What Is BroadwayCon?

 

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Why hello! You may not know me, and that is a shame, so let’s fix that! My name is Jimmy Brand and I am a Marketing assistant here at Miller Auditorium. Musicals are in my blood! At this point in my life, my friends have to carefully select their sentences for fear of triggering an impromptu concert by yours truly. But in all seriousness, like many teens growing up, musicals were my safe place. From my local community theatre or in the confines of my own room with my current favorite cast album, I could escape my life and become something more. In that magical moment from curtain to curtain anything can happen. Musicals got me through the good and the bad in my life and will remain an integral part of my life. Trying to live my life with out musical theatre would be like trying to take a picture of Patti Lupone during a performance; it would not end well for any parties involved.

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For many people like me, there has been a long unfulfilled need to network and meet like-minded people. You know, people, people, who need people…  Now, you solve this problem, not like Maria, but this actual problem.  Just then, as it was in the beginning, God said, “Cue One Go” and instead of light there was BroadwayCon.

This year saw the inaugural BroadwayCon. It was a three-day theatrical event that brought together theatre fans from all over with leading members of the Broadway community. In other words, comic-con for theatre nerds, and yes I use this term with all the pride I can muster. The event consisted of panels, performances, workshops, photo opportunities and so much more. This event, in addition to letting people in attendance rub elbows with our favorite Broadway stars, served as a platform for people to meet like-minded musical people.

Anthony Rapp, BroadwayCon Co-Creator and well known for his role of Mark Cohen in Rent, the hit musical by Jonathan Larson (and the only reason I know how many minutes are in a year) has said of BroadwayCon:

“I signed on to help create this event not only because it is the first convention for theatre fans, and not only because it is a singular opportunity to spend quality time with those who love Broadway most, but because this is the convention that this community deserves. BroadwayCon was conceived and created by people who live and love theatre… We’re working with causes close to the community’s heart, starting with the fantastic Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. But most of all, we are creating a way for we who are most passionate about theatre to come together to celebrate this beautiful tradition…”

How wonderful is that! I cannot say enough good things about BroadwayCon. It is a theatre lover’s dream come true, and I hope it remains a tradition for years to come.  For many people, like myself, who live, breathe and sleep theatre, it is lovely to see the Broadway community welcoming us with open arms (none of those Evita arms, like real open arms). Broadway will continue to be a catalyst for change, hope and joy in the world, and I for one am excited to see where Broadway will continue to head in the 21st century.

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This post brought to you by Theatre references, Broadway Puns and the Oxford comma. [Ed. note: I edited those out. #sorrynotsorry]

Yours Truly,

Jimmy Brand

Speaker Spotlight: Ira Glass

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By: Bethany Gauthier

As the host and executive producer of This American Life, a weekly public radio show, and one of the creative minds behind Serial, the popular podcast, Ira Glass is one of America’s foremost tellers of stories. A master of bringing together witty, memorable and moving stories from people of all walks of life, Ira Glass comes to Miller Auditorium on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m.

From his This American Life bio: Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in DC. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing stories for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.

For his Jan. 24 performance, Glass will talk about This American Life and how it’s put together: what makes a compelling story, where he and his staff find stories for their show and how they are trying to push broadcast journalism to do new things. As part of this, Glass will tell stories from the show, while combining his narration with pre-taped quotes and music, recreating the sound of the show as the audience watches live. Glass will also play memorable moments from the show and talk about what was behind their creation. Tickets for the show are available now at http://tickets.millerauditorium.com/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=393

A great feature to check out before the show is ‘The Short List’ of some favorite This American Life episodes. Listen and enjoy:http://www.thisamericanlife.org/favorites

Once

We at Miller are quite excited to host Once the Musical on January 25th and 26th. Thomasina, our Office Coordinator and Bethany, our Marketing Specialist have both presented a little bit of background to Once the Musical and their experiences viewing the preview show in Chicago!


Thomasina on Once

So a few months back, June to be exact, I went on my first official preview trip to see Once the Musical in Chicago. I wasn’t planning on going, because usually when the opportunity arises to preview a show, it fills up pretty quickly as there are a limited amount of seats. In addition to that, I have three kids at home, so my schedule doesn’t always permit free time. However, after much nudging from my co-workers and spouse I was able to grab the last open spot.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, especially since I’ve never even heard of the production before. I knew there would be music but that was about it. Other than that I wasn’t aware of the storyline. There was one thing, though, that I was told that stuck out to me –  you could go on stage before and at intermission to get a beverage. Different, right? Well it was. And I’ll explain why in a moment.

But before I do, when we arrived in Chicago, before the matinee performance, we stopped to grab a bite to eat. Why is this important? Because after we walked over to the cupcake ATM. A cupcake ATM, people.

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Why aren’t these everywhere on every corner?!

Ok, back to Once.

When we stepped inside the Cadillac Palace auditorium, the musicians were already on stage jamming away. I’m talking, guitars, violins, drums, banjos and cellos. The sound was infectious and so very amazing. The moment we sat down, it felt like you were instantly transported from Chicago to Dublin directly inside a quaint, local pub.

Once Guy and Girl finally come into play, no pun intended, their chemistry instantly grabs a hold of your heart strings. And honestly, I’m still waiting for them to be released. Seeing the connection they had in combination with hearing the songs they had together, “Falling Slowly,” “If You Want Me” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” it’s easy to understand why you get so emotionally invested.

Once, the Musical is in a genre of its own. I mean, if you were to ask me to name a show that is similar to this, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Everything about it is unique, personal and intimate. The actors play their own instruments. The set is open. The stage is inviting. It truly is like nothing I’ve experienced with a stage production before.

If you are looking for a “new favorite” or this is your first time seeing a Broadway show, I recommend seeing Once. I’ve seen a few shows in the past and it’s like you’re a spectator, anxiously awaiting and watching everything unfold. However, with Once it’s like you are in the show and a part of the story. It is truly amazing how that one detail of being able to walk onstage eliminated the invisible wall down between the actors and the audience and created a sense of vulnerability for that Once moment. Where that one thing almost happened and it changed your life in a way you can never imagine or forget.

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Bethany on Once

Hiya, Once super fan here. Would just like to start by telling you that I received the Once movie and the Once original Broadway cast recording for Christmas. The cast recording has been in regular rotation at my house and in my car. My husband has been singing ‘Falling Slowly’ for weeks now and it is also the most requested song in my car.

I was fortunate enough to also see the Once tour in Chicago, along with Thomasina and the other Miller staff members. I knew a little about the show going in, but my full super fan-ness, didn’t take over until after the show, when I became a little obsessed. Not only am I excited to see the show live on the Miller stage, but I am excited to share this lovely show with the Kalamazoo community.

To give a little background, it all started with the 2007 movie, Once, which stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová and is definitely worth viewing. While the overall story is the same, the feel of the stage show is quite different. Hansard is an Irish singer songwriter and half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season with Irglová. Though I love the original film, Once the musical has a much more immersive feel. You get to know the supporting characters more. Since you’re there in the audience, and in the moment as they create beautiful music, you are caught up in the story and the lives of these characters.

Something that is unique to this musical is that not only does the cast have to be amazingly talented vocalists, but they have to be skilled musicians as well. They sing—and play—all the songs live on stage. Something I would definitely recommend watching, is this behind this scenes video of the original Broadway cast recording the soundtrack: https://youtu.be/KfeRdH4Q_sg. Such a beautiful song–and the original film version won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards for Hansard and Irglová.

We were very fortunate to preview the show in Chicago last year and after the show, we even had the opportunity, through one of our show representatives, to tour the stage and to talk about our Once engagement at Miller Auditorium. While we were backstage, we met the cast member who played Guy and even were able to exit via the stage door, where we were greeted by fans who quickly realized we were not Once cast members.

I am glad that we have such a unique and beautiful show as part of our Broadway season and I hope you enjoy Once as much as I did. And, if after the show, you start listening to the soundtrack on repeat, you are in good company.


You can purchase Once the Musical tickets here!