At BroadwayCon, Diversity in Theater Takes Center Stage

It’s the most musical time of the year, the weekend when thousands of fans from around the world descend on Midtown Manhattan for costume contests, Playbill swaps and theater idol meet-and-greets.

This year’s BroadwayCon, which takes place July 21-23 at the Marriott Marquis hotel, gives fans the chance to preview new Broadway shows like the “Back to the Future” musical and the “Jaws” comedy “The Shark Is Broken,” catch up with original cast members from the not-exactly-family-friendly puppet musical “Avenue Q” and the storied rock opera “The Who’s Tommy.”

The schedule also features thoughtful panels, many focused on issues of representation on Broadway, such as a planned discussion on roles for disabled actors, featuring the “Cost of Living” Tony Award nominee Katy Sullivan.

Here are six you won’t want to miss.

Celebrating Female and Nonbinary Voices

A group of female and nonbinary songwriters, among them Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning co-writer of Disney’s “Frozen” (both the film and Broadway musical) and “Remember Me” from Pixar’s “Coco,” will spotlight recent achievements by female, nonbinary and gender-expansive composers and lyricists and discuss how the industry might open more doors to them.

“Spotlight on Women and Nonbinary Musical Theater Writers,” Friday, 10 a.m.

Diversifying Stages

A panel of playwrights, composers and actors of color will discuss how to bring more work to Broadway that represents perspectives from beyond white American culture. Among them will be Jordan E. Cooper, who was recently nominated for two Tonys for writing and starring in the biting race comedy “Ain’t No Mo’” on Broadway; Helen Park, the first Asian female composer on Broadway, who earned a Tony nomination for “KPOP”; and Kristoffer Diaz, whose new musical, “Hell’s Kitchen,” written with the singer Alicia Keys, is slated to open at the Public Theater in November.

“What Is the Future of Broadway? A Dream Session with Global Majority Playwrights and Musical Theater Writers,” Friday, 11:15 a.m.

Restaging Problematic Classics

A panel of directors, writers and producers will discuss how to revive musicals like “Miss Saigon,” “South Pacific” and “The King and I” with troublesome structural or political elements (or both). Participants will include Lear deBessonet, the artistic director of Encores!, a longstanding, popular New York City Center series that stages short-run productions of decades-old musicals, and Schele Williams, who is directing the upcoming Broadway revival of“The Wiz.”

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