There are beer drinkers and wine drinkers. And there are movie-goers and theatre folk. The twain shall meet. Tonight!
Attend Curtain Up! and you could be in a movie. The American Theatre Wing is filming a documentary about this unique event, the only event of its kind anywhere! Held every year since 1981, Curtain Up! will become a model for theatre communities across the country. Dinner. Shows. A free street party. This is where we kick off the 2016-2017 Theatre Season! And you can be part of it.
Like many plays, Curtain Up! has three Acts.
If you love to dress up, start the evening with cocktails and dinner with Buffalo theatre community celebrities on the majestic main stage of Shea’s for a creative black-tie Gala Dinner. A cash bar cocktail party begins at 5:30pm. Dinner is served at 6:15pm. But don't forego supper just because you don't own a tux. Restaurants now abound in downtown, and they are all catering to Curtain Up! My picks? Seabar for beef on 'weck sushi and some of the best seafood in the east, Raclette's if you fancy Parisian, or the brand new Cuba Rosa for sabor latino. All three are walking distance to the 600 block but not right on top of the theaters.
After dinner, catch a show (click here for a list of nearly two dozen theaters and plays.) Curtains rise promptly at 8:00pm. Take this opportunity to experience the thrill of Opening Night, but be sure to call before planning to attend a performance; many shows sell out. My top picks are the Road Less Traveled's Dinner With Friends by Donald Margulies, Wonder of the World by Buffalo Laboratory Theater at Shea's 710 Theatre (go to Niagara Falls without leaving downtown), or catch BUA's The Submission at the Alleyway Main Street Cabaret. Again, all are within walking distance of Act III.
When the curtains fall, the Theatre District street party goes into full gear. The biggest, best block party of the year rocks the entire 600 block of Main Street. Half a dozen bands on both sides of the street, from Tupper to Chippewa. Mimes, magicians, men on stilts, maybe even a white buffalo or two. Evening gowns and jeans will dance side by side in the street. It's a sight to behold. The fun continues until 1:00am, and it’s all free!
Curtain Up! brings Main Street to life in a way that almost startles, reminsicent of the days when downtown was thronged. Appropriately, the theatres and entertainment are playing a critical role in the revival of downtown, as are new restaurants, shops and many new residents.
Wings recognized the magic that Curtain Up! represents. It is an egalatarian, something-for-everyone event that lights the fuse for a fabulous theatre season. Beer drinkers revel with wine drinkers and all dance the night away on a Main Street that is more alive today than it has been in a generation.
See you on Main Street tonight at Curtain Up! And if you can't make the party tonight, don't forget that most peformances run through October.