lunedì 25 gennaio 2016

The 8 Best Things I Saw At The First-Ever Broadway Fan Convention

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BroadwayCon is Comic Con for Broadway lovers. It was basically musical theater nerd heaven in the middle of this past weekend's blizzard in New York.

The cosplay.

The moment I entered the New York Hilton Midtown on Friday, Jan. 22, and saw a pitch-perfect Daisy and Violet Hilton from Side Show, I knew I was home. Cosplay is a highlight at any convention, whether you're participating or merely people-watching. I opted for the latter, concerned that my Mother's Younger Brother from Ragtime cosplay would be too subtle.

Never have I recognized more cosplay than I did at BroadwayCon: I saw a cavalcade of Elphabas, Sweeney Todds, and Mormons. It's hard to describe the sheer delight of coming face-to-face with a Medium Alison from Fun Home. I know you. I knoooow you.

Instagram: @rebeccarrain

The Smash fan meetup.

There will always be something a little surprising about the ardor of Smash fandom. The theater community has always had an odd relationship with the critically maligned TV series, which ended unceremoniously in 2013, with episodes being burned off on Saturdays. Smash got a lot right about backstage life on Broadway, and also got so very much wrong. But the meetup at BroadwayCon was filled to capacity, which is extra impressive given that it had to compete with the Hamilfans meetup, the Rentheads meetup, and the Fansies meetup. (If you cringed at those monikers, BroadwayCon is not the place for you.) And while discussions over whether we preferred Bombshell or Hit List nearly devolved into blows, everyone came together for an impromptu sing-along of "Let Me Be Your Star." I cried?

Instagram: @louispeitzman

The BroadwayCon opening.

The BroadwayCon opening.

You know what makes me happy? When there is a deep-cut reference to the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the auditorium erupts in cheers. That does not happen at other conventions. That has likely never happened before, anywhere. The BroadwayCon opening was a charming performance filled with song parodies and assorted other references that ranged from the obvious (lots of Hamilton) to the more obscure (Honeymoon in Vegas, anyone?). This hourlong musical was a sure sign that I was in the right place, which is, to be fair, how I feel whenever someone name-checks Carolee Carmello. But I can confidently say this was the first and last time I will ever see Tommy Tune get nailed by a confetti cannon. As the oft repeated refrain went, only at BroadwayCon!

Cheri Root

The Hamilton panel.

The Hamilton panel.

You know when you reach that point where you can't handle any more Hamilton content? Me neither. Despite the threat of overexposure, it was impossible not to be thrilled by the Hamilton panel, because the Hamilton cast is absurdly charming, not to mention some of the most talented people on Broadway. (Special shout-outs to Schuyler sisters Phillipa Soo and Renée Elise Goldsberry, because come on.) Having never braved the Ham4Ham lottery myself — I'm not big on crowds — it was truly incredible seeing the kind of rock star response that Lin-Manuel Miranda and company get. And when the panel ended with a sing-along of "The Schuyler Sisters," I lost all pretense of chill.

Cheri Root


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