Broadway or Bust: Bass Hall in NYC

Cat scratch fever in NYC.

The Performing Arts Fort Worth marketing team recently returned from a Broadway conference in NY, where they checked out the latest and greatest shows on Broadway. Here’s a recap!

Hello, New York!

Goodbye, New York!

The yearly trips taken by the Performing Arts Fort Worth marketing staff – that’s us! – to the Great White Way always go by so fast. Seems like the second we’re getting off the plane, we’re getting right back on it, waving goodbye to our friends and colleagues, who gather in New York this time of year, every year, for the annual Broadway League Spring Road Conference.

The four-day event, held last month at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square, brings together Broadway industry movers and shakers, from show producers to show presenters, marketing teams and techies, to everything in between. During the day, there are industry-related panels and workshops, “creative conversations” with stars of current Broadway shows and lots and lots of special guests; at night, there are parties and shows.

Oh, that’s just Bette Midler. NO BIGGIE.

The highlight of this year’s conference was undoubtedly running into, literally, the one and only Bette Midler, who appeared at a late night party to promote her current Broadway show, Hello, Dolly, which is up for a whopping 10 Tony Awards. Performing Arts Fort Worth digital marketing manager Kaylee Wise was the one whose presence was graced by the almighty icon: “When she breezed by, our hands grazed,” Kaylee said. “It’s fine, I’m not freaking out.”

Whatever. Breathe, Kaylee, breathe.

Film/TV actress and comedian Tina Fey also made an appearance, to host a Q & A session with the cast and creative team behind Dear Evan Hansen, the critically-acclaimed new musical that many are predicting will win this year’s Tony Award for Best Musical (the show is up for a total of nine Tonys).

Tina Fey interviews the cast and creative team of Dear Evan Hansen. Far right is lead actor Ben Platt, who stars as Evan Hansen. 

Other special guests and speakers included hip-hop legend Russell Simmons, English songwriter Tim Minchin and singer-songwriters Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles.

And then there were the shows. SO, MANY, SHOWS. We’re hoping to bring some of them to Bass Hall in future Broadway at the Bass seasons.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A great show for kids.

We’re definitely excited about the possibility of Dear Evan Hansen coming to Fort Worth. It’s a wonderful, touching show about a high school student and his little white lie that spirals out of control. A revival of Miss Saigon was absolutely stunning. Cats, a Fort Worth favorite, looked and sounded as good as ever. And kids are going to adore Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Anastasia.

Come From Away was a moving piece about humanity. Based on actual events, it tells the story about how a small town in Newfoundland took in 7,000 stranded passengers on 9/11 and the events that unfolded in the days after when cultures clashed and nerves ran high. One of the featured characters is retired American Airlines Captain Beverley Bass, a TCU graduate and Fort Worth native.

Fans of the movie Groundhog Day will love the new musical adaptation. The show features a rollicking score by aforementioned Tim Minchin (same composer for Matilda) and Andy Karl delivers a powerful performance as TV weatherman Phil Connors.

Waitress was a fun, sweet and sometimes raunchy romp about a diner waitress who desperately wants to change her life. It reminded us of the old sitcom Alice. We felt so lucky to see Sara Bareilles in the lead role (she also wrote the show’s music and is only in the show for a limited time). The touring version of Waitress is part of our upcoming 2017-2018 Broadway at the Bass season.

We look forward to bringing some of these shows to Bass Hall. See you at the theater!

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– text by Jason Wise and Malcolm Mayhew; photos by Kaylee Wise and Malcolm Mayhew/Performing Arts Fort Worth

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