Today Jason Wise, Performing Arts Fort Worth’s Director of Programming, Communications & Sales, reports back from New York, where he has spent the past several days attending the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals convention (and, of course, seeing some Broadway shows). Take it away, Jason!
Greetings from New York! Every year, representatives from performing arts centers and organizations from around the globe descend upon New York for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) convention. The five-day event features workshops, artist showcases and panels that cover a wide range of entertainment industry-related topics.
This is the time and place where entertainment agents pitch us their talent – be it a national touring Broadway show, a classical performer, a country music act or a legendary rock star. People wonder how we go about booking the acts at Bass Performance Hall. Many of those bookings start at this convention.
I equate these meetings with talent agents to speed dating. Over the course of several days, I meet with dozens of agents, in rapid-fire meetings that take no longer than 15 minutes, one right after the other. It’s exhausting but a lot of fun!
The convention is often a star-studded event. Many artists make special cameos. Among the biggest stars to pop by this year’s convention was Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, who closed this year’s conference with a witty, uplifting and heartwarming speech, as well as a fun Q/A session with audience members, in which she asked the questions.
Since the convention mostly takes place during the day, evenings are free. So, of course, I caught some of Broadway’s hot new shows, including Torch Song and Pretty Woman: The Musical.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Pretty Woman, which is based on the iconic film of the same name. It stars Samantha Barks, who played Éponine in the film adaptation of Les Misérables, and Tony Award nominee Andy Karl. Rocker Bryan Adams teamed up with his longtime songwriting partner Jim Vallance to create a foot-tapping score.
The critically-acclaimed hit play Torch Song lived up to all of its accolades. Written by Broadway veteran Harvey Fierstein, the show follows the life of Arnold Beckoff and his pursuit to find love in New York. Of course, that’s easier said than done. The show features Drama Desk award-winner (and Texas native) Michael Urie and Academy- and Tony Award-winner Mercedes Ruehl.
I’ll be back in New York this spring for the Broadway League’s annual Spring Road Conference. Til’ then, New York!