- Leads title sponsorship of the free Curtain Up Broadway Festival for the second year in a row
- Donates $110K to power inclusion and economic growth for Broadway and local theater communities
- Partners with acclaimed actress Brittney Johnson to shine a spotlight on access and inclusion
NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the second year in a row, Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), in collaboration with Playbill, Times Square Alliance, and The Broadway League, is proud to be the title sponsor of the Curtain Up Broadway Festival. The free, three-day outdoor event will take place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in the heart of Times Square and celebrates Broadway, a cultural icon that drives inclusion and economic growth in New York City and beyond.
Through this sponsorship, Prudential is reaffirming its commitment to Broadway, which serves as a foundation for the New York City arts community. Prior to the pandemic, Broadway contributed $15 billion to the larger $110 billion culture sector across the city, and Prudential is proud to be a rock of support for this event celebrating the iconic institution. Beyond New York City, Broadway’s economic reach extends far and wide through touring shows that infuse almost $4 billion into nearly 200 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
As part of the Curtain Up event, Prudential is also expanding access to the arts, theater community, and education programs, creating opportunities for more inclusion on Broadway. Since last year’s festival, Prudential has given away 2,400 tickets to Broadway shows at local theaters across the country through the Prudential Standing Ovations Ticket Giveaway. This year, thanks to Prudential’s support, the festival hopes to double the number of in-person guests to Times Square for the event. In addition, Curtain Up has partnered with WABC-TV to broadcast the finale concert throughout the tri-state area and with Playbill to livestream the event on its website.
“We know that Broadway and local theaters help to drive inclusion and economic growth in New York City and around the world. That’s why we are so proud to bring the Curtain Up Broadway Festival back again this year and to be a rock that helps fuel the industry and welcomes more people from more places to experience it,” said Susan Somersille Johnson, Prudential’s chief marketing officer. “I’m also pleased to announce Prudential is donating a total of $110,000 to the Entertainment Community Fund and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, two cultural institutions that support performing arts and entertainment professionals.”
As part of its sponsorship, Prudential has partnered with Brittney Johnson, an accomplished actress and the first Black woman to play the role of “Glinda” in the Broadway musical Wicked, to shine a spotlight on the need and opportunity for more inclusion in Broadway.
“The arts are unique in that they allow us to really see each other. To me, there is no greater vulnerability than to share something you have created with another person. Theater teaches and requires us to have empathy for each other and for ourselves in real time,” said Johnson. “To walk with a character, a person unlike yourself, through a pivotal moment in their lives, and learn something about yourself in the process — that is the power of theater. To watch other people around you feel empathy for a person onstage and feel valued as a result — that is the power of inclusion.”
In partnership with Johnson, Prudential will donate $50,000 to a nonprofit of her choosing, the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly known as The Actors Fund), an organization that embraces diversity and seeks equity and inclusion as it helps provide stability for performing arts and entertainment professionals throughout their lifetime. This effort builds on last year’s $50,000 donation that supported the organization’s critical programs that address unique needs of those working in the entertainment industry, including financial wellness workshops, support groups, online resources, and emergency financial assistance. Prudential’s financial wellness portal will be accessible to the arts community through the fund, and financial advisors will be on-site at the festival to provide information.
“We’re thrilled to be back with Curtain Up in the heart of Times Square, celebrating everyone onstage and off who works so hard to bring the magic of Broadway to life,” said Entertainment Community Fund President and CEO Joe Benincasa. “And we’re so grateful to Brittney Johnson and Prudential for this incredible donation that will help us continue to support our community when they need us the most, now and in the years to come.”
Prudential is also making a $60,000 donation to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is helping transform the arts landscape in the company’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and plays a crucial social role, using the beauty and humanity of the African American heritage and the modern dance tradition to unite people of all races, ages and backgrounds. This donation is in addition to the financial support the organization has received from Prudential for over 30 years.
“Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances uplift, enlighten and unite. Like the organization’s various education programs, they illuminate the human spirit, unlock potential, and spark change,” stated Robert Battle, the organization’s artistic director. “We’re thrilled to be in the heart of Times Square to invite new audiences to join in a dance workshop inspired by Alvin Ailey’s must-see masterpiece Revelations. Thank you to Prudential for this generous gift, and for a legacy of extending Ailey’s reach to connect with so many communities in meaningful ways.”
Throughout the Curtain Up festival, Broadway fans can enjoy free live performances featuring marquee talent, a block party and more, culminating in the finale concert featuring a host of Broadway favorites. More information about Prudential’s on-site activities is featured below.
INTERACTIVE ON-SITE EXPERIENCES, COURTESY OF PRUDENTIAL
Be a STAR on Broadway – An in-person, augmented reality experience where participants can see themselves on a Times Square billboard in costumes from some of their Broadway shows such as Dear Evan Hansen, The Phantom of the Opera, Beetlejuice, and Into the Woods.
Light the Way for Broadway – Curtain Up participants will be able to see their name in lights on Prudential’s Broadway marquee in Times Square.
Dueling Piano Bar Experiences – Prudential will be hosting Broadway stars in dueling piano sing-along moments throughout the course of the event.
ADDITIONAL ON-SITE ACTIVITIES FEATURING PRUDENTIAL
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
2:00–3:00 p.m. – Official Curtain Up Kickoff
Curtain Up Broadway Festival kicks off with guest speakers from title sponsor Prudential, Playbill, The Broadway League, and the Times Square Alliance. In addition, Broadway stars, including Brittney Johnson (Wicked) and Norm Lewis (The Phantom of the Opera), will deliver onstage performances.
5:00–6:30 p.m. – The Broadway Block Party
Prudential, Playbill, and the Times Square Alliance will “ignite the night” with The Broadway Block Party — a large-scale street party that invites revelers to dance and sing to classic and contemporary Broadway songs.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
10:30–11:15 a.m. – Ailey’s Revelations Dance Workshop
Event-goers can join a processional of Ailey’s West African drummers and dancers from Duffy Square to the Curtain Up mainstage, where they’ll learn modified excerpts of Alvin Ailey’s masterwork Revelations taught by former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater members Renee Robinson and Amos Machanic.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. – Curtain Up! LIVE from Broadway Concert
Hosted by Amber Ruffin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Curtain Up LIVE from Broadway will spotlight marquee talent and showcase Broadway musicals and plays, marking the culmination of Curtain Up Broadway Festival. This concert will also air live on WABC-TV and be livestreamed at Playbill.com/CurtainUp.
For more information about Prudential’s Curtain Up sponsorship, please visit www.Prudential.com/landing/CurtainUp.
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, 2022, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people by expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security. 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.
MEDIA: Marisa Amador