Coverage/photos/video by Melissa Griegel Photography
Ben Cameron, BroadwayCon host extraordnaire, started the opening Kick-Off with a bang introducing performances by Beth Leavel (The Prom, The Drowsy Chaperone), Jalani Remy (Ain’t Too Proud, The Lion King), and Lesli Margherita (Emojiland, Zorro). After they sang, he asked his guests when they first fell in love with Broadway. “Just now,” was Remy’s response. Leavel said she was “late to fall in love with Broadway” and then sang the rest of her response. Margherita told the crowd that she became obsessed with Broadway when she was three years old watching Judy Garland, and then proceeded to love everything Broadway and would wear a Phantom mask around the house.
Ben then turned over the mike to Alex Newell (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) to introduce numbers by current and upcoming Broadway shows.
Between the Lines tells the story of Delilah, an outsider in a new school who seeks comfort in the pages of her new book. Soon her fantasy world and real world begin to combine and she discovers she has the power to write her own story. Julia Murney (Wicked) introduced Arielle Jacobs (Aladdin) and Jason Gotay (Evita) who each sang a piece from the show.
Direct from a successful run on London’s West End, Caroline, or Change will be opening on March 13th at Studio 54. The Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home) musical is set in 1963 Louisiana and focuses on an African American maid working in a Jewish home. Harper Miles (Broadway debut), Nya (Broadway debut), and Nasia Thomas (Ain’t Too Proud; Beautiful) sang and danced a number from the show.
In the original production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company, a single man named Bobby is looking for love. In this updated version, Bobby becomes Bobbie, played by Tony and Grammy award winner Katrina Lenk (A Band’s Visit). The show also stars two-time Tony award winner Patti LuPone (Evita, Gypsy) who just won the Oliver Award for her portrayal in the show. Bobbie’s suitors, played by Claybourne Elder (Torch Song), Kyle Dean Massey (Pippin), and Bobby Conte Thornton (A Bronx Tale) regaled the audience on Friday with “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.”
Ann Harada (Avenue Q, Emojiland) joined Max Crumm (Disaster!, Grease) and Laura Schein (Emojiland) who talked about coming up with the concept for Emojiland over lunch when Apple added emojis in a software update. Harada plays the Pile of Poo; Crumm and Schein wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Emojiland, as well as act in the show. Natalie Weiss (Everyday Rapture), who plays Construction Worker, sang a duet with Felicia Bosell (Shuffle Along) whose character is Police Officer. Leslie Margherita (Zorro) danced her way on stage as Princess.
Austin Scott (Hamilton) introduced fellow castmates from Girl from the North Country to sing a song from the show. Caitlin Houlahan (Waitress) and Colton Ryan (Dear Evan Hansen) did a duet from the show, a quiet love song before they would be parted.
The lovely Fates of Hadestown (Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Nacer-Gonzalez, and Kay Trinidad) performed two songs returning for the “talkback” on Sunday along with co-stars Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon) and Reeve Carney (Hadestown, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark). The attendees were handed Hadestown carnations upon entering the ballroom for the talk. When Noblezada started talking about “the legendary André de Shields” who won the Tony for his performance as Hermes, the moderators agreed with her. Jamie DuMont (The Fabulous Invalid Podcast) said that de Shields “commands the stage like no other human can” and theater critic Rob Russo followed up with “when you need a god, just hire a god to play a god.” Noblezada agreed and said that castmate Amber Gray says of de Shields, “he really owns his own divinity.”
The cast of Jagged Little Pill also made two appearances at BroadwayCon. On Friday, Sean Allan Krill, Logan Hart, Celia Rose Gooding, Derek Klena, Kathryn Gallagher, and Elizabeth Stanley performed the song “Wake Up” They all came back on Sunday for a mainstage “talkback” about the show sans Logan Hart, but with the addition of Lauren Patten. Elizabeth Stanley and Kathryn Gallagher both talked about how utterly honored they were to be able to be the first ones to sing the two original songs Alanis Morrisette wrote for the show. Since the various characters are dealing with big issues such as trans-racial adoption, addiction, sexual assault, toxic masculinity, white privilege, and gender identity, all of the actors discussed how they spent a lot of time researching and preparing for their roles so they could portray their characters with authenticity.
The cast of the upcoming show Mrs. Doubtfire previewed two songs. Rob McClure (Beetlejuice) plays the lead role of Daniel Hillard, a divorced and out of work actor trying to get more time with his kids. Before becoming their nanny, he is working as a janitor at the “Mr. Jolly” show and tries to teach Mousey the Puppet how to tell time. McClure did a fabulous job singing, puppeteering, and playing the loop machine. After a rousing round of applause, he introduced the three young actors who play his children: Analise Scarpaci (Matilda, A Christmas Story), Jake Ryan Flynn (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and Avery Sell (Broadway debut) who sang, “What the Hell?”
The cast of Sing Street, led by Brenock O’Connor who plays the lead role of Conor, performed a rousing number on stage. Afterward, they continued singing in the lobby, handing out and autographing free posters and taking selfies with the attendees. The show tells the story of 16-year-old Conor during the 1980s recession in Dublin. He is moved from his private school to a tough inner-city school and starts a band to help him cope with his new life. Previews begin March 26th.
Although it has yet to open, SIX, a rock-musical telling the story of the six wives of Henry VIII, already has a huge fan following. The cast performed in full costume to immense applause and fans singing along with the lyrics. Adrianna Hicks plays Catherine of Aragon, Andrea Macasaet is Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour is portrayed by Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack is Anna of Cleves, Samantha Pauly plays Katherine Howard, and Anna Uzele is the lone-surviving wife Catherine Parr.
The 5th annual BroadwayCon also ended with bang, with Ben Cameron inviting attendees to come up on stage and sing “Seasons of Love” (Rent) and “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (Hairspray) amongst blasts of fluttering confetti. See you all at BroadwayCon 2021!