies of the day. Today the MPTF is a vital organization that brings music to the public and supplements the income of musicians, all at no cost to those receiving this precious gift of music.   
 
 
For more information please contact:
 
TJ Witham, Times Square Alliance
(212) 452-4534; tjwitham@tsq.org
 
Shin-Jung Hong, Nicolas & Lence Communications
(212) 938-0005; shinjun@nicholaslence.com
 
Ellen Greenwald, The Broadway League
(212) 703-0229; egreenwald@broadway.org
 
Rebecca Rickert, Prudential Financial
 
Jessica Johnson, Alana Karpoff, Alex Seeley, Lilly Claar, Polk & Co.