Most Broadway theatres go dark on Monday nights, giving performers a chance to catch up for the rest of the week.
But instead of taking the night off, Broadway stars are getting together at URBO, a 26,000-square-foot restaurant nestled near the theatres of Times Square.
Located at the busy corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, URBO was first spotted by Broadway performers Derrick Davis and Chondra Profit, both of whom starred in “The Lion King,” while they walked home from a rehearsal last year.
They were immediately impressed by its size and setup: the two-story venue has a full restaurant downstairs in addition to a private events space with a full bar and stage upstairs.
“When a performer sees lights and a stage, that’s it,” Davis said to Business Insider.
Davis and Profit decided to start “Lights Out On Broadway,” an open-mic night at URBO, where Broadway stars sing everything from soul to R&B and hip hop every Monday night from 8 to 11.
Here, Amber Iman of “Soul Doctor” puts on a performance.
Each week, Broadway stars like Titus Burgess — who has starred in “The Little Mermaid,” “Jersey Boys,” and the Netflix series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — and Marisha Wallace of the “The Book of Mormon” and “Aladdin” get on stage and prove their talents go way beyond Broadway tunes.
Syndee Winters of “The Lion King” and “Motown the Musical” does a soulful rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.”
But “Lights Out on Broadway” isn’t just about the performance — you can usually spot a few celebrities here, too, including Laverne Cox, Brandy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chaka Kahn, and Ice-T and Coco.
“We want communication between those who are established and those who want to get close-up interaction,” Davis said of his event, which is set in an atmosphere similar to a living room.
The restaurant is quickly becoming the new go-to spot for Broadway performers because of its proximity to the theatres and subways. Still, it’s relatively calm compared to the chaos of Times Square.
“I love Sardi’s because it’s old Broadway, but I have this gut feeling that URBO is becoming the new Broadway,” Davis said.
Monday marks the one-year anniversary of “Lights Out on Broadway.”
URBO will continue putting on free performances every Monday for those who want to get a chance to interact with Broadway stars and celebrities in an open and inviting setting.
Curtis Wiley of “Rothschild & Sons” and “Pageant – The Musical” sings at “Lights Out on Broadway” this summer.
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