Sure, you probably know the latest pop, country, rap, or R&B artists, but did you hear about the new cast members in The Band’s Visit!? I didn’t think so. There is a whole world of Broadway superfans that goes unnoticed by the public eye. When I was told to write this post on whatever I wanted, I decided to do something hip and cool… Musical Theater!!! Yes, I will be answering your pressing broadway questions such as “why would anyone willingly listen to showtunes?” or “who is Alexander Hamilton, and why do people keep talking about him?”The broadway community is a tight knit family where you will be found, love is blind, you can defy gravity and all that jazz Click To Tweet
The broadway community is a tight knit family where you will be found, love is blind, you can defy gravity and all that jazz… but if you don’t like it, you can always turn it off (like a light switch). With Music in general having the highest amount of superfans, it’s not surprising that people who love broadway REALLY love broadway. Not everyone… (who am I kidding?), most people wouldn’t call themselves broadway superfans but I am proud to call myself one. Ever since I saw my first show, Beauty and the Beast, I have been in love with Broadway and everything that comes with it. I, like other teen superfans, know every word to an embarrassing amount of musicals and could perform my favorite shows for you as each character. Whenever I listen to music, it is from musical theater 95% of the time and other superfans could say the same.With Music in general having the highest amount of superfans, it's not surprising that people who love broadway REALLY love broadway. Click To Tweet
Broadway and Social Media
There is a very strong online community of teenagers online who come from all different places and cultures but connect through a shared love of musical theater. On Instagram, there is an abundance of broadway accounts where all of their content relates to theater. They post professionally filmed clips from musicals (almost like trailers), as well as pictures, quotes, questions, or opinions from shows. The accounts are also pretty interactive, where you can direct message them about questions or suggestions about content. Some accounts will get creative and post things such as “Broadway March Madness” on their story where followers can vote on their favorite songs each week. Some accounts such as @Broadway.4me will have “Instagram Takeovers” where they will have someone working on a show takeover their account’s story and take the followers through their day as well as answer fan questions. Typically the account owner will invite someone to do a takeover on their story and it could be anyone from the actor who plays The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, to an ensemble member from the touring production of Waitress, to the wardrobe assistant on School of Rock The Musical. Sometimes takeovers have even been from shows on West End (the broadway of London).
When the wardrobe assistant on School of Rock The Musical did an account takeover, I started following their personal account and direct messaged them a question about a career in costume design and received a long reply suggesting internships and opportunities for me. Some shows even give away things like used show props or signed merchandise to fans. Over the summer I was randomly selected and won a signed Playbill from the entire cast of School of Rock The Musical on broadway the day before they closed.
I have even been a part of an Instagram group chat with around 15 other teens across the world from places like Canada, Australia, and England. The owner of a huge Broadway account asked followers if they would be interested in being a part of the group chat. I had already talked to the account owner earlier about a shared acquaintance so they added me to the group chat. None of us knew each other, but we all shared the love of broadway and we messaged each other when we were about to buy tickets, had just seen a show, or wanted to hear opinions on the Tony Award winners.
Listening to the Music
Musical Theater is special in a few different ways, a few meaning 525,600. The songs can tell a story, and build up characters’ thoughts and emotions in a unique way. People may not be aware how many musicals are out there, ranging in all different styles, music genres, on and off broadway… mamma mia! There are musicals like Bright Star, by Steve Martin, which is made up entirely of bluegrass music, or In the Heights, by Lin Manuel Miranda which has Latin hip hop tunes. There is something for everyone when it comes to musical theater, whether it is the genre of music presented in the show or the message being conveyed.Musical Theater is special...the songs can tell a story, and build up characters’ thoughts and emotions in a unique way. Click To Tweet
Hamilton. No matter how much you say you don’t know about musical theater, I know you have heard the name. Hamilton is the gateway to a whole world of musical theater. Hamilton did something interesting by bringing a modern style of music into a broadway musical which brought in an entirely new market of theater goers. I would say that Hamilton is the most popular and loved soundtrack from the broadway scene with Generation Z.Teens can get so engaged in musicals is because they can be so relatable. Click To Tweet
Another reason why teens can get so engaged in musicals is because they can be so relatable. Shows like Dear Evan Hansen display the more vulnerable side of teenagers, who are just longing to fit in and feel a sense of belonging. Another example is Spring Awakening, which shows teens, growing, learning and attempting to figure out who they are. Be More Chill portrays teenagers who discover that they don’t have to pretend to be someone else to be accepted. Countless other shows can make teenagers feel understood. While a lot of these contemporary musicals are well loved, lots of GenZ broadway-heads still obsess over the classics like Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, A Chorus Line, or Oklahoma.
How to Broadway
A really cool thing that few people know about is the backstage door. After every show, many actors and actresses will come out and sign programs, take pictures, and meet fans. The actors are obviously not paid to be doing this but they do it for the devoted fans that come out to see them every night. When I go to the backstage door after a show I always see lots of other teens and we take pictures for each other with the actors/actresses. I have even met girls my age who had seen shows in NYC the same nights as me and we all still keep in contact today.
Your city or town might have a Tony Awards event.
Your city or town might have a Tony Awards event. Here in Charlotte, there is an annual Tony Viewing party in June at a small theater downtown where they pull down a movie screen. It is free to attend and you are able to sit and watch the Tonys live with your fellow theater enthusiasts, enter merchandise raffles, and even take your picture with a real Tony award on a red carpet. Even at this event I see a plethora of teenagers.
Broadway is meant for anyone to enjoy and there really is something for everyone with such a wide variety of shows. Even though it may go unnoticed , there is a very thriving and alive community of teenagers who have a passion for this incredible art form.