- OnStage Founder
With the end of 2016 approaching rapidly, it's a good time to look back and reflect on the past twelve months. The Broadway community certainly had its ups and downs throughout the year. We've seen shows that will no doubt become all-time greats and unexpected flops. We've seen performers that will go on to become icons and some we lost way too soon. We've seen designers who will set trends for years to come. We've seen innovative social media masters who bring Broadway to fans in whole different ways. It's been quite the year.
So to honor the amazing work of these people, here is our Broadway's Best of 2016. Since there is so much to get through, let's release these in categories.
Today, let's take a look at the very best when it came to special events involving the Broadway community.
"She Loves Me" Live Stream
Did it go off without a hitch? No. Were there some technical glitches at the onset? Yes. Did it ruin the entire experience for those who were able to tune in? Not at all.
Overall the grand experiment of live streaming Broadway shows worked. While there instances where the moments were too big for BroadwayHD to technologically handle, the event was everything it was promised to be. It also provided a possible look into the future where these types of events could occur on a regular basis.
In an era when producers are looking to bring the Broadway experience to wider audiences, Lin-Manuel Miranda figured out how to do it with a megaphone and the help of some friends. The "Ham4Ham" shows became the afternoon events of the year. Promoted as a "show before the show", Miranda often brought out members of the cast and special guests for quick 5-10 minute performances. The best part? They were free. As long as you got there early enough you had a front row seat to see quick performances by Andrew Rannells, Billy Porter and impromptu reunions of In the Heights.
Given the popularity of these events, I was surprised that no other show was doing something like it. But let's be honest, could anyone do it better than these guys?
If the inaugural BroadwayCon proved one thing, it's that not even a blizzard will keep hardcore Broaday fans away from seeing their idols up close. For one weekend in January, fans took over the New York Midtown Hilton for an all-star extravaganza. They were not only treated to cast panels of shows like Hamilton, Fun Home and Fiddler on the Roof, they also got to take master classes, autograph sessions and one of the largest pop up shops for merchandise ever.
The event was so successful that doing it again was a no-brainer. This year, the event will be almost triple the size, being held in the Javit Center.
Musical Theatre on Live TV
Face it, love em or hate em, musical theatre on live TV is bigger than ever and it's not going away anytime soon. While many folks went years without seeing these types of events on TV, this past year we were treated to three of them.
Some were better than others and I think we can all agree that NBC has an edge over the two produced by FOX. But if a competition begins between networks to see who can produce the best live musicals, then the only winners are the fans.
The Tony Awards
While some might have seen the event as the longtime coronation of Hamilton, the Tonys were much more than that. The event began less than 24 hours after the horrible shooting in Orlando. With the community and victims fresh on everyone's minds, the show began with a heartfelt tribute and then became 2 plus hours of emotional catharsis. From the best opening number since 2013 to some of the best performances the telecast has ever(looking at you Cynthia Erivo), this was a night that, not only, did the Broadway community need but the country as well.
From its images of diversity and message of "Love is Love is Love is Love", this year's Tonys was one to remember.