DEAF WEST, EAST — THE SPRING AWAKENING PANEL
We're here to tell you:
1. The set-up was on point.
The choreography of the panel was an intricate dance — not unlike the choreography on the stage at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Daniel N. Durant and Sandra Mae Frank sat alongside each other, then Krysta Rodriguez, Alex Boniello, Playbill's Michael Gioia, Kaite Boeck, Andy Mientus, Austin P. McKenzie, choreographer Spencer Liff and stage manager T.J. Kearney. On stage left: an interpreter facing the audience. Seated in front of the panel on a chair: an interpreter signing what the hearing panelists said. Kneeling next to her on mics (across from Durant and Frank): two other interpreters speaking aloud Durant and Frank's signs for the audience. It was a demonstration in inclusivity.
2. Two cast members in particular like to goof around in Krysta's dressing room.
Durant and Boniello have a lot of fun backstage. "I have a camera roll full of Daniel and Alex," joked Rodriguez. "There's a moment when most of us are onstage and they're not," she continued. "For months I'd come back into my dressing room and there would be photos of them goofing around on my phone…in the bathroom…playing with my makeup…or dubsmashing the scenes!"
A BRAND-NEW DAY: DIVERSITY ON BROADWAY
Andrew Shade led a panel discussing the great diversity we're seeing on the Broadway stage this season and the strides we need to take to keep it that way. "Actors of color have always existed," said one panelist. "Conservatories have been planning this for years. It's producers, directors and casting directors who need to catch up." They called on the requirement for theatre to reflect the American scene. Roberta Pereira said that she's now been asked to "try Hamilton casting...I just call that casting."
THE OFFICIAL BROADWAYCON 2016 OPENING CEREMONY
The musical breakdown:
The program promised dancing, singing, laughter, cameos and a lot of tomfoolery; what fans were treated to was a full-out, hour-long musical about the founding of the very convention they were attending.
1. The Opening Number of the Opening Number
Our lead Dani (played by Danyel Fulton) kicked things off with a re-worded rendition of Hairspray's"Good Morning, Baltimore" now and forevermore known as "Good Morning BroadwayCon." (Turns out it was her daydream during astrology class where there would be a convention for Broadway lovers just like her — but it doesn't exist!)
2. First Hamilton reference dropped at Con
Dani decides that she is going to create BroadwayCon and gathers her drama club buds in a planning session, cue "The Room Where It Happened,” now “The Con Where It Happened."
3. There was a "Google Hangout" with the If/Then foursome.
Whilst doing their research on how to put on a "BroadwayCon," the teens find a single Google link in their search. They click on the link and it connects them with the one-and-only Anthony Rapp. He's been sitting there in the Google Hangout all these years waiting for someone to click on his link. He happened to be joined by Idina Menzel. And James Snyder. And LaChanze. #brainexplosion
HISTORY IS HAPPENING IN MANHATTAN: THE HAMILTON PANEL
All Hamilfans must know:
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda keeps the entire cast on their toes — all the time
At 15 minutes to curtain, Miranda can be seen trotting his iPod from dressing room to dressing room with his speakers blaring a beat challenging his castmates to cypher at his request.
2. Phillipa Soo can beatbox (and you need to be careful operating closed-captioning)
Moderator Blake Ross asked the panel (aside from Miranda, Jackson and Diggs) if they had ever rapped before Hamilton. The closed-captioning typist accidentally transcribed "have you ever raped before" — which was quickly rectified. Of course, the natural flowup was an impromptu rap from Miranda with beats by Soo....
10,514,880 MINUTES: HOW DO YOU MEASURE 20 YEARS OF RENT?
Bet you didn't know that:
. Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin and Idina Menzel went to a strip club during rehearsals...for research.
2. Jesse L. Martin couldn't be here, but his birthday was recently. So, naturally, Daphne Rubin-Vega FaceTimed him. Note: Jesse answers FaceTimes from Daphne.