On Monday, October 18, beginning at 7 pm, Broadway Booker – a mobile-friendly website that allows you to book your favorite Broadway stars for both virtual and in-person events – is bringing some top-notch Broadway talent to the Birdland stage for a one-night-only must-see concert for fans of the current NYC theater scene. The roster of bookable Broadway stars features such luminaries as Kate Rockwell (Mean Girls), Teal Wicks (The Cher Show), Erika Henningsen (Mean Girls), Tally Sessions (Big Fish), Jackie Burns (Wicked), Kirstin Scott (Rock of Ages), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls), Justin Sargent (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Dee Roscioli (The Cher Show), Jennifer Apple (The Band’s Visit), Ryann Redmond (Frozen), and more, singing and celebrating the return of Broadway and the offerings of Broadway Booker.
Kate was kind enough (she’s really not a “mean girl” at all!) to make some time in her hectic schedule to give us a little more info on the upcoming show and the booking website.
Tell us a little about Broadway Booker and how you got involved.
Kate: So, Broadway Booker was started with the aim of making it simple and convenient to book a Broadway star to come perform at your event, like a birthday party or a retirement celebration or a corporate mixer. Before the company was created, trying to track down a singer for a party was really complicated – you had to find their individual agent or manager’s contact information and pray that your email went through, or you had to slide into their DMs on social media, so to speak. But now, Broadway Booker provides a centralized easy place to book a performer with just a few clicks.
In full disclosure, Broadway Booker is actually my husband’s company!! He [Spencer Howard] started it back in 2019, right before the pandemic. He was a performer himself before transitioning into the hospitality world, and he was baffled by how difficult it was to connect his current clients with performers that they wanted to hire for events. So he created the platform to make it simpler for people all over the country to connect directly with Broadway talent. Once live events became . . . challenging . . . because of COVID, he transitioned to offering virtual lessons, Q&As, and appearances via Zoom over the past nineteen months. Those are still available to book online, but now he’s so excited to be able to get back to offering live performance opportunities as well.
Can you give us a sneak peek at Monday night’s show and what you’ll be performing?
Without totally giving it away, I’d like to think of this concert as a big PARTY . . . that I’d really like to be the LIFE OF! But seriously, my costars and I are so excited to be back on stage TOGETHER again and in front of REAL LIVE PEOPLE, so it will feel like a big party!
How excited are you to be playing the legendary Birdland with a roster of some of Broadway’s other greatest young talents?
Birdland is one of those storied venues that comes with an aura of history and legend as soon as you walk in the doors. I’ve had the pleasure of performing on their stages before, and every time I feel like I’m a part of something much larger and more important than just the single event of that day. And the Birdland audience is so tuned in, so smart and so passionate about music, that I find myself really connected to them and excited to perform for them every time. I know many of my costars in this event have also performed on their stages pre-pandemic, and I know they’re all so excited to get back up there and feel that energy in the air again!
What’s the best thing about returning to the live stage?
The connection with other artists and a real audience, hands down. There’s an exchange of energy that happens between performer and viewer that is hard to describe but is also the exact reason people love live music and live theater – it’s a visceral experience that no digital content can match. I love live entertainment because it’s an experience shared with everyone there, and it cannot be replicated in its entirety ever again. There’s so much magic in that!
How important is it to you to continue doing virtual events?
I think virtual offerings will be available for a long time, and I think that’s a silver lining of the pandemic. We’ve found a way for people who don’t have the means or the time to travel to NYC or wherever for an event still to be able to participate and to feel connected. While I will ALWAYS prefer live performance and in-person connection, I think having the option of streaming shows or concerts is much better than having no option to be a part of something at all. I’ve gotten to see performances by my friends all over the country in the past year that even in the best of times I wouldn’t have been able to go see, and I think that’s fabulous.
Many thanks, Kate, for sharing your thoughts with our readers; looking forward to the show and its fabulous line-up!
Broadway Booker @ Birdland plays on Monday, October 18, at 7 pm, at Birdland Jazz Club, 315 West 44th Street, NYC. For in-person tickets (priced at $40; for a $10 discount, use the code BOOKER), call (212) 581-3080, or go online. There is an additional $20 food or drink minimum per person, and all patrons must show proof of vaccination or a verified medical exemption to enter. For livestream tickets on the Broadway Booker website (priced at $25), click here.