Broadway is back, and to celebrate the long-awaited good news, this weekend’s Curtain Up! festival launched today with a line-up of free outdoor public events in Times Square. We were there, to capture the excitement of the reawakening of NYC, the return of crowds to the theater district, and the spectacular live performances by a roster of Broadway favorites.
Broadway Podcast Network opened the day’s events at 11 am with a live installment of How to Be More Chill at the Playbill Piano Bar, located between 45th and 46th Streets in Times Square, as hosts Ilana Levine and Sam Maher led a lively fun-filled chat with the phenomenal Joe Iconis, composer and lyricist of the eponymous musical sensation. Then the official kick-off began at noon on the Duffy Square Mainstage. Hosted by Broadway stars Michael Urie (Grand Horizons) and Norm Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera) – co-stars of the upcoming Broadway comedy Chicken and Biscuits – the event featured welcome speeches from a roster of officials from Playbill, The Broadway League, Times Square Alliance, and the NYC Mayor’s Office, along with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who has been a champion for Broadway and the performing arts throughout the pandemic shutdown. Their remarks were followed by numbers from luminaries Jessica Vosk (Wicked) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Shuffle Along), accompanied on piano by music director John McDaniel. And at 2:30, Iconis returned to the Playbill Piano Bar for a sing-along to a selection of songs from his original musicals, including the smash hits Be More Chill and Love in Hate Nation. He was joined by special guests Jason SweetTooth Williams, Amina Faye and Kelly McIntire, and Mike Rosengarten on guitar (who were featured in the shows) – and a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience!
The Curtain Up! festival continues all day Saturday, September 18, and concludes with a grand finale concert on Sunday, September 19, from 11 am-1 pm, in Duffy Square, featuring shows and stars from returning and new Broadway productions, so be sure to join in the celebration!