Remembering BroadwayCon

Trish Befus

OnStage Calgary Columnist

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It has been two months since BroadwayCon ended. When I first bought my VIP pass, the reaction was one of two.

1.    I didn’t know that was a thing.
2.    Of course you did.

I waited ten months. For many people in my life, it was a long ten months. I tried to get people to come with me, but no such luck. It was their loss. I look back on the weekend and it is filled with moments. 

So many moments.

Next year won’t be the same. Nothing will be. I don’t fit in anywhere. Ever. I have never seen any of The Lord of the Rings, any Harry Potter or any episode of Dr. Who. 

None of that mattered for a weekend.

I love Rent and [title of show] so much. Xanadu was the first show I saw on Broadway. The Submission is a script that I still talk about. I saw opening night of a David Mamet show, along with William Shatner. 

Now I get to be with people who have stories and memories that I understand.

As I eagerly await the dates for next year, I think about the moments.

  • Remember when I boarded a plane to fly from Canada to NYC for the first ever Broadwaycon?
  • Remember when I walked to the hotel the day before to do a trial run to see how long it would take me?
  • Remember when I waited in line to pick up my VIP pass?
  • Remember when we went to the Marked, I’m Marked session? 
  • Remember when I had a Sante Fe sandwich for lunch?
  • Remember when confetti went everywhere, including in all of our bags?
  • Remember when the cast of Hamilton spoke and I didn’t understand anything?
  • Remember when the Rent originals were there and it was beautiful?
  • Remember when Wilson wrote No Day But Today so my friend could get a tattoo of it?
  • Remember waiting in line to get a photo with Jon Groff?
  • Remember when he remembered me?
  • Remember when I learned he talks about me being a dedicated theatre fan?
  • Remember when we chased Rob McClure through the lobby of the Hilton?
  • Remember when NYC shut down because of a little snow?
  • Remember the phone calls that made snowmageddon amazing?
  • Remember when Jeff and Hunter came to our VIP event?
  • Remember when a tranny ate my shrimp?
  • Remember when I made “EPIC” videos about my trip?
  • Remember when Joe Iconis jumped off the stage to let me take a picture?
  • Remember when I met Melissa’s mom?
  • Remember when Seth Rudetsky signed my book and it meant so much that it made me cry?
  • Remember when I met Christopher Durang? 
  • Remember when Hunter Bell retweeted me?
  • Remember when I met Jeff Talbot and he took a photo of him and I with the photo of Jonathan Groff and I at The Submission?
  • Remember when we all sang Seasons of Love?
  • Remember when we became an US for once, instead of a them?

10 "Must See" BroadwayCon Panels This Weekend

Chris Peterson

This weekend thousands of theatre fans from all over the world are going to converge on the New York Midtown Hilton for a three day convention the Broadway community has never seen before. BroadwayCon is shaping up to be quite the event where fans will get unprecedented access and interaction from their favorite Broadway stars and personalities. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to being in the middle of it. 

In addition to the workshops, autograph sessions, singalongs and what is expected to be the most insane marketplace ever, BroadwayCon is also going to feature a number of panels that will give attendees insight into what the theatre industry is actually like. While every panel is interesting for one reason or another, here are 10 that I feel shouldn't be missed. 

Friday

"Producing 101" - 12:00pm - 12:50pm

We all know that a show’s producer is ultimately the one calling the shots, but with so many names above the title of every Broadway show these days, what do producers actually do? And how can aspiring producers get started? Join our panel of talented producers for an inside look at what it takes to get a show up on stage. Moderator - Julie James. Panelists-  Ken Davenport, John Johnson, Alia Jones-Harvey, Hal Luftig, Daryl Roth, Barbara Whitman

"History is Happening In Manhattan: The Hamilton Panel" - 5:00pm - 5:50pm

It’s breaking records. It’s changing perceptions. It’s topping rap charts. It’s causing traffic jams. Hamilton is doing all the things, and Playbill is talking with writer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson, and Jonathan Groff about the history that is happening on 46th Street.

"10,514,880 Minutes: How Do You Measure 20 Years of Rent?" - 7:30pm - 8:50pm

It’s the musical responsible for student rush, cleaning up 41st Street, revitalizing the Nederlander Theatre, providing opportunities for countless Broadway debuts, inspiring the next generation of musical theatre creators, and making sure none of us will ever forget how many minutes are in a year. And it’s ultimately the reason we’re all here together for BroadwayCon. Join members of the original Rent family — cast, creatives, and friends — as they discuss where they were 20 years ago this week and how life has changed since then. Panelists - Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Marlies Yearby, Tim Weil, Fredi Walker-Browne, Bernie Telsey, Cynthia O'Neal, James C. Nicola and Rodney Hicks. 

Saturday

"What I Really Want to Do is Direct" - 12:00pm - 12:50pm

These theatrical directors share their stories, from their small starts to their big hits to everything in between. Find out what it’s really like to be the man or woman behind the curtains. Panelists - Lonny Price, Kathleen Marshall, Stafford Arima and Leigh Silverman

"Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue: The Fun Home Panel" - 11:40am - 12:20pm

The cast and creative team from the reigning best musical, Fun Home, will discuss life on Maple Avenue, including what it was like to bring the small, intimate piece to Broadway and into the round, the audience response to the ground-breaking musical, and what it means to be telling such an important story eight times a week. Moderator: Adam Hetrick Panelists - Michael Cerveris, Sam Gold, Lisa Kron, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone and Emily Skeggs. 

"Dance, Ten: Broadway's Choreographers" - 3:00pm - 3:50 pm

Spend some time with the people who make Broadway dance. Hear about how they started dancing, their transition into choreographing, and what inspires them. Moderator - Michael Gioia Panelists - Christopher Gattelli, Lorin Latarro and Kathleen Marshall

Sunday

"Adapting for the Stage" - 10:00am - 10:50am

Taking a beloved story from page or screen to stage can be tricky. These writers will tell you how they managed to walk the fine line between honoring the source material and creating something brand new. Panelists- Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, Quiara Alegria Hudes and Laurence O'Keefe. 

"Even if You're Little You Can Do A Lot: Broadway's Smallest Stars" - 11:00am - 11:50am

Between school, friends, family, and extra-curriculars, kids today are busier than ever. Now imagine doing all of that and performing on Broadway! Hear what it’s like from the kids who are living it today, moderated by one of our favorite grown-up Broadway kids. Moderator- Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Panelists - Alessandra Baldacchino, Sophia Gennusa, Sawyer Nunes, Sam Poon, Taylor Richardson and Ripley Sobo. 

"When Life Gives You Eggs, Make an Omelette: The Something Rotten! Panel" - 12:00pm - 12:30pm

Something Rotten! is Broadway’s new musical about the first musical. Join its lead actors and get the inside scoop on whether it’s really so hard to be the Bard...Panelists - Christian Borle, John Cariani and Brian d'Arcy James. 

PLEASE NOTE: No eggs were harmed in the making of this panel. Please do not throw tomatoes.

"Insiders, Outsiders, and Masked Avengers: Your Role in the Broadway Community" - 11:00am - 11:50am

With constant Instagrams of backstage life, new podcast episodes every week, and the collective live tweeting of major Broadway moments, social media allows actors and fans alike to participate in the Broadway community. But how do you use these tools to strengthen your networks and form new bonds? What is it like to become a thing? Hear from actors, podcasters, and (formerly) anonymous Twitter personalities about making their mark on the Broadway community from the inside, the outside, and the in-between. Moderator - Jennifer Spitulnik. Panelists - Aaron J. Albano, Andrew Briedis(Annoying Actor Friend), Laura Heywood(@BroadwayGirlNYC), Patrick Hinds, Nikka Graff Lanzarone and Erin Quill. 

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As I said before, this is going to be quite the weekend and I'm thrilled to say that OnStage will be in the middle of it. I'll be in attendance all three days covering as much as I possibly can. And while it will be great to talk to many of these stars, I'm more excited to talk to you! I can't wait to share the stories of many of you in attendance. 

Keep checking OnStage all throughout the weekend as well as our Facebook and Twitter for updates, pics, videos and more!