The lights may be out on Broadway Monday nights, but the stars are shining bright on the stage at URBO -- a sprawling restaurant and event space located on the bustling corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.
A rotating lineup of Broadway performers and enthusiasts put their own spin on everything from Lorde to Frank Sinatra every Monday night on the establishment's intimate second floor stage, tucked away from the chaos of Times Square.
The show, called "Lights Out on Broadway" -- LOOB, for short -- is the brainchild of Derrick Davis and Chondra Profit, both stars of Broadway's "The Lion King."
They launched it in October as an open mic-style outlet for performers looking to express themselves in new ways, and as a fun, affordable night out for tourists and New Yorkers alike. After a brief hiatus, the show returned this month and has been gaining momentum ever since.
"For me, I believe that New York is so cultured and the music scene here is so vast that coming to New York you have to have a live music experience. The trip isn't complete," Profit said. "Even for people who are New Yorkers, having the ability to go into a venue and have live music is an extra thing here."
The night will only cost you roughly the price of a cocktail -- there's no cover charge -- and a portion of the proceeds goes to Broadway Cares, an HIV/AIDS fundraising nonprofit. The host for the evening is Angela Birchett, a powerhouse singer who belts out Chaka Khan songs with joyful abandon. She's backed by The B-Side Band and joined by an ever-changing roster of eclectic performers.
Just last Monday, the show featured Chris Myers, a former boy-band member who delivered a soulful cover of Musiq Soulchild's "Just Friends"; Avionce Hoyles, who ad-libbed his way through a rousing rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman"; and Momo aka Isaac LaBom, an Israeli soul/R&B artist who performed a beatbox version of Britney Spears' "Toxic."
One of the major draws, said Davis, is hearing "a song you've heard before but in a way you've never heard before."
The performers don't rehearse. Some of them don't even warm up. "Really the creation and the determination of things happens right on stage," Birchett said.
That spontaneous energy is what keeps people coming back for more. "We've had people from all over the country come, just on a whim, just walking by, and they're like, oh we're extending our trip, we're going to be back next Monday," Birchett said.
Caroline Camargo, who works in the Microsoft building next door to URBO, just happened to stumble upon the show while grabbing a drink with a new co-worker. "It's amazing," the 28-year-old said. "Just so soulful, really talented people, amazing band. Just unexpected in midtown Manhattan, especially on 42nd street."
There's even a good chance you'll see a celebrity pop by. Ice T and Coco, Savion Glover, and Dulé Hill are just some of the famous faces who have sneaked in to see the show, according to organizers.
"For the price of a drink or two, or maybe 10 if you're thirsty, you get world class entertainment," Davis said. "There's no reason to be anywhere else."