BroadwayCon 2016: Part 3

January 24th: BroadwayCon Day 3 (the Final Day)

And so we have reached the final day of BroadwayCon 2016. And once again I was flying solo.

One of the panels I was most looking forward to was on the last day of BroadwayCon: “Insiders, Outsiders & Masked Avengers: Your Role in the Broadway Community,” featuring Patrick Hinds (creator/host of the Theater People Podcast), Nikka Graff Lanzarone (one of the creators/hosts of The Ensemblist Podcast), Anrew Briedis (@AnnoyingActorFriend), Laura Heywood (@BroadwayGirlNYC), Aaron J. Albano, and Erin Quill. The Theatre People Podcast and The Ensemblist are two of my favourite podcasts and I was really excited to see Patrick and Nikka, who I also met after the panel! (Though actually I met Patrick at the Marketplace before the panel, and talked to him again afterwards!)

After a bit of a break with was time for the Smash panel with Joshua Safran (Executive Producer and Showrunner for season 2 of Smash).

*Side note: As I was waiting for this panel Alex Lacamoire walked past me in the hallway. I was too nervous to go up to him though, and it looked like he was heading somewhere, not just walking around.*

The Smash panel itself was a lot of fun, but I’ll have to leave it at that because we had to promise not to share anything from the panel!

Following that I had my second autograph session, this time with Nikka Graff Lanzarone and Andrew Briedis! I had actually forgotten about this session when I met Nikka after the morning panel, so I ended up getting her autograph twice (but I’m OK with that!)

I then wandered around the Marketplace some more, since it would be my last chance. I think this was when I saw Laura Osnes signing autographs at one of the booths. I did not get her autograph though because the line was quite long and I didn’t know if you had to buy something from that particular booth for her to sign, and I had already spent enough money over the course of the weekend!

I decided to head to the MainStage and ended up catching the end of the Waitress panel and saw part of Sara Bareilles’s performance of “She Used to Be Mine.” I wish I had seen the full performance! I wasn’t yet familiar with the song at that point but what I saw/heard was beautiful (I have since listened to this song multiple times!) And once again, I learned later that it wasn’t a planned performance!

Next up was “Next Stop Broadway” which featured short interviews and performances about and from upcoming musicals including Tuck EverlasingNatasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (this one also featured a cast announcement and a video message from Josh Groban), Nerds, and Found. It was cool getting a sort of sneak peak at what was/is to come on Broadway (though unfortunately Tuck Everlasting is already closing and Nerds is no longer happening).

 We then had to vacate the MainStage so they could prepare for the closing and I got to spend some more time waiting in line. And then it was time for the final event of the weekend, “So Long, Farewell… to BroadwayCon 2016.” The closing ceremony featured a sing-along of the BroadwayCon Opening number, “BroadwayCon’s the Place for You;” Lena Hall singing (belting) “Lullaby of Broadway;” and a “Seasons of Love” sing along. A beautiful ending to a beautiful weekend!

With BroadwayCon ending in the early evening, it did mean there was time for us to fit in another show that night, so my dad picked us up tickets to Avenue Q, which became my first Off-Broadway show! I was already a fan of the show but I don’t think I’ve ever related to that it as much as I did seeing it that night! It was also my first time really leaving the hotel since the Thursday night so it was nice to get out, and to see the crazy amounts of snow everywhere!

Parting Thoughts

I am interested to see what the “big” show(s) will be at BroadwayCon next year. I’m sure the “big” shows from this year will still be popular (I’m looking at you Hamilton) and there are the late-comers from this season that could still have their chance to shine, but there is a whole new season on its way with new shows already announced and others we haven’t heard about yet! It’s so exciting to think about and consider! What will be the next “big” thing?!

I’m also interested to see how it will be at a different venue since BroadwayCon 2017 will be at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. (I don’t know about you but every time I hear/think of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center I automatically think of Benny’s line in “Benny’s Dispatch” from In the Heights!) It’s like the 2013 Tony Award- they’re going bigger!

I can’t wait for next year!

9. Day 3 Closing 1

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BroadwayCon 2016: Part 2

January 23rd- BroadwayCon Day 2 (aka BlizzardCon)

I have to say I was very happy that we were staying at the Hilton as this was the day of the huge blizzard in NYC! And I had my dad with me this time!

We started the day with “The BroadwayCon Feud,” hosted by Jenn Colella, with Lesli Margherita, Rob McClure, Susan Blackwell, Jonathan Groff, Ryann Redmond, and some BroadwayCon attendees. It was so much fun and Jenn made an excellent host!

We then went to a set design panel followed by a visit to the BroadwayCon Museum, highlights from which included models of the Hamilton set and Lena Hall’s wedding dress covered in signatures from the Hedwig and the Angry Inch cast party!

In the autograph/photobooth lottery before BroadwayCon I got 3 autograph sessions the first of which was on this day with Andrew, Celia, & Maggie Keenan-Bolger. It was really cool getting to meet all of them (I actually didn’t know that I was going to be meeting Maggie too!) but especially Andrew! Unfortunately my second autograph session, which was also supposed to be on the 23rd with Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, was cancelled due to the blizzard. As an unexpected bonus though, I did get to meet Lisa Kron when I was wandering around the BroadwayCon Marketplace. She was at the Drama Bookshop booth, where I was already buying Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Diary, so I couldn’t resist buying the Fun Home cast recording (which I didn’t yet have) and getting her autograph!

Due to the blizzard a lot of the programming for the day was altered and we spent a lot of the day back at the MainStage. There was karaoke, hosted by Ben Cameron. There were a lot of talented people there among the fans! There was the “Avenue Q & A” which consisted on short interviews with some of the Broadway stars who were in attendance that day. Highlights included Andrew Keenan-Bolger singing part of “Letter from the Refuge” (the song added for Crutchie in the touring production of Newsies); Lesli Margherita talking about working at Disney and singing “Part of Your World;” and Rob McClure’s story about seeing Sweeney Todd  for the first time (and all his consecutive times seeing it) followed by his one-man rendition of “Pretty Women” (again, I seriously recommend looking up video of this!).

With Ben acting as host we also spent some time watching popular Broadway-related YouTube videos (mostly Tony Awards Performances). I actually found this to be a lot of fun because you knew that the majority of the people in that room (myself included) spend  time watching those and similar videos anyway, so to be in a room where we were all singing along and just having a good time was a lot of fun. And it was made all the better with Ben’s hosting skills!

The some of the craziest and most unexpected moments of the day came when Anthony Rapp, Melissa Anelli, David Alpert, Blake Ross, and Michael Riedel took to the MainStage for what was called the “BroadwayCon Party Line.” They then proceeded to call their various Broadway contacts and put them on speaker phone. People including: Darren Criss, Idina Menzel, Norm Lewis, Harvey Fierstein, Betty Buckly, Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone (resulting in #senduspizzapatti), Audra McDonald, Lena Hall & Stephen Trask, Ana Gasteyer, Joel Grey, Shanice Williams, Jeremy Jordan (video chat), and Tommy Tune (voicemail). It was incredible! Just to hear so many huge stars, even just on the phone like that, in real time, it’s something I could never have imagined happening!

The night ended with Krysta Rodriguez performing a sort of cabaret with Joe Iconis, Joshua Safran, and Ben Rauhala, singing songs from SmashThe Addams FamilyFirst DateIn the HeightsSpring Awakening (complete with ASL) and more. I learned later that she was only supposed to go on for a little while but ended up performing like an hour long set!

The day might not have turned out how anyone originally planned it but I think it was still an excellent day and I think the unexpectedness of it made it all the more memorable!

9. Day 3 Closing 1

 

BroadwayCon 2016: Part 1

 

Back in January I was fortunate enough to be at the first ever BroadwayCon in New York City! (I mentioned before that I have been to the city 3 times, this was trip #3!) During the trip and in the days following I made some notes on my experiences but haven’t really done anything with them since. Now, since I’ve started this blog, I figure what better place to share BroadwayCon experiences than on a Broadway/Theatre blog?! As I was working on this post however, I realized it was getting to be quite lengthy, so, for all our sakes, I’ve decided to make this a 3-part series of posts (one for each day of BroadwayCon) instead of one long post! This post (Part 1) will cover the day before BroadwayCon and the first day of the convention, next week I’ll cover day 2, and then day 3!

General Trip Info: BroadwayCon took place at the New York Hilton Midtown on January 22-24, 2016. I was in the city from the 21st until the 25th. My father actually came on the trip with me. I had a weekend pass for the convention and he got a day pass for the Saturday. And of course we had to fit in a couple of shows while we were in the city!!

Now on to the good stuff!

January 21st- The Day Before BroadwayCon!

We arrived in the city in the afternoon of the 21st (it was a Thursday), which meant we had gotten there early enough to see a show Thursday night. Our pick? School of Rock (playing at the Winter Garden)! Our tickets were in the 3rd row of the orchestra, which is the closest I’ve ever sat at a Broadway show! (Thank you TKTS!) The show was amazing! And of course, because I’m me, we went to the stage door after the show. Shout out to my tall father who was able to reach over people to get autographs for me! I was really happy to get Sierra Boggess’s autograph because I missed her at the stage door after Phantom  when I saw it in 2014, and I got my picture taken with Alex Brightman, who was very nice, and it was all really exciting! We had dinner after the show then went back to the hotel (we were staying at the Hilton where BroadwayCon was being held), ready for a Broadway-filled weekend!

Day 0 14(Me and Dewey himself, Alex Brightman!)

January 22nd- BroadwayCon Day 1!

This was one time when it was good having a last name that starts with a letter near the end of the alphabet as there was hardly a line in my section for registration! The morning of BroadwayCon Day 1 was filled with meet-ups. I went to one called “Flying Solo: Party of One Meetup” (pretty self-explanatory) and, after that, “Seize the Day!: The Fansies Meetup.” The latter got particularly exciting when Tyler Mount came in and then FaceTimed with Dan DeLuca, who had been Jack Kelly in the touring production of Newsies!

The first panel I went to was “Making Your Own Work” with panelists Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Kate Wetherhead (these two I was particularly excited to see), Kait Kerrigan, Brian Lowdermilk, and Alice Ripley, and moderated by Frank DiLella. Now, almost 4 months later, I don’t remember all of the discussions but I did really enjoy that panel! BroadwayCon was off to a good start!

After spending a lot of time in line, where I also met some really nice people, it was time for the Opening Ceremony!! What an experience! An original musical that ended with a stage full of Broadway stars, including Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen! There is video of the Finale from the Opening on the BroadwayCon YouTube channel and I highly recommend checking it out; even just thinking about it gets the song stuck in my head!

Following the Opening was “History is Happening in Manhattan: The Hamilton Panel.” This panel included Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Leslie Odom, Jr., Philippa Soo, and the man himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda; moderated by Blake Ross. Just to be in the same room as that wonderful cast was an amazing experience and then to top it all off I got to be there to see Lin freestyle at the end of it! Incredible!

I basically stayed at the MainStage from the Opening Ceremony (which started at 3:30pm) until the end of the day (about 1am). The next even following Hamilton was called “I Was a Teenage Diva,” during which they showed clips from when various Broadway stars were young and the audience had to guess who it was in the video. The stars would then come out and talk about the clip. It was really a lot of fun! I had actually heard Alex Brightman talking about that particular event the night before at the School of Rock stage door, so I knew his was going to be one of the clips!

I mentioned the Rent panel in last week’s blog, “10,514,880 Minutes: How Do You Measure 20 Years of Rent?“, and it really was one of the highlights of the convention for me! I think it also worked really well having Anthony Rapp act as moderator for the panel. One of my favourite parts was when Daphne Rubin-Vega FaceTimed Jesse L. Martin, who couldn’t be there. They passed around her on the stage and there was a really sweet moment when Jesse saw Wilson Jermaine Heredia. Jonathan Larson’s sister, and Cynthia O’Neal, a founder of Friends In Deed (the real life organization on which some of the Life Support scenes in Rent are based) were also part of the panel. It was so interesting hearing everyone talking about the show, Jonathan Larson, and just their experiences with all of it!

Another of my favourite moments of BroadwayCon actually occurred between MainStage events on Day 1. I was walking back towards the MainStage when I heard music. At first  thought it was just something happening on the stage between panels, but as I continued walking it didn’t sound as though it was coming from the room with the stage, and I noticed that it sounded like Lena Hall. I looked down through one of the circular cut outs in the floor (I don’t really know what else you’d call them) to the floor below and there was Lena Hall playing guitar and singing, sitting on one of the registration tables! It was one of those unexpected moments that could only happen somewhere like that!

11. Day 1 Lena Hall 2

 Following the Rent panel on MainStage was “The BroadwayCon Jukebox,” a wonderful event in which Kerry Butler, Stark Sands, Jenn Colella, Ryann Redmond, Alysha Umphress, Lena Hall, Ben Cameron (who was hosting the Jukebob and quickly became a Con favourite), and Anthony Rapp sang songs voted on by the audience. Highlights include Lena Hall singing “Origin of Love,” Ryann Redmond singing “I Will Always Love You,” and actually basically every song everyone sang! (I did keep track of the full set list, but even with limiting this post to the first two days of the trip, it’s still getting quite long, so I will spare you the full list!) I will say there were a lot of powerhouse voices that night and it was amazing!!!

I final event of the day/night was “Don’t Quit Your Night Job.” Broadway stars (including James Monroe Iglehard, Lesli Margherita, Ali Stroker, Adam Kantor, Ben Rappaport, and more) doing improv, culminating in Anthony Rapp performing a Mad Libs version of “What You Own.” Every part of it was hilarious and it was so much fun seeing the goofy side of the stars involved!

As you can see Day 1 was a busy day, but it was an excellent one! And I’ll see you here next week for BroadwayCon Day 2!

9. Day 3 Closing 1