We’ve just returned from The Broadway League’s annual Spring Road Conference in New York – a fun and informative (and exhausting!) conference made up of panels, workshops and creative conversations during the day and parties and shows at night, all night.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it’s sort of the South by Southwest for the Broadway industry, a time when Broadway presenters (like us, at Performing Arts Fort Worth), producers, press agents, marketing reps, show cast members and other Broadway insiders come together to listen, learn and share.
Show producers also use the conference as a loudspeaker to announce new tours, often extravagantly, in hopes that presenters will book the tours into their venues.
The most impressive tour announcement at this year’s conference came from ROCKY – yes, the 1976 Oscar-winning film has been made into a Broadway show, starring Andy Karl as boxer Rocky Balboa and Margot Seibert as Rocky’s wife, Adrian.
Both appeared at the announcement party, as did Sylvester Stallone, who spoke at length about the show (the star of the Rocky film franchise co-wrote and produced the Broadway version). What made the announcement so memorable: All the stunning visuals. The show emulates the first movie to a T, down to the glitziness of the boxing match; conference attendees were given a generous sneak peek of the show’s biggest eye candy moments.
Several other celebrities made appearances to promote shows or simply show their support for live theater. The Daily Show host Jon Stewart dropped by on opening day. “What you’ve done for the past 25 years has changed the industry for the better,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what you do in the next 25.”
Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington took part in a creative conversation about his current play, A RAISIN THE SUN. Former Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston briefly spoke about his role as LBJ in his new play, ALL THE WAY. We heard lots of giddy squealing when Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel took the stage to chat about her new musical, IF/THEN. And Neil Patrick Harris received standing-O after standing-O when he popped on stage to talk about playing the lead in HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH.
We saw – and loved – many of these shows, and several others. Among our favorites: CINDERELLA, a great title for kids that’s smart and funny enough to entertain adults; the music-driven love story ONCE; the hysterical A GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER; the fun musical romp BULLETS OVER BROADWAY; and, finally, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, which may have been our absolute favorite show, thanks to stellar performances by Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale and Hunter Foster. The show took its final bow on Broadway today but it is slated to hit the road; sure hope we can get it.
Speaking of shows we’d love to see here, we’re getting ready to announce our 2014-2015 Broadway at the Bass season! Keep an eye on your email and our Facebook page to get the lowdown on all the spectacular titles we have coming up. You can experience the best of Broadway, right here in Fort Worth!