18 Insiders Name Their Favorite Memories From BroadwayCon 2016

Special Features   18 Insiders Name Their Favorite Memories From BroadwayCon 2016
With BroadwayCon 2.0 on the horizon, actors and artists look back to the unforgettable moments from last year.
<i>Rent </i>Panel
Rent Panel Monica Simoes

For theatre fans and artists, BroadwayCon was one of the most unforgettable experiences of 2016, and that’s not just because Mother Nature dumped a record-breaking 27.5 inches of snow on New York City in time for the big weekend.

Theatre lovers came from around the world to sing, dance, and celebrate at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan. For those who missed out, last year’s starry participants look back on the festivities. Grab your tickets now to be in the room where it happens later this month; it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before!


“I was so moved that my master class actually had an audience. I was nervous, but it gave me courage and determination to give these talented young people, who came to sing for me, my best advice and my complete attention.” – Rebecca Luker

“BroadwayCon will always be covered in snow! While I was signing copies of my album, we got the alert that the trains were going to stop running. I got on the train just in time to get home before the city stopped running. The fans that day were brave!” – Annaleigh Ashford

Ryann Redmond Joseph Marzullo/WENN

“Jenn Colella, Tamika Lawrence, and I were doing an autograph signing for If/Then and met so many amazing fans of the show. This one woman came up to our table and told us that seeing If/Then finally helped her to decide to leave her abusive husband. It’s moments like these that make us realize that we are touching so many lives in ways that we couldn’t have imagined.” – Ryann Redmond

“We were all texting and emailing the stars we knew [in the blizzard], and Idina Menzel was one of the first to respond with a ‘yes’ when we asked if she would be a [phone call] guest on the Party Line. And then the screams from the fans during that whole hour [as we called the stars at home]. But really, my favorite memory? The confetti cannons, of course.” – David Alpert, BroadwayCon mainstage programming director

“Being reunited with our Rent family: It meant a great deal to be with not just some of our original cast and friends who populated the show in its 11-year run, but also seeing Jon [Larson]’s sister, Julie Larson, [Friends In Deed founder] Cynthia O’Neil, [NYTW artistic director] Jim Nicola, [casting director] Bernie Telsey, and [choreographer] Marlies Yearby was such a thrill. Hearing stories and memories from our time together 20 years ago brought back many feelings of gratitude.” – Rodney Hicks

“I offered a class called Life Lessons in Musical Theatre, where I chose key lessons and a corresponding song and personal story. I spoke and sang and then listened to people ask what they wanted. … We talked about auditions, about self-doubt, about courage, about fear. We had a Q&A about the personal feelings people had about wanting to be actors, or about what we learn about ourselves from some very, very wise theatre lyricists.” – Melissa Errico

“Krysta Rodriguez, the rock star of all time: When other programming had to be canceled [in the storm] since people couldn’t get there, Krysta stepped in and saved the day by doing an entire concert for a gigantic audience of thousands on the mainstage—based on requests from the audience! It was unlike anything I've ever seen, and connected everyone who was there in such a cool way. The cheering was deafening. Krysta sang tunes she’d premiered on Broadway, songs she’d done in concert, songs from Smash, and other favorites, as though she’d been rehearsing for weeks, as people were yelling song titles at her from the audience! The co-stars of BroadwayCon 2016, for me, were Krysta Rodriguez and the blizzard.” – Jennifer Ashley Tepper


“The panel on gender diversity was inspiring, not only because of the awesome trans artists that came together behind the table, but also the number of queer, trans, and gender non-conforming Broadway lovers and theatre makers who came out to have a conversation with us about how trans representation is changing on and off stage!” – Shakina Nayfack

My favorite part of BroadwayCon was reuniting with so many fellow performers, friends, and former cast mates. It truly brought everyone together.” – Laura Osnes

“For me, it was a tie between doing that opening number in that enormous ballroom and hearing this huge crowd just scream at every theatre reference, and seeing these two girls as Daisy and Violet [from Side Show].” – Ann Harada

“One of my favorite parts of the weekend was doing an autograph session with Andrew Briedis (Annoying Actor Friend) while he Periscoped it, talking about our days working together at Cafe Fiorello in 2007-2008. We just kept looking around and laughing, having no idea how we’d ever end up here after slinging risotto and fielding delivery pizzas in a basement across from Lincoln Center.” – Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Max Crumm and Hunter Bell Joseph Marzullo/WENN

“BroadwayCon is legit the perfect place for magical Broadway fandom. I got to cosplay as Mark from Rent—and be the real fanboy I am inside!” – Max Crumm

“The moment that will never leave me was the sight of Joel Perez, in full-on Small Alison drag, joining us on the Fun Home panel. He may have even been sitting on my knee. It’s all a bit of a blur!” – Michael Cerveris

“FaceTime-ing Jesse Martin [during the Rent reunion]!” – Daphne Rubin Vega

“My favorite memory is driving home (70 miles) from BroadwayCon in that horrific blizzard—wondering if I’d make it home alive, yet the whole while buzzing over the immense coolness of the evening and wishing I could have stayed and/or gotten back the next day!” – Fredi Walker-Browne

“It was a real treat to meet other siblings in the business, who were not only uniquely talented in their field, but who were also genuinely supportive of each other. The Keenan-Bolger sibs were funny as hell, and the Scribner brothers were undeniably sweet. I, myself, am a huge fan of my sister, Karmine. I walked by the Nederlander Theatre many a time with a smile on my face, upon seeing photos of my sister while in Rent. It was comforting to witness the shared respect and admiration for our sibs and their talents in what could, at times, feel like a cut-throat business.” – Yassmin Alers

“Some of the most amazing theatre costumes by fans were certainly present at BroadwayCon. I will never forget that there were these two twins from out of town dressed as the Side Show sisters, and when I went to interview them, they knew every word to Side Show and sang ‘I Will Never Leave You’ on cue. There were a lot of Phantom fans. In fact, this one couple—two gals, actually—[were] dressed as Christine and Phantom… It was just perfection the way it was displayed on them.” – Frank DiLella

“When the event was over, a mom came up to me and told me that I just saved their child’s life, and that blew my mind. … It’s maybe a little bit heavy, but it’s kind of the extreme example of what these events can do for people. They give people community, and they give people a way to connect with other people who feel the same sorts of things that they do. It lets a lot of young people know that they’re not alone for loving the things that they love.” – Melissa Anelli, BroadwayCon co-creator


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