This week, Theatre Trip got the chance to check out BroadwayCon for the very first time! The convention took place from January 24th – 26th at the New York Hilton Midtown in the heart of the city. If you’re at all interested in checking out the convention in the future, make sure to read on to learn more about what to expect!
Location: New York, NY
Experiencing BroadwayCon 2020
There are many different pieces that fit into the big picture of BroadwayCon, including panels, workshops, events, meetups, and the famous marketplace. But I’ll go through all of the aspects of the con one by one so that you can get a solid overview of it all.
First of all, it’s good to be prepared for the fact that there are so many great panels to choose from at BroadwayCon. Because of that, “fomo” is almost guaranteed. And there is definitely something for everyone. Whether your focus is on auditioning, entrepreneurship, career development, or social change, you’ll be sure to find some panels of interest.
The panels are a really great option for those of you who are looking for more of a smaller-scale and intensive learning environment. And one of the best parts about the panels is the ability to chat with and ask questions to the speakers once the panel is over. This is a great opportunity for those who have burning questions about the industry!
Here are the panels that I went to:
• Rewriting the Future of Arts Journalism
• Marketing U 2020: How to Market Yourself in the New Decade
• The People in Black
• What You Should Know About College Auditions
• Broadway Makers: How the Sausage Gets Made
• Confessions of a Casting Director
• An Accompanist Will Be Provided
The BroadwayCon Marketplace
The BroadwayCon marketplace is just a dream come true for musical theatre fans. The rooms are packed with merchandise, creative businesses, apps, and interesting people.
Since so many of you Theatre Trippers are active auditioners, I did spend most of my time scoping out products and businesses that could be of best use to you. You may want to look into Harmony Helper➝ (an app for mastering your vocal performance) and/or VocalMist➝.
The BroadwayCon Museum
This was such a fun little hidden detail of the convention – a mini one-room museum with some fun Broadway-related features. In my opinion, the coolest bits were the set models of Hadestown and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (above).
If you’re really interested in meeting likeminded people while at BroadwayCon, there are tons of different ways to do so. The best of which are the great meetups that are scattered throughout the whole weekend. This year there were meetups for Shakespeare lovers, Playbill trading, ribbon trading, and LGBTQIA+. There were also musical-specific fan meetups for Beetlejuice, Be More Chill, Disney, Newsies, and Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.
The BroadwayCon 2020 MainStage
The BroadwayCon MainStage is where some of the most exciting events of the convention take place! Here’s where you’ll find things like live podcast shows, special events, and panels for hit shows. A few of this year’s highlights included amazing panels for Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jagged Little Pill, Six, Hadestown and Dear Evan Hansen.
The MainStage is home to super fun special events like BroadwayCon’s Jukebox, Game Night, Star to Be, and Cosplay Contest too. It’s also where the attendees gather at the beginning and end of BroadwayCon. It’s basically the main hub of the entire conference!
Quick Tips for BroadwayCon
• BroadwayCon is big on accessibility and inclusion, which means there are great resources for everyone. This includes accessible seating, closed captioning, a designated quiet space, and the allowed use of service animals.
• There aren’t any food stands as a part of BroadwayCon itself, but there are always possibilities to grab food outside or at the lobby of the hotel. On top of that, snacks are allowed in the conference, and you’re always allowed to leave and return to the conference if you’d rather get food from elsewhere.
• Water coolers could be found all over the conference this year, which was a super nice touch!
• If you’re interested in specialized workshops and autograph sessions, it’s important to book or enter the lotteries for those in advance.
• Some panels/events are more popular than others. So if there’s one that is a “can’t miss” in your book, make sure to arrive early.
Were you at BroadwayCon 2020?
Or do you plan on going to BroadwayCon next year? Let us know in the comments! And in the meantime, you can always check out our archive of past theatre visits for even more insight on what’s going on in theaters around the world!
* A special thanks to BroadwayCon for inviting us to the convention!
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Author: Stacy Karyn
Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.