BY: FRANCESCA BRILLI
The fourth annual BroadwayCon has officially come and gone. With a focus on building the Broadway community, BroadwayCon features a variety of panels, performances, and even surprises. Now that we’ve finally gotten some sleep, here’s our list of the top ten moments from the weekend.
10. Powerhouse producer Dori Bernstein praises the power of T.V.
Dori Berinstein was a producer for Legally Blonde (and now The Prom), which filmed its show in its entirety to premiere it on MTV. “A lot of people are scared that it’s going to cannibalize their show, and I really feel that it does the opposite,” she explained, adding that she is an advocate for making Broadway more accessible to people that can’t get to New York City. “Going back to Wicked and Glee and Smash and things that have made theater more of a natural phenomenon, I think that’s making people more comfortable with figuring out how to get theater to a broader audience and I am all for it.”
9. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Chief Creative Officer reveals the secret to modernizing classic shows (without ruining them).
Chapin is the Chief Creative Officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. At BroadwayCon, he spoke on a panel about Oklahoma! (moderated by Broadway Roulette board member Randi Zuckerberg, no less!) discussing how the organization thinks about more modern versions of these classic tales. “The material that we [the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization] represent, we try to take good care of… If you understand and believe in the works as strong works then you can approach them with modern artists, given the time period.”
8. Hadestown creator Anaïs Mitchell reminds us what a bad-a** she is.
With Hadestown officially opening on Broadway in April, Mitchell will be the first woman to write the music, lyrics, and book for a musical in ten years. At BroadwayCon, she performed a “much higher octave” and stripped down version of “Why we Build the Wall” and talked about how Hadestown was born. “It was a DIY community theatre project, and a more abstract version of it than we’re doing now, but some of the songs that were written for the show come from way back then.”
7. Lilli Cooper’s pop-rendition of a classic Rodgers & Hammerstein tune.
The Rodgers & Hammerstein organization is launching a video series on their YouTube channel called R&H Goes Pop which invites Broadway stars to put a modern twist on classic scores. Cooper sang, “It Feels Good” from Me and Juliet as part of the 75-year celebration of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Jeremy Jordan also revamped a classic R&H song in a music video featuring the former Supergirl star swinging around on a lighthouse looking mighty nice.
6. The not-so Mean Girls get emotional talking about their time developing their favorite movie into a musical.
Tears were flowing out of pure gratitude from the cast of Mean Girls. Ashley Park (Gretchen Wieners), Kate Rockwell (Karen Smith), and Taylor Louderman (Regina George) all took turns talking about what a joy it has been to be part of this show, and to work with this insane team of creatives. (Tina Fey, they’re talking about you!)
5. Everyone in The Prom is in love with Caitlin Kinnunen.
The entire team could not talk more highly of each other and this show if they tried, but it’s clear that they really admire their leading lady, Caitlin Kinnunen. Kinnunen has been part of developing her character, Emma, in The Prom for a number of years (even though she originally auditioned to play Alyssa Greene, now portrayed by Isabella McCalla). Kinnunen was part of the panel on Friday, and it seemed all those feelings were mutual.
4. Tina Landau redefines the word “home” in the best of ways.
Most well known for the twelve-time Tony nominated Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical, Landau was invited to speak in the Opening Ceremony of BroadwayCon. The unofficial theme of this year’s opening ceremony was “home.” When speaking of what the word “home” means to her, Landau said, “Home is, to me, our place of origin and our final destination.” From Ethan Slater’s mash-up of “Homeward Bound” and “Broadway Here I Come”, to Landau’s speech, it was clear that “home” can be found anywhere, even on Broadway.
3. Sophia Anne Caruso singing, “Dead Mom” from Beetlejuice.
The First Look is all about showcasing what exactly is coming to Broadway in the upcoming season, and Caruso did not disappoint. At only 17 years old, she had been helping develop the show for over two years, and her excitement shows. Look up her performance on YouTube and watch it at least 10 times. You will not regret it.
2. The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Panel, in its entirety.
Of all of the panels from the Spotlight series, this one stood out the most. Not because of the fans or even the show itself even, but because of the cast. The panel featured Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley), Alex Price (Draco Malfoy), Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy), Sam Clemment (Albus Potter) and Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter). The one thing they will miss the most? Each other! They have embodied this show for nearly three years, and this panel felt like the proper send-off before they take their final bows on March 17.
BTW WE’RE GIFTING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS TO PARTS 1 & 2 ON FEB 3 JUST SAYIN’ NO BIG DEAL (!!!!!!!!)
1. Everyone loses their minds when the cast of Be More Chill enter the Grand Hall.
The cast entered BroadwayCon through a backdoor up in the balcony of the Grand Ballroom, and as soon as they were in view of the crowd on the floor, the room filled with applause. (Keep in mind, this was before the team had even taken the stage for their panel.) The cast and crew members on the panel repeated time and time again that this show would not be moving to Broadway if it wasn’t for their fan base, and the reception they got here was a good indication that they’ve made the right decision.
What was your favorite moment from BroadwayCon? Was there one on your list that we missed? Let us know! Tweet us @bwayroulette!
… Or click here to book your next spin!