Times Square Alliance launches song-writing contest for livestream concert series in June

New York Icons in Times Square at dusk
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Broadway actors will perform original coronavirus-themed songs during a series of livestream concerts in June.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Times Square Alliance announced the first-ever “Songs for Our City” songwriting challenge to support artists. The challenge calls on Broadway actors and composers to create new original music while offering a unique and interactive way for audiences to enjoy new music while in-person events are on pause.

“As the entity responsible for taking care of and celebrating the Theater District, this is a symbolic and simple way for us to continue to showcase and support Broadway performers who create their own original work throughout June,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance.

Twenty-seven artists will debut their songs over a series of free livestreamed concerts starting on June 2, finishing off on June 21 as part of Make Music New York. The first six shows will feature participants performing their new songs, and will allow for audience members to vote to send one participant from each concert into the finale. Viewers will be able to choose their favorite during the finale for the Audience Choice Award. A panel of judges, which will be made up of esteemed Broadway and music industry notables, will determine the overall winner.

The series will be streamed on the Times Square Alliance’s website and social platforms in partnership with Time Out New York, as a part of their recently launched Love Local campaign.

The series will be hosted by Broadway Buskers host & curator Ben Cameron. Participants include Alice Ripley; Ethan Slater; Rob Rokicki; Leslie Becker; Sam Carner, Derek Gregor, and Selda Sahin; Jaime Cepero; Lauren Elder; Drew Gasparini; John Arthur Greene; F Michael Haynie; Marcus Paul James; Donnie Kehr; John Krause; Janet Krupin; Molly and the Memphis Thunder; Anthony Norman; Alexander Sage Oyen; Alice Ripley; Rob Rokicki; Jennifer Sánchez; Max Sangerman; Heath Saunders; Dru Serkes; Ethan Slater; Starbird & the Phoenix; Will Taylor; Will Van Dyke & Jeff Talbott; Joel Waggoner; Mike Wartella; and Tim Young. 

All participants will receive a stipend from the Times Square Alliance, and finalists will receive additional cash prizes. The concerts will also raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides urgent resources to those within the performing arts community.

“Our friends in the theater community are remarkably talented even beyond their night jobs on Broadway, and we’ve been lucky to have some of them share their singer-songwriter side during the past two seasons of Broadway Buskers. With the halt of performances, we wanted to find a way to support our community while providing an outlet for their incredible creative energy. We are so excited to offer a platform for them to continue sharing their music with the world,” said Sophie Aung, Programming Manager of the Times Square Alliance.

The concerts will be streamed live at 7:05PM EDT at TSQ.org/Songs, immediately following the collective applause for essential workers in NYC, on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 2

Wednesday, June 3

Tuesday, June 9

Wednesday, June 10

Tuesday, June 16

Wednesday, June 17

Sunday, June 21

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