The Broadway community held its second-annual BroadwayCon on the weekend of Jan. 27-29 in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Inspired by events such as Comic Con, BroadwayCon is a celebration of U.S. theater tradition, where thespians from all walks of life come together, including both the creators and their excited audiences. Over the course of three days, BroadwayCon hosted a variety of interactive activities, such as competitions, discussions, interviews, panels, performances, sing-alongs and workshops. Following the footsteps of Comic Con, one of the most enjoyable parts of BroadwayCon is cosplaying, with the most dedicated theater fans dressing up as characters from shows such as Hairspray and Wicked. In just two years, BroadwayCon has become one of the most beloved and anticipated events in the Broadway community. Casts of hit shows, crew members, designers, producers and theatergoers come together and share their experiences, opinions and passions of what is going on in the theater world and what to expect in the upcoming year.
One of the most anticipated and exciting events was a panel entitled “Actors and Activism.” Actors talked about the crucial importance of being active in their respective communities and not being afraid to speak their minds and stand up for what is right, which is especially important in the current political climate. Another highly anticipated panel was composed of the cast and crew of the hit show Hamilton. The panelists spoke about their experiences and what it feels like to be a part of a show that has enjoyed so much success.
Many shows used BroadwayCon as a marketing opportunity to showcase what was coming in spring. Shows like Anastasia, Bandstand and Dear Evan Hansen performed some of their numbers. Other shows like Amelie and Significant Other announced special ticket contests, where people could get or win free tickets to those shows. Zeynep Akca, a Baruch College junior majoring in arts administration with the specialization in theater, shared her experience from volunteering in BroadwayCon. Akca enjoyed seeing how such an event runs from the inside, saying that “It also gave people, who couldn’t afford tickets, a chance to get to experience this wonderful convention and theatre.” Akca also expressed her slight agitation with the rising prices of tickets to Broadway shows and the convention itself. 2017 has only been the second year for BroadwayCon, so there are still many aspects that need work.
Featuring actors and putting them in a space where they could freely interact with fans wishing to experience quality behind-the-scenes theater makes BroadwayCon quite iconic. While the community is going through tough times adapting to a small audience of theater-going millennials, this amount of enthusiasm and participation is a great sign. BroadwayCon is proving that the future of U.S. theater is as bright as a spotlight and its legacy is in great jazzy hands.