Curtain Up Distribution, Inc.

Using media to champion under represented voices and ideas since 1990.

About Us

or the overture and melodies of Curtain Up Distribution, INC.

In 1989, federal administrative law judge David I. Harfeld decided to launch a second career. Already celebrated in environmental law circles, and the long serving president of the American bar associations conference of administrative law judges, David sought to blend his engaging personality and expansive collection of musical theater materials into something magical. The result became Curtain Up! A one-hour radio series showcasing cast recordings of rare Broadway, Off-Broadway, and largely London musicals. Along with the songs themselves, David seasoned each broadcast with anecdotes from the productions and comments from critics. Often illustrating the shows place, or lack of a positive place in musical theater history. Listen to David discussing musical theater in general and Curtain Up particularly with National Public Radio Weekend Edition host Scott Simon.

Curtain Up! Spans several 13 week seasons with more than a hundred hours of radio shows and specials. David’s warmth, passion for the subject and vast knowledge of musical theater won rave reviews from some of Broadway’s most legendary composers. Among them Harold Rome, Charles Strouse, and the late Stephen Sondheim.

Read one story about the series in the Washington Post.

Musical theater marvel Jerry Herman was so enthusiastic about Curtain Up that he served as the honorary board chair of Curtain Up Distribution INC., for many years. It would be the still yet to be broadcast Salute to Jerry Herman, documentary that would become David’s final curtain. He would lose his battle with complications from adrenal cancer in 2006.

At this stage in the organization’s history, long-time series producer Karen Lewellen faced a challenge. How to honor the magnificence that was both David Harfeld, and Curtain Up, while deepening the organization’s mission into something more. Already armed with a master’s degree in Mass Communications, along with several radio production credits in her own right, Karen Lewellen expanded Curtain Up Distribution’s mission into that of using media to champion under represented voices and ideas. This broader focus berthed a second program area, Common Ground Media. A solutions journalism focused newsroom housed at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto Ontario.

Instead of advocacy journalism, Common Ground Media seeks out the rarely highlighted aspects of important stories, showcasing the rarely heard sides of human experience. And, much as with Curtain Up, Karen Lewellen engages informs and entertains, drawing the audiences attention to interesting under appreciated topics. Today, curtain Up Distribution keeps focus on its flagship treasure under the Harfeld Artistry umbrella. Actively seeking to digitize its radio series for long standing and new generations of musical theater fans, while creating fresh content with some of this material. At the same time, Common Ground Media is actively expanding into documentary and podcast production with shows like the I-list, exploring the concept of inclusion in a variety of contexts.

For more information on each program area melody, visit Harfeld Artistry: home of Curtain up! And Common Ground Media.

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