The Broadway League’s Spring Road Conference kicked off its daytime sessions yesterday in royal style. We’re talking a visit from Queen Elizabeth II herself, Helen Mirren.
“You always remember a theater performance,” said Mirren, who currently plays Queen Elizabeth II in the Broadway play The Audience “Even if it’s terrible.”
Mirren was just one of many celebrity guest speakers yesterday at the annual Broadway conference. She was followed by the fantastic four from Finding Neverland, a musical tracing the origins of the Peter Pan story. Famed Broadway producer Harvey Weinstein, popular dance choreographer Mia Michaels and actors Laura Michele Kelly, who originated the role of Mary Poppins on Broadway, and Matthew Morrison, best known for his role on Glee, all took the stage for a lively fireside chat.
They weren’t the only ones to receive standing O’s. Grammy and Tony-winner Lin-Manual Miranda brought down the house with his fiery and funny talk about his new show, Hamilton, a hip-hop musical about the life of Andrew Hamilton.
Carey Mulligan, Matthew Beard and Bill Nighy were among the cast and creatives who took part in a discussion of their current play Skylight, which is up for seven play-related Tony Awards, including Best Revival, Best Actress for Mulligan and Best Actor for Nighy.
At lunch, we were treated to a special performance from the cast of the hysterical Something Rotten!, a musical comedy up for 10 Tony Awards.
Finally, two of our own graced the stage of the Hudson Theatre, where the conference is taking place. Performing Arts Fort Worth President & CEO Dione Kennedy moderated an energetic panel about patron loyalty programs.
And big congratulations are in order for Dallas Summer Musicals Marketing Director Paulette Hopkins, who was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Road Marketing during the conference’s annual awards ceremony. Holly Reeves, a longtime DSM board member and fundraiser, received a Star of Touring Broadway Award. Congrats, DSM!
We saw several shows last night and we’ll share our thoughts on them in tomorrow’s blog post!