Curtain Up!, the free three-day outdoor theatre festival in Times Square commemorating the return of Broadway after the COVID-19 shutdown, kicked off September 17. The festival took place on Broadway in NYC stretching between 45th and 48th Streets. Twenty-two unique events ran on stages in Duffy Square (7th Avenue and 47th Street) and outside the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel (1535 Broadway).
The Curtain Up! festivities began September 17 with a special kick-off hosted by upcoming Chicken & Biscuits stars Norm Lewis and Michael Urie, with performances by Brian Stokes Mitchell and Jessica Vosk. The lineup also included U.S. Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and representatives from Playbill, The Broadway League, the NYC Mayor's Office, and the Times Square Alliance. Following the kick-off, the festival featured a Dear White People panel presented by Netflix, the Playbill Variety Show, Jimmy Awards Reunion Concert!, and more.
Curtain Up! continued through September 19 with highlights including a ¡Viva Broadway! celebration, a spotlight on the seven new works by Black playwrights arriving on the Main Stem this fall, and more. Throughout the festival, Curtain Up! welcomed throughout special guests including Harriet Cole, Robin De Jesús, Gabriela Garcia, Katrina Lenk, Jamie Lozano, Douglas Lyons, Bianca Marroquín, Charlotte St. Martin, John McDaniel, Luis Miranda, Antoinette Nwandu, Lynn Nottage, Lauren Reid, Mo Rocca, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Luis Salgado, Kennan Scott II, Emilio Sosa, Sergio Trujillo, and Eric Ulloa, and more.
In addition to the mainstage events, the piano bar welcomed Broadway sing-a-longs, live podcast recordings, and concerts from Joe Iconis, Jason Robert Brown, Joshua Henry, A.J. Holmes, and Lauren Molina.
The festival culminated in the Curtain Up: This is Broadway! Finale Concert hosted by Jelani Alladin (Frozen), featuring performers from 23 Main Stem shows, including musicals like Caroline, or Change, Company, Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, Mrs Doubtfire, Six, Waitress, and Wicked, in addition to plays like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Thoughts of a Colored Man.
To honor the occasion, Playbill also created a specially customized Playbill to serve as the Guide To All-Things Curtain Up! that was handed out to attendees throughout Times Square during the event, with a virtual copy available on the website.
Curtain Up! was produced by Playbill, in partnership with The Broadway League, the Times Square Alliance, and presented by title sponsor Prudential; sponsored in part by Lexus, Netflix, and United Airlines; with additional support from Audible. Live music provided by Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). Additional support for Curtain Up! was provided by the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.