Curtain Up! Is Another Effort to Bring Broadway and Its Business Back – The Hollywood Reporter
Like a lot of Broadway’s return, planning for Curtain Up! — a three-day, free outside occasion celebrating all issues theater — was months within the making.
The Broadway League had thought of holding some occasion as early again because the Juneteenth celebration in Occasions Sq., which Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, described as “electrical.”
“The leisure, the power of the gang, everyone seeing each other — we mentioned now we have to have what’s Broadway on Broadway on steroids,” St. Martin advised The Hollywood Reporter.
Each Playbill and the Occasions Sq. Alliance had additionally been cooking up their very own plans, with the previous considering erecting a large playbill in the midst of Occasions Sq.. That’s when St. Martin, who can be on the board of the Occasions Sq. Alliance, mentioned she introduced her personal concept for an occasion ahead and the prospect of merging every group’s respective occasions collectively started.
“It began with 5 or 6 issues for Curtain Up! and now we have over 20 occasions now,” St. Martin mentioned. “As soon as we began speaking about it, it turned very clear that this was, along with being for all the theatergoers, for the regional market. It’s as a lot for us as for them — to rejoice collectively.”
Working from Sept. 18 to Sept. 20, the outside celebration is timed to Broadway’s official re-opening, which occurred throughout the week of Sept. 13 and noticed debuts of exhibits like Six and Lackawanna Blues alongside the long-awaited returns of Waitress, Depraved, Hadestown, Chicago, The Lion King, Hamilton and David Byrne’s American Utopia. It additionally noticed the enduring TKTS Low cost Ticket Sales space, tucked underneath the purple steps on Broadway and forty seventh St., as soon as once more providing same-day low cost tickets to matinee and night performances and next-day matinee efficiency tickets to each Broadway and Off Broadway productions.
Stretching from forty fifth to forty eighth Streets, the huge tribute to stay theater options 22 particular person occasions throughout phases in Duffy Sq. and between forty fifth and forty sixth Streets. Based on St. Martin, who helped lead the huge trade effort to ascertain COVID protocols for performers, crew and audiences that made Broadway’s return doable, Curtain Up! — regardless of being outdoors — may even not stray from these necessities.
“We actually simply stole from Broadway and pulled these into Curtain Up!” she mentioned of how the three-day occasion will hold folks protected.
COVID protocols in place, the weekend will kick off on Friday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m., with hosts Norm Lewis and Michael Urie, alongside audio system from the occasion’s companions Playbill, The Broadway League and Occasions Sq. Alliance. Particular visitor audio system Commissioner Anne Del Castillo of the NYC Mayor’s Workplace of Media and Leisure, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Financial Growth Vikki Been and Senate Majority Chief Charles Schumer shall be accompanied by particular performances from Brian Stokes Mitchell and Jessica Vosk with music director John McDaniel.
It should additionally shut out with the two-hour “Curtain Up: That is Broadway! Finale Live performance” on Sunday, Sept. 19, starting at 11 a.m. The stunningly star-studded occasion will see a minimum of eighteen totally different productions lend their music and performers to a Broadway-revering crowd, together with musicals Ain’t Too Proud, Come From Away, Pricey Evan Hansen, Woman from the North County, Jagged Little Capsule and The Phantom of the Opera. Harry Potter and the Cursed Little one, Cross Over, Ideas of a Coloured Man and To Kill A Mockingbird on the record of performs scheduled to be featured through the farewell occasion.
However between these occasions are concert events, panels, sing-a-longs, awards, interactive experiences and restaurant offers that can remind attendees of the attraction and resilience of New York Metropolis’s theater district. The weekend’s panels, specifically, concentrate on the trade’s renewed concentrate on range, fairness and inclusion, together with a panel that includes stars from Justin Simien’s Netflix hit Pricey White Folks discussing the crossover experiences and initiatives of BIPOC in theatre, TV and movie.
There may be additionally the “Black to Broadway” panel, which options Ideas of Coloured Man‘s Kennan Scott III, Cross Over‘s Antoinette Nwandu and extra which are a part of the historic group of seven Black playwrights whose works are gracing phases this fall.
As a part of Hispanic Heritage Month, there may even be a ¡Viva! Broadway When We See Ourselves Live performance, an outshoot of The Broadway League initiative celebrating Latinx expertise whereas growing the group’s consciousness of and engagement with Broadway. Curtain Up! may even welcome dwelling quite a lot of alumni of the annual Jimmy Awards, the League’s nationwide highschool program bringing proficient younger efficiency artists to Broadway annually, by a deliberate reunion live performance.
“I’ve a particular place in my coronary heart for each ¡Viva! Broadway and the Jimmys,” mentioned St. Martin. “We’ve many applications — viewers growth, workforce growth, and viewers engagement. However all of them are rooted in making Broadway extra accessible.”
“Curtain Up! is absolutely permitting us to showcase all of the issues we had been already doing, but in addition showcasing how the trade heard the group,” she added.
The Playbill Piano Bar, which is situated in Occasions Sq. between forty fifth and forty sixth Streets, will function dwelling base for the “Wake Up, Broadway!” podcast present, in addition to sing-a-longs throughout all three days, together with Adam Laird taking part in hits from the Broadway sensation, Depraved and The E book of Mormon and Starkid Manufacturing’s A.J. Holmes providing songs and tales from his new one-man musical, Yeah, However Not Proper Now.
The weekend can be slated to supply an entire host of interactive experiences starting at forty eighth Avenue, the place attendees can discover three huge playbills — the most important on this planet at slightly below 10 ft — stationed for photo-ops earlier than transferring all the way down to the Netflix “Give Your Regards” Wall, an interactive expertise that requires the usage of your telephone and Twitter.
The Playbill pop-up retailer, sponsored by the Reinnasance Resort, will supply t-shirts, mugs and different collectibles whereas the Lexus-backed interactive expertise “Highway Again to Broadway” will let followers stroll alongside as they view playbills from numerous exhibits all through the years. “Mild the Method for Broadway,” one other interactive expertise, lets one put their identify in lights on a Broadway Marquee, however attendees may discover themselves most drawn to “Present Us Your Broadway” the weekend’s solely augmented actuality providing.
When folks aren’t attending these panels, podcasts and performances, they’ll have entry to particular restaurant offers, with 25 taking part companies providing reductions and particular Broadway-themed menus throughout all three days. Whereas meals may not be the very first thing one thinks of in the case of Broadway’s return, Tom Harris, president of the Occasions Sq. Alliance, emphasised the outsized influence the theater trade has on all the space’s companies.
“In New York Metropolis, all the companies feed off of one another,” Harris mentioned. “To not have Broadway round has been a drawback for lots of the eating places, lodges and shops.”
That is, a minimum of partially Harris says, why the occasion spans a number of days. A weekend occasion is certain to draw not simply locals, however vacationers, who will financially gasoline the opposite companies within the space. “It opens up alternatives for folks to come back to the neighborhood to remain in a single day, keep at certainly one of our nice lodges, go to a few our eating places, take within the pleasure of the all of the Broadway occasions.”
Finally, the three-day celebration of Broadway is as a lot about delighting followers who’ve missed the tradition during the last 18 months as rebuilding belief and enthusiasm through the pandemic whereas spurring the regional economic system and bringing again extra of the roles as soon as obtainable on Broadway and at its surrounding companies.
“The town nor Time Sq. will get better till Broadway is again,” Harris advised THR. “And we’re so grateful that Broadway is again.”