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Inside Look: Broadway Con 2016

Posted by glnyc on January 27, 2016

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Even though storm Jonas literally stopped New York City in its tracks this weekend, the show went on at the first ever Broadway Con! This type of convention has been long overdue with the vast Broadway and theater community.

The con took placed January 22 – 24 at the New York Hilton Midtown. It was organized by Melilssa Anelli, Stephanie Dornhelm and Anthony Rapp (Rent).  

I have to say as a theater geek and huge Broadway fan, the con definitely met my expectations. There was something for everyone to do despite the storm on Saturday. I not only got an inside look at some great Broadway shows like Spring Awakening but got to witness some outstanding performances and see my favorite stars!

Here are some highlights and insides looks at some great Broadway Con panels, performances and much more!  

Opening Number

Broadway Con was kicked-off with a great opening number featuring many surprises! The special performance followed the story of two High School girls, part of drama club, who wanted to create a Broadway Con. The songs in the opening number were all original with the theme song being, “Broadway Con’s The Place For You.

Many great surprise Broadway stars popped up in the opening including cast members of Avenue Q, Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dame at Sea), Tommy Tune, Rob McClure (Honeymoon in Vegas), Ben Vereen (Pippin), Anthony Rapp, and Idina Menzel on video (If/Then, “Frozen”).

To top it off, it ended in confetti guns shooting out of the audience and accidentally getting stuck on the chandelier.

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Opening Number Finale 

Panels

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Deaf West, East Panel with the Spring Awakening Cast

Deaf West, East: 

This panel included the cast of Spring Awakening such as Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez and Daniel Durant. The cast talked about how the show was a great opportunity and how unique it was incorporating sign language into the revival. It made the show even more beautiful. One major point the cast brought up is that in the theater, there needs to be a better and faster way at accommodating those who are deaf. Most of the time, those who are hearing impaired cannot go to a show right away while it is “hot” on Broadway.

History is Happening in Manhattan: The Hamilton Panel

The Hamilton panel was on my must list to go to! Just seeing the cast of Hamilton was awesome even without seeing the Broadway show. The cast present included Jonathan Groff (the voice of Kristoff in “Frozen”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of Hamilton), and many others!

The cast answered random rapid fire questions which definitely got interesting. Jonathan Groff said that the other character in Hamilton he would like to be is Angelica, and his favorite celebrity that saw the show was Beyonce. No Hamilton panel is complete without Lin-Manuel rapping! Click to watch his mad skills! 

Something Rotten! Panel

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Something Rotten! Panel (Left to Right: John Cariani, Christian Borle, Brian d'Arcy James)

Fellow Eggheads joined as Something Rotten! stars Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Legally Blonde), Brian d’Arcy James (Next to Normal, Shrek The Musical) and John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof)  for this panel. I learned some pretty fun facts about these fantastic singers. Christian keeps his Tonys on his mantel so that he can see them every day. John’s other Broadway dream role is to play Iago in Aladdin. Brian was a complete fan girl when he saw Harrison Ford at the 2016 Golden Globes. He can also do an impressive Christopher Walken impression!

Other great panels including the 20th Anniversary Rent reunion of the original cast, Les Miserables and Fiddler on the Roof.

Games and Sing Alongs

No convention is without fan participation! Fans got to participate in multiple singalongs, Broadway Feud, a Variety Hour of random activities and many other!  

There were singalong’s to popular Broadway YouTube videos and to musicals including Wicked and The Book of Mormon. It was amazing how much these fans knew the lyrics to songs such as Defying Gravity and I Will Survive.

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Broadway Feud

Then there was… the Broadway Feud! Featuring not only fans but stars Jonathan Groff, Ryann Redmond (If/Then), Rob McClure and Lesli Margherita. The feud was definitely full of surprises and a display of some very weird talents and questions pertaining to Broadway such as, “Popular 1st Broadway Musicals” were asked. Ultimately, Team Sharks with, of course, Jonathan Groff on it, won the feud!

The Variety Hour was definitely full of random activities, excitement and laughter! They had the first ever Broadway Con Spelling Bee, Lesli Margherita tried singing to the overture of Gypsy, and there was a cosplay fashion show!

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Fans cosplay as Daisy and Violet from Side Show at the Variety Hour Fashion Show

Performances

Of course, Broadway isn’t without its great performances! From singing to improvisations, fans were surely entertained.

Broadway Con Jukebox

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Anthony Rapp singing at the Broadway Con Jukebox

During the Broadway Con Jukebox, stars Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Stark Sands (Kinky Boots, American Idiot), Jenn Colella (Chaplin), Anthony Rapp and others had the audience vote for what song they would sing. 

Don’t Quit Your Night Job

This performance was a combination of singing, improvisation and comedy. Guest stars included James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin), Ali Stroker (“Glee”), Don’t Quit Your Night Job and a special appearance by John Cariani.

The beginning was priceless when they did a "Star Wars meets musical" skit about how a Storm Trooper goes into musical theater. James Monroe and Ali did a skit about how they were rocks going through an identity crisis. John Cariani helped in a competition to choose a suitor suitable for Tevye’s daughter, such as trying to catch flying latkes! Anthony Rapp topped the cake with his performance of Musical Mad Libs. 

Broadway Con Cabaret

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Krysta Rodriguez performing at the Broadway Con Cabaret

Being that storm Jonas stopped many of the cabaret stars from coming, Krysta Rodriguez stole the show! She was a one women performance that was out of this world! Songs she sang included those from “Smash”, First Date, In The Heights and Spring Awakening. Her performance of the song from Spring Awakening with sign language was absolutely breathtaking.

See highlights of some of the great performances here

Next Stop, Broadway!

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Cast of Disaster! including Seth Rudetsky, Kerry Butler, Faith Prince, Kevin Chamberlin, Rachael York, Jennifer Simard and Max Crumm

Those who attended the convention got the exclusive scoop into what new Broadway shows are coming to New York City this spring. These shows include Disaster!, Found: A New Musical, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 which will star Josh Groban, Tuck Everlasting and Nerds.

Farewell, Broadway Con

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Farewell Finale of Broadway Con 

Broadway Con was such a great experience, and for being the first one, it was fabulous! It was full of stars, panels, workshops, autographs, merchandise, performances and much more that I will always remember. This convention allowed fans to escape into the world of theater for a little and be the true theater geeks they are! On that note, what a great farewell number it was to have a sing along to Rent song, Seasons of Love. Watch here! 

 

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