On Day 1 of Year 1 of BroadwayCon, being held for three days at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, we learned:
“It’s like Comic Con but with more jazz hands and green face paint.”
“Cosplay” means dressing up as characters, and among the thousands of attendees, there were many who wore costumes. I counted three as King George III from Hamilton (but none as King Charles III from King Charles III).
So much talent was on display that there was an “opening” that consisted of an hour-long original musical depicting a fanciful version of how they put together BroadwayCon. It included reworked songs (“Good Morning BroadwayCon,” set to the tune of Hairspray‘s “Good Morning, Baltimore”; “The Con Where It Happens,” set to the tune of “The Room Where it Happens” from Hamilton.) It featured such theater professionals as Rob McClure (currently in Noises Off on Broadway) and Ann Harada (who sang “What’s the matter with fans today” to the tune of “What’s the matter with kids today” from Bye Bye Birdie), and a cameo by Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry.
It ended with confetti, and bows from the cast PLUS such Broadway legends as Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen.
In the panel on Rent’s 20th anniversary, made up of original cast members, Daphne Rubin Vega said she calls one of her knees “Mimi” because her performance as that character wrecked it.
In the panel on The King and I, sound designer Scott Lehrer said that one of his challenges was figuring out “how to put a microphone on a bald head,” and costume designer Catherine Zuber said they found their textiles for the Siam characters in Jackson Heights, Queens. “They have a rich Asian community.”
In the panel on Spring Awakening, some of the musical’s performers said they’ve become deaf and disability rights activists as a result of their membership in an inclusive cast that includes deaf actors and one (Ali Stroker) who uses a wheelchair.
In the panel on diversity, Telly Leung from Allegiance said “Vote with your dollars and with your voice, including on social media. Support what you want to see.” And Erin Quill said “actors of color must create their own work and tell their own stories. Being better isn’t enough.”
Below are three videos. In the first, Broadway performers Anthony Rapp, founder of BroadwayCon, Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening, Les Miz, Smash), Ann Harada (Cinderella, Ave Q, Smash), and BroadwayCon cosplayers explain the difference between a theater fan and a theatergoer.
And these two are moments from the Hamilton panel.