Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail shall keep BroadwayCon from pressing on. From epiphanies on planned panels to impromptu schedule additions, BroadwayCon was the best ticket in town.
TO US AND OUR GOOD FORTUNE: THE FIDDLER ON THE ROOF PANEL
1. Even Fiddler's cast plays Secret Santa
"We do secret Santa at Fiddler on the Roof," said Schecter. "Absolutely. Real American Jews. Channukah was like crickets, but Christmas ruled at the Fiddler house."
2. Some crazy traditions that have formed
During "L'Chaim" there is a section of improv slow motion, and every night someone, usually Melanie Moore (who plays Chava), gives a direction to the men in that number of how to perform the slow-mo. Some nights it's "do it like Gollem" others "you're all flight attendants." "If you went to see the show every single night, in that section you'll probably see something very different," said Jeffrey Schecter. The whole cast gathers in the wings to watch.
WELCOME TO OUR HOUSE ON MAPLE AVENUE: THE FUN HOME PANEL
1. Joel Perez surprised the cast — dressed as Small Alison
Running on stage in full Small Alison garb, Perez hopped onto Michael Cerveris' lap and proceeded to sing a few lines of "Ring of Keys."
2. "Fun Home" had a special celebration in honor of Marriage Equality
When marriage equality passed in the U.S. in June 2015, it was especially poignant for the cast. "It was just so remarkable to discover that the Supreme Court watches the Tony Awards," Cerveris joked.
3. Believe it or not, Alison's parents loved each other
The panel confessed that they think Bruce and Helen Bechdel did love each other, and that in today's world, those characters would be best friends — and at BroadwayCon!
4. Writer Lisa Kron admitted that "Ring of Keys" was a song she initially didn't want to write.
I CAN DO THAT! BROADWAY SIBLINGS
1. Did you know that the Keenan-Bolgers all did The Secret Garden together?
Although Karmine Alers and Yassmin Alers are currently sharing the stage together in On Your Feet!, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Maggie Keenan-Bolger and Celia Keenan-Bolger were in the same show once upon a time, too. They did The Secret Garden, starring Maggie as Mary Lennox and Andrew as Colin Craven. Celia was hoping to play the chambermaid Martha, but lost the part and was cast in the ensemble. In one scene, Andrew's character yelled at Celia, so at the panel she said, "Let's not talk about it!"
2. "T" or "NT"
Panel moderator, Playbill.com's Michael Gioia, played a game of "T" or "NT" with the participants, in which he would ask the siblings to answer questions about the other. If they got the answer correct, the sibling said "T" for true; if they got the answer incorrect, the sibling said "NT" for not true. The Alers sisters scored more "NT"s than the Keenan-Bolgers or the Scribners. When asked if Yassmin knew her sister's least favorite role, she said that Karmine probably didn't have one. However (!), Karmine said that when she was a swing in Rent, she always stressed out about going on for Alexi Darling (because of all the phone numbers she had to remember in the Voicemail segments).
P.S. Both Alers sisters performed in Rent at the same time — however, one was on the road with the show while the other played Broadway.
DANCE, TEN: BROADWAY'S CHOREOGRAPHERS
Playbill's Michael Gioia sat down with Tony winners Kathleen Marshall and Chris Gattelli to talk musical theatre choreography.
1. Kelli O'Hara and Donna Murphy are DANCERS
When asked whose growth they were each most proud of, Gattelli named Kelli O'Hara from his work with her in South Pacific. "I consider Kelli a dancer," he said, but he remembers watching her confidence grow from the beginning of their rehearsal period to final bow. Marshall named Donna Murphy from their collaboration in Wonderful Town. "She won an Astaire Award for that show!" said Marshall.
2. Marshall's favorite number that she created are not necessarily what you'd expect
"Hernando's Hideaway" from her Pajama Game starring Harry Connick Jr. "I wanted to get him to a piano [so] he would have a little section of the show each night that was just his own…so I just figured out how to get him there. As for Gattelli, his favorite creation is "Seize the Day."
3. Gattelli prefers not to call them "tricks"
Gattelli and Marshall both addressed this idea that Broadway choreography is chock full of "tricks." Gattelli remembers watching Mikhail Baryshnakov do these impressive jumps and 13 pirouettes and aspiring to that skill. He enjoys showcasing the special skills of his casts and inspiring a young dancer in the audience to try something ambitious.
THE BROADWAY SORTING HAT
Fans engaged in a heated debate about the Hogwarts fate of their favorite musical characters.
DIVAS, DARLINGS AND DAMES: WOMEN IN BROADWAY MUSICALS OF THE 1960s
This lecture from Professor Stacy Wolf of Princeton University proved that BroadwayCon caters to all tastes. It's fun and informative. Wolf began by illustrating how Helen Gurly Brown's "Sex and the Single Girl" truly shaped the musicals — and their female leads — in the 1960s. As she examined Sweet Charity's title character, Cabaret's Sally Bowles, Oliver's Nancy, Hello Dolly!'s leading diva, Mame's title dame and Man of La Mancha's Aldonza, audiences were fascinated by the insightful perspective on these roles and how their bodies onstage, their voices and their characterizations truly were a product of the time and Brown's influence.
Needless to say, Blizzard Jonas was a hurdle — but BroadwayCon cleared it. Even though Broadway itself closed in New York City, the show went on at the Hilton with an added attendee component. Fans signed up to participate in BroadwayCon Karaoke, hosted by original Wicked cast member and host of Broadway Sessions Ben Cameron. Standouts included a performance of Spring Awakening's "Don't Do Sadness" by two 14-year-old fangirls who could sang.
Post karaoke, Ben Cameron hosted "Avenue Q&A" for some one-on-one interviews with Broadway's hottest celebs. First up, Anthony Rapp — which was especially thrilling for those who didn't attend Day One. But the highlight of the night came when Rob McClure did the one-man-cast version of Sweeney Todd. IN-CREDIBLE. #PagingStephenSondheim
THE BROADWAY PARTY LINE
In another unplanned event, Playbill's Blake Ross, Michael Riedel, Anthony Rapp and Con organizers dialed their rolodex of Broadway pals during a telephone hour called The Broadway Party Line. They dialed all the icons: Betty Buckley, Patti LuPone, Joel Grey, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Shanice Williams and Darren Criss were among callers and Jeremy Jordan even video-chatted the crowd. They talked about Broadway memories, plans and their love of the theatre.
Ruthie Fierberg is the Features Editor at Playbill.com. She has also written for Backstage, Parents and American Baby, including dozens of interviews with celeb moms and dads for parents.com. Follow her on Twitter at @RuthiesATrain.