Just when we thought the first annual BroadwayCon would be an unforgettable experience, Mother Nature made sure of it. Winter Storm Jonas dumped a record-breaking 27.5 inches of snow on New York City just in time for the January festivities. And in true Broadway fashion, the show went on.
“BroadwayCon will always be covered in snow,” says Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, who came to the Con to sign copies of her album and caught the train home mere minutes before the city shut down. “The fans that day were brave!”
Brave they were—but also excited, eager, and enthusiastic. Theatregoers of all ages, many cosplaying as Tracy Turnblad, as Mark Cohen, and even as the Side Show twins, were greeted by theatre royalty to rejoice over their common love for the Great White Way.
Come snow or shine, the 2017 convention January 27–29 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is on—and even bigger and better than before. Like last year, fans can expect appearances from just about every performer on Broadway, master classes with tried-and-true theatre veterans, panel discussions guaranteed to be as epic as the 2016 panel with the megahit musical Hamilton, singalongs, concert performances, and the now-annual Party Line of calls direct from the Javits to the cell phones of legends. Only at BroadwayCon can fans beg Patti LuPone to send pizza over the phone.
“We’re going to do another fun, creative opening [number] of original material,” Con co-creator Melissa Anelli shares of the mainstage event. This year, there is a second stage for additional performances, including the BroadwayCon First Look, which gives theatregoers an exclusive glimpse into the upcoming season with cast members from Come From Away, Bandstand, Anastasia, and more. It’s the only place to preview what will be on Broadway in 2017.
New to the Con this year are additional panels and a focus on plays. “We’re going to do a deeper delve into the careers of theatre,” Anelli reveals. “We’re trying to present more about theatre criticism, and have a more in-depth educational look at that.”
Returning BroadwayCon are the Celebrity Jukebox, in which fans vote on the songs they want to hear performers sing; the Teenage Diva concert, where celebs show off their “diva” stage moments from high school and have their shot at a second go-around; and the Producing 101 panel, which had an audience of 500 last year. New are more panels that explore a life in the theatre; discussions about representation, colorblind casting, and social awareness in theatre; and “I Can’t, I’m in Tech,” a place to relate to others committed to a life in the rehearsal room. Plus, Todrick Hall will discuss stepping into Lola’s shoes in Kinky Boots, and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen will make an appearance.
Expected to participate this year are the legendary Chita Rivera and Joel Grey; Josh Groban and the cast of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; Anastasia stars Christy Altomare and Derek Klena; the cast and creators of In Transit; Kelli O’Hara; Cynthia Nixon; Danny Burstein; Christopher Jackson; Jonathan Groff; Celia Keenan-Bolger; Lena Hall; Christine Ebersole; Santino Fontana; Norm Lewis; Ana Gasteyer; LaChanze; George Takei; Okieriete Onaodowan; Julia Murney; Jay Armstrong Johnson; Melissa Errico; David Henry Hwang; Tim Federle; Eric Anderson; Des McAnuff; Seth Rudetsky; Lorin Latarro; Laura Osnes; Lesli Margherita; Alex Brightman; Jenn Colella; Christopher Gattelli; Marc Kudisch; Geneva Carr; Beowulf Boritt; Kathleen Marshall; Max von Essen; Jeremy Jordan; Tony Yazbeck; Rob McClure; Ann Harada; John Cameron Mitchell; Benj Pasek; Justin Paul; Javier Muñoz; Rebecca Luker; and many more!
And if snow gets in the way again, well, the first installment taught everyone the value of improvisation. “BroadwayCon 2016 was full of absolute magic,” remembers musical theatre historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper. “I led a panel called Broadway Time Machine: 1979, where four actors who were working on Broadway that season were set to come do a live interview with me about what it was like. Due to the snow, none of these performers were able to make it, so instead I stood in front of a room of 200 people, and every audience member who had seen a Broadway show in 1979 shared their memory of it! It was unexpected and so special.”
Be Part of BroadwayCon
At BroadwayCon, there is a place for everyone. “The panel on gender diversity was inspiring,” says transgender artist and activist Shakina Nayfack, “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.”
If you’re interested in attending, a $250 full-weekend general pass will provide access to all BroadwayCon programming, as well as guaranteed seating at MainStage events and special guest autograph and photo opportunities. This pass also includes the official program book (printed by Playbill), a registration swag bag, and access to the BroadwayCon Marketplace.
A $95 Day Pass provides day-only access to BroadwayCon programming (panels, performances, keynotes, discussions), as well as the official program book and access to the BroadwayCon Marketplace.
The New York Marriot Marquis, located in the heart of Times Square, is the official hotel partner for BroadwayCon, and special guest rates are currently available for BroadwayCon attendees.
But for everyone, the event is about connecting fans and artists. “Jenn Colella, Tamika Lawrence, and I were doing an autograph signing for If/Then and met so many amazing fans of the show,” Ryann Redmond recalls. “One in particular stuck in my mind because this 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.”