It seems that nowadays there is a convention for everything. There's the Vent Haven Convention in Cincinnati, which bills itself as "the oldest and largest annual gathering of ventriloquists. And of course, "Merfest" in North Carolina is a convention to celebrate "merfolk." Attendees wear mermaid tails, swim together in the aquatics center, and generally celebrate sea life.
But then there are some conventions that grow to such a scale that they can impact an entire industry with what's presented. Comic-Con has done this and BroadwayCon is certainly on its way.
With all the "cons" out there, it's surprising that there has never really been a convention for threatre fans. Now one could argue that events like "Broadway on Broadway" and the Broadway Flea Market, create the type of gathering that most conventions do, but imagine an event where it's all mixed together over the course of one weekend. That's BroadwayCon.
On January 22nd- 24th, theatre fans from all over the world will converge on the New York Hilton Midtown for what is shaping to be one of the biggest events in Broadway history.
Hamilton star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will be joined at BroadwayCon by co-stars Leslie Odom, Jr., Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Jackson.
Other panels include "Making Your Own Work" (featuring Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Kait Kerrigan, Brian Lowdermilk, Alice Ripley and Kate Wetherhead); "Producing 101" (featuring Ken Davenport, John Johnson, Alia Jones-Harvey, Hal Luftig, Daryl Roth and Barbara Whitman); and "Hear My Song: Creating a Cast Recording" (featuring Van Dean, Scott Farthing and Rob Sher). Other guests include Jeremy Jordan, Krysta Rodriguez, Lesli Margherita, James Monroe Iglehart, Rebecca Luker, Courtney Reed, Billy Porter, Ann Harada, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, John Johnson, Hal Luftig,Bernard Telsey, Skylar Astin, Susan Blackwell, Jenn Colella, Gavin Creel, Telly Leung, Michael McElroy, Andy Mientus and Seth Rudetsky.
So where did the idea for BroadwayCon come from? And what does the future hold for an event like this? I had a chance to pose these questions to one of the founders of the event, Melissa Anelli. She is the New York Times bestselling author of "Harry, A History," and co-owner of Mischief Management, the company behind BroadwayCon.
1. Tell us about the moment when the idea for BroadwayCon came about?
I was watching the 2013 Tonys at Anthony Rapp’s place; he had heard about GeekyCon and LeakyCon, the other events we run, and was attending his first one later that June. It was right after Audra dropped the mic at the end of that broadcast; my business partner Stephanie texted me to say “Has there ever been a BroadwayCon?” And right in that moment I knew we’d end up here.
2. The list of guests and artists is amazing, how easy/hard has it been to get these amazing people to participate in this event?
It’s varied; we’ve approached a lot of people after having discussions about how to create the best event. And a lot of times people have approached us. It’s been amazing to watch the community rally around this event. Almost from the very beginning everyone has understood what we’re trying to do. At times someone will just appear in our inboxes and say “I want to go to this! What can I do? Put me on a panel! Put me on a stage!” And we are so grateful. We are trying to honor all that positive energy and excitement by making a weekend no one forgets.
3. Obviously Broadway's culture and influence spreads nationwide. Are there plans for an event like this to happen in theatre hungry cities like Chicago and Los Angeles? Could we be seeing a "West End Con" in the future?
The success of the first BroadwayCon will mean all of that remains a possibility. We definitely want it to travel, and to take this unique and incredibly fun event we do to other places. London is a possibility. Events in other cities are possible. But main BroadwayCon will always be in New York.
This is certainly going to be a special event and we are thrilled to be covering it for you. OnStage will be there for all three days, covering all the panels and doing our best to bring the insight and magic to you.
Tickets for the event are still available and can be purchased at www.broadwaycon.com.