Buffalo's theater season kicks off with 34th annual Curtain Up!

UB students and Buffalo community gather for night under the stars


Jarren Fahey spent her Friday night downtown, dressed up and drinking with her friends.

But she didn’t go downtown for any of the bars or clubs like Skybar or Bottoms Up – she was there for Curtain Up!

On Friday, the 34th edition of Curtain Up!, held by the Theatre District Association of WNY and M&T Bank, kicked off the theater season in Buffalo. Curtain Up! is a promotional event held to celebrate the beginning of the theater season in Buffalo.

Hundreds of theater fans dressed and came out to enjoy performances, food, outdoor bars and live music for this year’s annual theatre kickoff.

Fahey, a senior psychology and theatre performance major, said she spent her entire evening participating in Curtain Up! events.

She first attended “In the Heights,” a performance at Musical Fare. Then she ventured around the theater district outside of Shea’s Performing Arts for the free street party that caps off Curtain Up!, where they were serving drinks to attendees.

She said the event is all about openness and enjoying yourself.

“It’s an amazing event that celebrates the openings of all shows that theater companies in the area are putting on for the fall,” Fahey said. “It’s essential to the Buffalo community because it’s so welcoming. It’s about putting the pettiness of every day life aside.”

Curtain Up! is a huge benefit to local business and local theatres alike – the nightlong event sees hundreds of locals come to enjoy the parties and openings downtown.

Kelsey Gage, a senior communication and theatre performance major, said the event is critical for local theatre to thrive.

“It brings people together through the arts and exposes patrons to diverse works they otherwise might have never seen,” Gage said. “It also provides job opportunities for the actors, directors, writers, designers and technical staff that work or are training in the area.”

Gage said many UB students, graduated or current, participated in the local theater performances.

“My favorite part of the night was easily watching my friends perform in ‘In The Heights’ and seeing the amazing support our department brought,” Gage said.

Francesca Harvey, a sophomore communication and theatre performance major, said this is the favorite time of year for any theater student.

She said the event is important because it shows off the passion for the arts in the Buffalo community.

“Buffalo needs art just as well as it needs its notorious sports teams,” Fahey said.

Brian Windschitl is the senior arts editor and can be reached atbrian.windschitl@ubspectrum.com. Follow him at @_brnwnd.