- OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Super-Fan Spotlight is a series of interviews that feature the most fanatic of Broadway fans. These folks not only embody the very best of what it means to be a fan, but also have been able to gain access to our favorite shows and stars and serve as role models for legions of other fans as well.
I first met Hayley Goldstein through Facebook. She had made some insightful comments on our postings so I figured this is someone I should get to know better. Little did I know that I would be able to become acquainted with one of Broadway's biggest super-fans.
In addition to her well documented love of the musical "Something Rotten", her adoration for many musicals is more then evident. I wanted to talk to her about her love of all things theatre and the incredible interactions she's had with her favorite stars. We had a lovely Facetime session a couple of weeks ago, with her city sitting in the gorgeous center of her hometown of Boston and me in my car.
Her love of musical theater started at the age of four when her family took her to go see the touring production of "Peter Pan" starring Cathy Rigby.
"It was the first show I saw and I loved it, of course, and ever since then I love theatre in all of its wonderful works."
Just like many fans out there, the reasons why musical theatre fuel her soul aren't hard to find.
"I'm a performer and a playwright(transferring to Manhattan Marymount College in the Fall) but there is something about escaping the world and going to a place where everyone is singing and dancing, there's always something amazing that can happen. Theatre is the best second home you could have."
Hayley's love of the musical "Something Rotten" has been well documented not only on her Facebook page but also the New York Times. It's a show that she seen 40 times(37 on Broadway and 3 touring performances).
"I was having a tough time at my previous college, so I decided to buy a ticket to the first preview performance on a whim, for $15. By the time they got to the first act finale, which included a five minute standing ovation, I felt I had found something that's going to get me through whatever and I have to go back."
Hayley would go back again a second time that same week.
With devotion like this there come stigmas that Hayley, as well as every Broadway superfan, faces on a daily basis. Whether's name-calling or harassment over the show in which they love, fans find themselves often defending their shows, rather than just getting to celebrate them. I was wondering what types of things Hayley hears that are blatantly untrue when it comes to super-fans.
"That we stalk the actors when they're not in the show", she definitely states. "We're all very supportive of the casts but we let them live their lives. They're people too."
One thing she particularly loves is when she and the rest of her friends, far and wide, can get together annually at BroadwayCon. She's been going for the past two years. Dressing up either as characters from these shows or props, is a popular choice among her circle.
"One of my friends went as an omelette(Something Rotten), One girl goes as Portia, I went as Bea and two of us were Shakespeare at one point the previous year."
But what is amazing about the Broadway industry, is that for fans like Hayley, it's the interaction that's most valued. There is something to be said about the time and openness Broadway performers give to their fans, mostly because they too, were fans once as well.
"The beautiful thing about Broadway is that you can go to the see these shows, and there is a stage door where you can go after the show and say hello to the people who just performed. What other art form let's you do that? These cast members love talking to fans."
When it comes moments that define how kind these performers have been, Hayley remembers a couple fondly. Whether it was John Cariani inviting her to come see him perform in "Picnic" at Transport Theatre or Rob McClure walking her to the bus station after a show, these are unforgettable moments that take very little but go a long way.
For fans out there who are looking to become the next generation of "super-fans", Hayley has some very simple advice for you,
"Be kind, don't be creepy. Enjoy theatre. Be passionate about it, just don't stalk the actors."
Sage advice if I ever saw.
You can follow Hayley and her fandom adventures on Twitter @hayleystjames
Photo: Hayley with Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick, and John O'Farrell.