The nation’s largest collection of Broadway creatives and enthusiasts gathered at the Javits Center in New York City this weekend to celebrate the second installment of BroadwayCon – naturally, the EBG team arrived on the scene to join in the celebration, too.
The three-day convention boasted theatrical panels and mainstage programming helmed by beloved stars of the stage, from the casts of Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton to Josh Groban and Joel Gray. With both educational and interactive programming crafted for fans and connoisseurs from across the spectrum, BroadwayCon drew in audience members of all ages.
Amidst five meeting rooms of hourly programming and a hall of engaging workshops stood the Marketplace – a room filled with buyable Broadway-themed merchandise, live theatrical podcast tapings, autograph sessions, photography booths and interactive games. The Marketplace constantly teemed with hundreds of eager attendees chatting to one another, trading decorations to adorn their conference badges and snapping photographs with Broadway stars exploring the conference incognito.
For some, BroadwayCon offered a location to cosplay -- an abbreviation of costume play – of some of theater’s most notable characters and celebrities. One could not turn a corner without bumping into a striped-shirted, cast-wearing Evan Hansen, an emerald Elphaba, or a purr-fectly costumed Jellicle cat.
Sirius/XM’s Julie James discussed one of her top costumes with EBG: “My favorite cosplay that I have seen was actually a young gentleman who was dressed as a full-out Glinda [from Wicked], with a wand and an incredible wig. It was as if Glinda was a man, but it was so well done that it is almost hard to describe how amazing it was.”
During several panels, surprise guests snuck into the wings or appeared via Facetime to shower fans with thanks, including a host of former Newsies and the man of the year himself live from London, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The outpouring of love continued throughout the weekend as many panelists utilized their platforms to discuss unity and connectivity in the nation during a substantially divided moment in history.
As Beth Malone stated during the panel, Being Out on Broadway, before witnessing the positive and encouraging response to fans discovering that she is a gay woman, “I never thought I was a person who needed to be more visible.” On the same panel, actor Nathan Lee Graham encouraged those convention attendees, “Whoever you are? Become more of that.”
Overall, the response from fans and industry professionals alike to BroadwayCon remained positive and uplifting; after a successful first year of over 5,000 attendees in 2016 and a completed second year of antics, BroadwayCon can expect to continue attracting these loyal fans that are eager to embrace the whimsy of theater that so fiercely inspires them.
As Arielle Jacobs, seen on Broadway in Wicked, In the Heights and overseas in Australia as Jasmine in Aladdin, told EBG, “I love that [BroadwayCon] exists. There are so many Broadway lovers out there, and this is like a Mecca where they can come and experience everything.”