Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Interview: BroadwayCon 2022 Promises Stars, Shows, and Safety Standards- Go Inside the Con's Live, In-Person Return!

Interview: BroadwayCon 2022 Promises Stars, Shows, and Safety Standards- Go Inside the Con's Live, In-Person Return!

BroadwayWorld takes you inside the return of BroadwayCon in our chat with Melissa Anelli, Founder and CEO of Mischief Management.

Interview: BroadwayCon 2022 Promises Stars, Shows, and Safety Standards- Go Inside the Con's Live, In-Person Return!

BroadwayCon, the premiere fan convention for all things Broadway returns July 8-10, 2022 at the Manhattan Center & The New Yorker Hotel, this year's BroadwayCon marks the convention's first in-person gathering in two years, bringing theatre fans closer than ever to some of Broadway's newest and most exciting shows.

This year's lineup features a star-studded slate of interactive Q&As, live performances, sing-along sessions and more from hit Broadway shows such as A Strange Loop, POTUS, CHICAGO, Dear Evan Hansen, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Six, Disney Princess - The Concert, Beetlejuice, among others.

In addition to the individual show spotlights, fans can also attend a variety of panel discussions and interactive sessions from some of Broadway's biggest performers, producers, writers, composers, choreographers, stage managers, and more including: Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series), Aaron Albano, (Hamilton, Newsies), Anthony Rapp (RENT), Ben Cameron (Wicked, Footloose), Cha Ramos, (Company, Dom Juan), David Connolly (Ukulele U & Director of Education for The Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy), Erin Quill (Avenue Q, Dave), Evan Ruggiero, (Bastard Jones, Baby), Fredi Walker-Browne (RENT, Let the Chips Fall Where They May), Gillian Pensavalle (The Hamilcast, True Crime Obsessed), Grey Henson (Mean Girls, The Book of Mormon), Ilana Levine (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Little Known Facts podcast), Isabelle McCalla (The Prom, Aladdin), Jelani Remy (Ain't Too Proud, The Lion King) Jenn Colella (Come From Away, If/Then), Jennifer Ashley Tepper (Be More Chill, Feinstein's/54 Below), John McGinty (Children of a Lesser God), Joseph Travers (Bronx Bombers), Judy Kuhn (Fun Home, Fiddler on the Roof), L Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop, The Danish Girl), Lesli Margherita (Matilda the Musical, Dames at Sea), Maybe Burke (Ramy, Awakafine is Nora from Queens), Michael Kushner (How to Multi-Hyphenate in the Theatre Business), Nik Walker (Ain't Too Proud, Hamilton), Robert Westley (Hamlet, A Bronx Tale), Ryann Redmond (Frozen, If/Then), Sergio Trujillo (Tony Award-winner- Ain't Too Proud), Sydney Mesher (Radio City Rockettes), Thayne Jasperson (Hamilton, Newsies), Tina Satter (Is This A Room), and Will Roland (Be More Chill, Dear Evan Hansen).

The lineup of broadway all-stars will participate in a variety of programming covering topics such as the black artists who rewrote the rules of the 'Great White Way'; how broadway can leverage TikTok to build brands, develop shows, and engage with fans; the history and future of restaging original productions; the possibilities for an American theatre that is more LGBTQ+ inclusive; the evolving role of a stage manager in times of health and social justice concerns; learning lessons from some of broadway's most infamous flops; disability representation on stage and off; and more.

Below BroadwayWorld takes you inside the return of BroadwayCon in our chat with Melissa Anelli, Founder and CEO of Mischief Management, the production company behind BroadwayCon and other unforgettable fan events around the country.

Learn what it takes to get the 'con back on its feet after a two-year hiatus, what fans can expect from this year's big return, and more in our chat below!


What has the planning been like? When did that process begin and more importantly, when did you decide it was safe enough to consider doing an in- person BroadwayCon again?

The hard part is that it's been a moving target all these months, right? We have to plan these events about a year out, so we had to sort of take it on faith at about a year out that things would be better. Unfortunately, a clear cut end did not come in that time. So what we have to do now is just do the best we can and be as safe as possible. We actually had it planned for February of this year, and when it became clear that we couldn't even approach anything remotely safe in that time, we moved it to July. I'm very grateful that the venue allowed us to do that, which is not always the case. So, we've actually been preparing this one for more than a year. Now, even though the situation is not perfect, we're planning do as much as we can to keep people as confident about being in a crowd as possible.

It's been exciting because even though there's so many hybrid options now, the world is more comfortable with digital. All of that stuff is great for accessibility and it is a definite positive trend in the world. What it is also taught us is that there's something irreplaceable about being in-person and we're really excited to get back to that.

So far, you guys have announced some pretty incredible programming with more on the way. One of the most exciting things I spotted on the schedule were workshops with people like Fredi Walker and Angie Schworer. It seems like there are going to be lots of opportunities for folks to hone their craft.

Yes! Can I just praise Fredi Walker for hot minute?

Always!

I knew her from my youth as Joanne in "Rent," and that's all I knew of her. Now getting to know her through this event, she is the most passionate advocate for the arts and for educating young people and for diversity. She's been such an unflappable advocate of what we're doing and I appreciate her literally every minute of every day, I love her a lot.

Giving people opportunities to hone their craft is just such a huge part of what we do at BroadwayCon and we want to do it even more in the future. We feel like our role is to have the event be kind of a little taste of everything Broadway all in one weekend, it's not the same as going through a show, it's sort of like going to all the shows and more!

There are also a number of activism-focused events around topics like social justice and focusing on the future of the industry in terms of inclusivity and widening our borders. What does it mean to you to have that programming as part of BroadwayCon?

It has always been a crucial part of the BroadwayCon mission. It's something that was very consciously standard at the beginning of ideation of the very first BroadwayCon. We feel that, and this is true of all of Mischief's events, you can't serve a community without having critical discussions about how the community can be better. That does not mean we are perfect and that does not mean we have not made mistakes, but we have always placed importance on it. Now the world is starting to place more importance on it and we are increasing our focus on because it is only becoming more and more crucial as we move forward...We try very hard to make sure that it's the very top of mind, and then that we try to balance that with making sure that primarily people come and they have a great time.

I feel like that's the thing that sets BroadwayCon apart from other industry exents, it celebrates the fandom. Where other events are more focused on celebrating the industry itself, or aspects of it, this really celebrates the fan community. So what can fans expect from BroadwayCon in terms of camraderie?

Something that is always really useful for a BroadwayCon fan is to know that we do a lot of meetups in the first day so that people can find the slice of the pie feel they fit into. So whether that is a Sondheim fan or, an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, it gives fans the opportunity to meet other people. We have heard so often the worry from people who attend alone and 100% of those times we hear from those people after the event going, "I have like 10 new friends!" I think that's an important part of the experience. You find your community and you find your people, and then just divert yourself with the things that speak to you - a dance workshop, a panel about a show that you love, the sing alongs! I love the sing alongs because people just kind of lose their minds. They're just so full of joy, and I think that joy is infectious...And being in that atmosphere where you don't feel judged, it opens the way for a type of self expression that's hard to get elsewhere. It's just so valuable and precious.

As usual, there will be a lot of big shows and big names joining this year, including presentations from Dear Evan Hansen and the Broadway-bound Kimberly Kimbo. Is there anything you can tell us about what we can expect?

Something we're doing right now is out our "First Look" session, and it's an incredibly important session to me because I love being able to show fans things they wouldn't see otherwise, either glimpses of shows that they haven't yet seen. So the first showcase is just like an hour to an hour and half of performances and previews of stuff you've never seen before! That's coming together and we should have a lineup announced soon...We're also going to have going to some Off-Broadway presentations, which has always been an aim of BroadwayCon. We wanted to highlight more than just Broadway because the theatre community in general is bigger than just Broadway.

Health and safety are top of mind for most people, particularly in our industry. What has the Covid safety planning been like for the event and what should folks attending know?

We are keeping our vaccine requirements and our mask requirements for the event because it is so important that BroadwayCon does not become a reason that Broadway itself is affected or a reason that anyone gets sick. So, we're keeping it really tight even though Broadway is loosening to those restrictions. We depend on people feeling like they can gather safely and so we really have to stick with it and wait until it's really safe to loosen those restrictions. So, we just ask that everybody goes into it cheerfully knowing that hopefully, fingers crossed, it will be the last year that we have to do such things.

What does it mean to you all to be able to bring the Broadway community of fans and artists back together, in-person, after such an extended period away?

It means everything to us. There is something so precious and valuable about getting together in person and everybody that works on this feels incredibly passionately about it. So to literally take away that possibility for as long as it has been taken away has been really hard. So getting to finally see it all come to fruition again- to see the people's faces, and friendships getting made and seeing the things being learned, hearing the things being discussed. Just seeing the pure happiness you're able to create for people is absolutely, 100% why we do what we do...It's so exciting. I cannot wait to get back into that space and see people really get together and enjoy themselves again.



Related Stories

From This Author - A.A. Cristi

A.A. Cristi is a graduate of the College of Staten Island with a degree in Communications/Journalism. She has performed both onstage and behind the scenes with La MaMa Experimental Theater Club,... (read more about this author)


Emmy-Winning Television Star Anne Heche Dies at Age 53
August 12, 2022

Emmy Award-winning actress Anne Heche has died from injuries sustained in a car accident last week. She was 53 years old.

GREASE Star and Music Icon Olivia Newton John Passes Away At 73
August 8, 2022

Olivia Newton-John, best known to theatre fans as the star of the iconic 1978 film adaptation of the musical, Grease, has passed away at the age of 73. 

Interview: Original Broadway Cast Member John Hillner Revisits FOOTLOOSE At Argyle Theatre
August 5, 2022

On any Sunday through August 28, Long Island audiences can catch Broadway's John Hillner starring as Reverend Shaw in the Oyster Bay Theatre production of the hit musical, Footloose!

Musical Sequel to JOKER, Reportedly Starring Lady Gaga, Gets Release Date
August 3, 2022

The musical sequel to the billion-dollar smash Joker, starring Academy Award-winner Joaquin Phoenix has gotten a release date.

Netflix Sues Co-Authors Of THE UNAUTHORIZED BRIDGERTON MUSICAL
July 29, 2022

Streaming giant Netflix is suing GRAMMY Award-winning songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the minds behind The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, over their wildly popular adaptation of the hit television series.