Adina here, your friendly neighborhood* theater fan! I’m back after an unexpected hiatus. Check out all my 2016 adventures. In 2016, I made it the Perfect Playbill Year – getting at least 1 from each month’s issue. Now because I managed once, I need to do it again. Maybe for 2018, I’ll try to hit each Broadway theater? All 41? We’ll see. Hopefully you’ll be along for the ride.
*Neighborhood – usually the NYC Theater District.
Although January brought adventures at Puffs and Great Comet, I’m just going to detail my BroadwayCon experience here because it’s long. Stay tuned for the others at a later time!
BroadwayCon was exciting because the weather was looking mild! If you remember the inaugural con in 2016, Blizzard Jonas made an unexpected guest appearance. This both messed up plans and made for some amazing impromptu experiences, such as Krysta Rodriguez performing the “cabaret” solo, the Blizzard Party Line, and the YouTube Dance Party on the mainstage hosted by Ben Cameron. This year, however, the weather was dry and in the 40s. We also moved from the Hilton midtown (where space was limited) to the Javits Convention Center, where we had the run of the North Hall. The marketplace was bigger this year, not just in room to move around, but also in number of vendors! Another change was that the programming rooms (with the exception of the mainstage) were located around the perimeter of the marketplace, making it the perfect place to hang out, especially in the StubHub lounge in the middle (a place to chill out on couches and charge your phone if you want) and meet people. Also the BroadwayCon special guests (actors, etc.) had a tendency to hang around this area so it was the perfect place to meet them and grab selfies. I got to see Alex Boniello (Deaf West Spring Awakening), Danny Burstein (recently Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), Tyler Mount (YouTube personality; professional Broadway Fan), as well some of the guys from the touring production of Newsies: Josh Burrage and Ben Cook.
I made some new friends this year, which is always fun. That’s part of the reason I go to these fan events, is to hang out with people with the same interests as me. I traded Playbills, complimented cosplays, had an impromptu Cards Against Humanity game in the lobby of the hotel I was staying, and got to chat with some people I had been talking to online during mainstage breaks.
I was able to attend some interesting panels, such as Legacy Roles, which was about playing parts that were made famous in years past by people such as Ethel Merman. Speakers were Danny Burstein (speaking about Tevye), Celia Keenan-Bolger (speaking about her role as Laura in The Glass Menagerie) and Kelli O’Hara, who has recently played Anna in The King and I. After the opening ceremony in the afternoon, they had several mainstage panels for such shows as Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (a new musical that opened in the fall), Lion King (20 years on Pride Rock!); the 40-year reunion of Annie with the composer and original cast members. On Saturday, there were panels such as a celebration of Kinky Boots in its third year, Chita Rivera Q&A, Joel Grey Q&A, Lesli Margherita Variety Hour, and more. I also attended the Jay Armstrong Johnson (of the 2014 On the Town revival) photobooth session and got autographs from Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Joel Grey.
Sunday was my Newsies day, starting off with Jeremy Jordan autograph and photobooth, Newsies fan meetup (with surprise guest appearances by the “Toursies” – actors who had been in the touring production). I left that quickly to run upstairs and catch Corey Cott (and Laura Osnes) premiering a new song from the new musical Bandstand. When they were finished, I ran back downstairs, hoping the guys were still around. Sure enough, they were hanging out in the marketplace and I got to hug Ben Cook and Josh Burrage and get a pic with Josh (Ben had to run to a panel, but I got to give him a hug which was all I really wanted). Then I had a photobooth session with the fabulous sibling team of Celia and Andrew Keenan-Bolger. I got to tell Celia that I loved her in Peter & the Starcatcher as well as Glass Menagerie and give her a hug. Andrew could tell where I knew him from based on my “Seize the Day” shirt, and I also got to give him a hug. Later on, I was gifted an autograph session with the both of them (plus Maggie). I had brought my Jack & Louisa book that Andrew had written with Kate Weatherhead. Andrew was excited to see me bring the book, and asked if I wanted him to personalize it. (Um, YES.) I had picked up some stickers in the marketplace, including one that said “I ♥ KB” – which was apparently meant for Kinky Boots, but I took it to mean “Keenan-Bolger” and told that to Andrew, Celia, and Maggie when I showed them. They were all tickled by it. So many Newsies on Sunday. So many hugs.
Then the con was over, and it was home I went. Adventures weren’t quite over, though, as the following day I left work a little early to catch a bus back into the city to head up to 54 Below. They were doing a concert of the songs of the TV show Nashville, and among the performers were Tommy Bracco (Spot Conlon in the OBC of Newsies) and Dan DeLuca (Jack Kelly in the first cast of the Newsies tour). I got my fave seat at the Bar Rail, which is the perfect place if you want to chat with the performers after the show. When the lights came on, I turned back to the bar where Tommy and Dan were chatting with each other. “There are the guys I came to see!” I commented as I walked up to them. They were happy to see me, and I got hugs from each of them, we chatted for a bit about the upcoming movie theater release of Newsies, and I got a great picture with them. I checked the time, and figured I could possibly make the next bus home instead of waiting another hour, so I hugged them goodbye and set off for the Port Authority. A fantastic bookend to an already amazing weekend.
Next up: Puffs, Great Comet, On Your Feet, and Waitress. See you soon!