NY Pops-Up: 50 Stars, 1000 Performances

Below are photographs of 50 of the stars, listed alphabetically by first name from Alec Baldwin to Tina Landau, who have signed up so far for NY Pops-Up, the series of free performances throughout New York State that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last month at his State of the State Address. They will launch February 20th at the Javits Convention Center, and culminate some 1,000 performances later in June with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and the opening of Little Island, the park built on pilings at Pier 55 in the Hudson River. The participants range from beat boxers to ballet dancers, choreographers to comics, and many well-known theater artists, including Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Kelli O’Hara and Taylor Mac. (Click on any photograph to read the name.)

NY Pops Up now has a website (although there’s not much on it), and social media accounts (although they haven’t Tweeted yet), and loads of logos, which they have started plastering around the city.

More details have been revealed of the performances, although much of the schedule has yet to emerge. One thing seems clear: The performances will not be taking place in traditional theaters and other conventional venues, i.e. “The hundreds of free, pop-up events that constitute NY PopsUp will make stages out of New York’s existing landscapes, including iconic transit stations, parks, subway platforms, museums, skate parks, street corners, fire escapes, parking lots, storefronts, and upstate venues….locations never used for performance.” (Later, in something of a trial run for the reopening of theaters in general, the plan is for some of these performances to take place at LaMama, The Shed, the Apollo Theater, etc. with COVID-19 testing for audience members and socially distanced seating.)

Here is a description of the opening event on Saturday, February 20th:

“Members of the artists council will lead a performance at the Javits Center as a special tribute to our healthcare workers. The performance will feature [bandleader] Jon Batiste, [countertenor] Anthony Roth Costanzo, [jazz vocalist] Cecile McLorin Salvant, [tap dancer] Ayodele Casel, and additional special guests joining forces for a one-of-a-kind live performance.  

“Throughout the day, the performers will travel around New York City, meeting audiences at various locations throughout all five boroughs in courtyards, workplaces, parks, and street corners, at the footsteps of locations such as, Flushing Post Office, Elmhurst Hospital, and St. Barnabas Hospital. Saturday will conclude with one of Jon Batiste’s signature Love Riots beginning at Walt Whitman Park and ending at Golconda Playground in Brooklyn.”

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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