'Curtain Up' festival in Times Square celebrates return of Broadway

Watch the video below as Broadway's biggest names perform for free in Times Square!

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Sunday, October 2, 2022
'Curtain Up' festival in Times Square celebrates return of Broadway
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Some of Broadway's biggest names performed for free in Times Square as part of "Curtain Up" - a celebration of Broadway's return!

TIMES SQUARE -- A three-day festival kicked off Friday to send a simple message: Broadway is back.

"Curtain Up" is a celebration and a showcase - a look ahead to what's new and a way of celebrating Broadway's return after a pandemic shutdown.

"Broadway is the heart of New York City, and when theatre was gone, I felt like the heartbeat of New York City was also gone," said Jesse Tyler Ferguson. "So I'm so happy that it's back and that audiences are returning to Broadway."

On Sunday, some of Broadway's biggest names performed for free in Times Square.

"People are going to be face to face with Broadway legends with Broadway superstars and it's going to be the most exciting opening Broadway's ever had," said Amber Ruffin ahead of the concert.

The stars came out to shine, even if the sun did not. But even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of those who got to see for free what the theater district has to offer.

"This is New York weather. We're used to it so we gotta enjoy our time," John Claude Alexander said.

The head of the Broadway League representing theater owners and producers said the idea is to get passersby intrigued and tourists engaged.

"This will be our first new full season since we opened, we know we're going to have 35-40 new shows this season and Broadway's back," Charlotte St. Martin said. "This is just our chance to say, 'we're back and look at the great shows we have.'"

As Broadway goes, so goes the city, and when the curtain comes up - can a full recovery be far behind?

"I feel it's emerging you know, the city as we knew it," said Sarah Jessica Parker.

Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick were due to open in "Plaza Suite" when the pandemic hit.

For the hosts of "Curtain Up," this was personal. It was a chance to finally see their dreams realized.

"It was really tough as an artist, you know, that's your livelihood is being able to perform and we weren't able to do that," Ferguson said.

Ferguson starred in the musical 'Take Me Out,' which was named Best Revival.

"It's so exciting to return to Broadway after winning a tony," Ferguson said.

His co-host Amber Ruffin co-wrote a new show.

"This is a musical version of everybody's favorite movie, and what we've done is we've updated it for now," said Ruffin, co-writer of 'Some Like it Hot.'

The shows that are already open are playing to near capacity crowds.

"September is not normally our best month, so it says people need Broadway, they want Broadway, and they're showing up with their feet," St. Martin said.

So the chance to hear the familiar call of "Curtain Up" again becomes a joyous occasion.

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