Hashtags, anniversaries, and EGOT wins, oh my! 2018 has been a busy year on Broadway and social media has been there to capture it all through the immortality of the internet. Here are five Broadway moments when the social media spotlight shined on Broadway.
Lin-Manuel Miranda essentially shellacked a “Watch This Space” billboard on Twitter with the advent of his #Hamildrops. Each month, Hamilton fans received a "new" track from the musical's creator via his Twitter account—including cut Hamilton songs, music videos, and new musical arrangements. While technically the series kicked off in December 2017 with "Ben Franklin's Song" from Miranda and The Decemberists, the impact of the Hamildrops passionately smashed every expectation each month of 2018—up to and including the December 20 final #Hamildrop featuring (mic drop) former U.S. President Barack Obama. Before that, fans across musical genres clamored for the variety of artists who collaborated with Miranda—from Ben Platt to Ibeyi to Weird Al Yankovic.
Want to listen to all 13 #Hamildrops? Playbill has a Twitter thread for that:
— Playbill (@playbill) May 31, 2018
The theatre community is one of activism. For this year’s Midterm Election, Broadway performers raised their voices to #BeltTheVote! Led by Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon, Hamilton), superstars like Sara Bareilles, Joshua Henry, George Salazar, Andrew Rannells, and more teamed up to ensure people across the country were registered to vote. When Election Day came, performers flaunting their “I Voted” stickers and encouraging engagement with civic duty filled our newsfeeds.
This November let’s #BeltTheVote! @BCEFA and @WhenWeAllVote are teaming up to make sure the theater community is registered to vote. Learn more at https://t.co/08d8ULcdeA and find out how to get your theater or school involved in @BeltTheVote!! pic.twitter.com/pCKOz3KCW4
— Rory O’Malley (@RoryOMalley) September 6, 2018
3. Live-Tweeting Live Broadcasts
What’s the most swankified place in town? For NBC's live concert events, it was Broadway Twitter. With NBC's broadcasts of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and A Very Wicked Halloween, Twitter buzzed with the commentary and celebration of Broadway fans. Viewers from all around the country tuned in to the broadcasts on their televisions, but the action was two-pronged because fans (including Lin-Manuel Miranda) tuned into Twitter for in-the-moment conversation and observations. The Twitter experience has become a singular one, reserved only for live musical broadcasts, leaning away from the more traditionally quiet live theatre experience.
— Sam Nagel (@sammynaynay) April 2, 2018
— Renee Grassi (@MissReneeDomain) April 2, 2018
Is this the best Sara Bareilles’ voice has EVER sounded or is it just me falling hard for Mary Magdalene? #JCSLive
— ����Kyle Kringle���� (@KyleLauren) April 2, 2018
Look at us all, watching a musical together.
What a joy.
Thanks @OfficialALW. Thanks @SirTimRice
You're KILLING it, @BrandonVDixon @SaraBareilles @johnlegend @MistterJin @normlewis777 @JasonWTam and EVERYBODY!
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 2, 2018
Since the broadcast, the live television musical event has racked up accolades. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, John Legend, Sara Bareilles, and Brandon Victor Dixon earned nods for their acting, and David Leveaux and Alex Rudzinski were nominated for their direction. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert did win Emmys for Outstanding Lighting Design for a Variety Special; Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Special; Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Limited Series, Movie or Special; and Outstanding Variety Special (Live)—crowning Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, and John Legend EGOT winners, each completing the achievement of earning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.Wicked’s concert had notable special guests such as Ariana Grande, Adam Lambert, Ledisi, and Pentatonix, but because the concert was pre-recorded, Chenoweth took to Twitter to interact with fans and share insider tidbits from the taping.
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) October 30, 2018
Chenoweth wasn't the only Wicked performer to post on social media in honor of #Wicked15. Past and present Wicked performers shared their thrillifying memories during their time in Oz, including Mandy Gonzalez, Derek Klena, Kara Lindsay, and current Broadway Elphaba Jessica Vosk, and we curated them in one article for easy reading:
— Playbill (@playbill) October 30, 2018
Fans of Wicked also joined in on the revelry of #Wicked15, reminiscing on their own Wicked memories and reflecting on the impact the musical has had on their own lives.
I was 16 when #Wicked opened on Broadway. I fell in love with @KChenoweth and @idinamenzel. Together and separately. My dream was to see them share the stage again because I never got to the first time. #Wicked15 is full circle for a lot of people. So let’s go defy some gravity!
— Abbey Mangus (@abbeylynnmangus) October 29, 2018
I can't put into words how much @WICKED_Musical has meant to me as a fan, a writer, and a human being. It's about love and courage and standing up for what's right. Happy #Wicked15 - here's to 15 more.
— Amanda Prahl (@amanda_prahl) October 29, 2018
— Adam Jay (@itsAdam) October 30, 2018
4. Mary Beth Peil: A New Social Influencer?
Where would we be without wisdom from our elders? Anastasia’s original Dowager Empress, Mary Beth Peil, bestowed important knowledge through Playbill’s own Facebook/Twitter video series “Life Advice with Mary Beth Peil.” Whether dealing with unruly theatre guests, recommendations for wine pairings, or brainstorming Tinder pick-up lines, Peil shared advice on numerous topics:
— Playbill (@playbill) February 19, 2018
— Playbill (@playbill) April 2, 2018
5. Twitter Challenge: Describe Your Favorite Stage Show in Five Words
If you had to describe your favorite musical or play in five words, could you? This summer, The Academy asked Twitter users to share the plot of their favorite film in five words, and Playbill put our own theatre twist on it. Over 2,000 of you chimed in! Can you guess the show based on these five-word clues?
Now let's hear the plot of your favorite *~musical/play~* in five words!! ���� pic.twitter.com/r6z24RWBll
— Playbill (@playbill) August 1, 2018