Who: Taekia Blackwell
Outside: The Ambassador Theatre on West 49th Street
Tell me a bit about Mischief Management, the masterminds behind BroadwayCon, and the company you work for as operations director?
TB: Mischief Management is an events management company; basically we throw fan conventions for things that we love—I think that’s the best way to put it. We started with the Harry Potter convention, LeakyCon, and [later] launched BroadwayCon, GeekyCon, a multi-genre fan convection, and we’re soon starting a Con of Thrones, for the Game of Thrones sect. [With BroadwayCon] we realized that almost everyone in the office was a theatre kid growing up and that we all have that passion underneath.
I think there are a lot of young people who love the theatre but don’t necessarily know what career path to take, so it might be helpful for them to know that there are other jobs, such as yours, which are still really connected to that world.
TB: Yes! I didn’t think that I was going to go into theatre, [I thought that] it was just something that I’d done in high school and really loved and wanted to continue in college. My undergrad major was film and my minor was theatre, so in a way I’m still touching on both; and I’ve found that a lot of my business savvy has come from my theatre minor, as I learned a lot about freelancing. The biggest thing I would say [to young people] is to be really honest and clear about what it is you’re passionate about and to follow opportunities as they present themselves. I was very passionate about tech—I’m very much a behind-the-scenes kind of person, so for me, it’s about being able to share that excitement and passion with other people.
How would you sum up your experience at the first ever BroadwayCon earlier this year?
TB: It was thrilling. There was excitement and passion, people crowding the Hilton in various cosplay, and we were snowed in together! No blizzard can stop us. It was exciting knowing we were on the ground floor for something very special and that will hopefully have a huge impact on the Broadway community going forward.
TAKE A LOOK AT PHOTOS FROM THE INAUGURAL BROADWAYCON:
What would you say is the most fulfilling part of your job?
TB: I met people who were my age or older, who were walking around saying ‘Man I wish there had been something like this around when I was a kid,’ and that was something I felt—the sense that 16-year-old Taekia would have eaten BroadwayCon up and loved the opportunity to explore more potential professions in the Broadway industry. To be able to show people what it’s really like, and all areas of the industry, was really exciting. I’m glad that 16- and 17-year-olds, and college students at BroadwayCon were able to see that onstage or backstage, there’s a home for them.
In one word, how would you describe BroadwayCon 2017?
TB: Bigger. We want to maintain the community feeling but also make it bigger and blow it out.