BroadwayCon is a three-day fan convention for the Broadway and theater community held in New York City. The convention was started in 2016 by the original members of the cast of RENT. It has since become an annual meeting for directors, producers, actors, musicians, dancers, and more to attend panels and workshops, meet cast members, and share their appreciation for theater.
This year’s event took place from January 11 to 13, 2019. Students Penzi Hill ’20 and Katie Kendrick ’20 volunteered during the event and were able to attend panels, assist in autograph and photograph booths, and photograph contestants in the BroadwayCon cosplay contest.
One of the panels Penzi and Katie attended was about the intersection of mental health and acting. They also attended a panel that discussed the intersection between the African American identity and theater.
“The panel was incredibly meaningful for me as an African American actress, and I found such a sense of community among the others in the room,” said Penzi. “My favorite memory of the convention was getting the chance to talk to and relate to the actors on the panel, and listening to the valuable advice they gave me as I start my own journey into the theater business. It was so important for me to hear from people whom I admired and respected in the industry.”
Fans were clamoring to meet their favorite Broadway actors and influencers at the event throughout the weekend. While managing the lines at the autograph and photograph booths, Penzi and Katie got to know the other volunteers who recounted vivid stories of working in theaters in Chicago and Philadelphia, and the people they had met in the industry over the years. They both found the event a positive experience that allowed them to experience the theater community in a new way.
“I would not have the passion for theatre I have without the support of my teachers here at GS, especially Mo West, Kevin Davis, and my advisor Tom Hoopes,” said Penzi. “These teachers have helped me with everything from consults about possible theater college paths, or offering to coach a monologue I had needed to perform for a particular competition. They have offered me kind words and encouragement when needed and are always available if I need help. The theater class at GS has also given me the outlet to discover my own creative path.”