Greetings from New York City! Welcome to our first dispatch from the Broadway League’s Spring Road Conference, a yearly event designed to show off the latest and greatest titles on Broadway.
Along with hundreds of representatives from other performing arts centers around the country, we make the pilgrimage here every year to check out the shows before they go on tour, to decide whether we should bring them to Bass Hall. We also like to talk shop/catch up with our industry counterparts.
The talk of this year’s conference is, of course, Hamilton. Tickets are very scarce, even for those in the Broadway industry. Because she’s a Tony-voter, our President & CEO Dione Kennedy is seeing the show this week, along with Jason Wise, our Director of Marketing and Sponsorships. The rest of us are entering the Hamilton lottery and crossing our fingers.
If we don’t get to see it, we’ll be fine because on Monday we were treated to the next best thing: ringside seats to a Hamilton creative conversation hosted by none other than Anderson Cooper. Many of the principle cast and creative team members took part, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs and others. The interview will air on Friday on Sirius’ Broadway station.
On Tuesday, conference-goers were treated to more special guest appearances. Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange popped by to promote her new show, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Seth Williams interviewed NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt about the burgeoning popularity of live TV musicals. Cynthia Erivo and Danielle Brooks swung by to talk up their new show, a revival of The Color Purple. And Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen hosted a creative conversation for The Humans with stars Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell, director Joe Mantello and writer Stephen Karam.
Then of course we’re seeing shows all week. Monday night we saw School of Rock, based on the Jack Black film of the same name, about a struggling musician who steals his way into the hearts of a rockin’ group of school kids. The cast was fantastic, especially the children, whose choreographed dance moves were reminiscent of Matilda. Matter of fact, we thought of it as Matilda with guitars.
This week, our team will divide and conquer to see several more shows, including Waitress, On Your Feet!, Something Rotten!, She Loves Me, Aladdin, Bright Star and many others. We’ll send more updates – and wish us luck with the Hamilton lottery!