After an easy check in, I made my way up the escalator and was met with what was either a line or a mob. The doors to the MainStage, where the opening performance was going to take place, hadn't opened yet. People were waiting to get in and it was chaotic because nobody knew where they were supposed to go, including, it seemed, the volunteers. I don't deal well with crowds, so I escaped to the marketplace area and found space to breathe. That's when a Twitter friend who I had never met in person recognized me and introduced herself. I later went back with her and we were able to find seats for the opening performance--near the back, but close to a screen.
|I feel like this post needs a picture, but I was so preoccupied that the only picture I ended up taking was this terrible one of the Hamilton cast. Oops.|
I joked that they should have called it HamilCon, but it wasn't only about that musical. The programming was impressive. You didn't just hear from actors, but stage managers, company managers, and others who do crucial work we rarely hear about. Also, as much as the weekend was a celebration of Broadway, many panels offered discussions about the problems in the industry. At "Your Fave is Problematic," panelists addressed presenting classic work that is offensive today and how to get more diverse voices on Broadway. They didn't come up with all the answers in 50 minutes, but at least they got a dialogue going. At a panel on making theater accessible, the panelists admitted that they still had a long way to go in terms of making captioned, ASL-interpreted, audio-described, and other accessible performances more readily available.
After those first two events on Friday, as far as I could tell, you could wander into the MainStage without waiting in line and always find a seat. Part of that could be the blizzard kept people away, but I think there was also more going on to space out the crowds. I was worried that it would be hard to attend panels in each time slot because they would get out at 10 til with a new one starting on the hour. This summer, I went to D23, the Disney fan convention, where you would have to pick and choose a few things to do each day because of all the time required to wait in line to get into things. But at BroadwayCon, it seemed that everyone would go from one panel to another, which prevented having to line up early. My biggest problem ended up being that there were usually multiple panels I wanted to attend at the same time.
BroadwayCon wasn't perfect. There's always room to improve. Obviously, the weather was unfortunate. A lot of scheduled guests had to cancel. I left early on Saturday after finding out that my evening show was canceled and that certain areas of my subway route were being shut down. From what I read on Twitter, it seemed that the rest of Saturday was a lot of impromptu panels, but I think they tried their best to make sure to keep the attendees entertained and if you had to be stranded somewhere, that was probably a good place to be. There should have been more volunteers, especially on the first day. There could have been more booths in the marketplace. But I'm sure they'll implement changes next year. And maybe hold it in July.