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Some changes are going down here at Elsie Cast Central.

About two months ago, I found out I was being laid off at my job. Our department’s budget had been cut, and I was the last person hired. There was a moment of personal discomfort, followed by a lot of anger on behalf of my co-workers who now have to take over the work that I was doing and on behalf of the students I worked with who will be less well-served because my co-workers won’t have the time to do everything I was doing. Then I set about looking for another job.

And the job I found is a dream job.

I enjoyed the job I had before, I really did. But I wasn’t particularly interested in it. I mean, I believed in what I was doing, and I genuinely cared about my students and making sure they had what they needed. But as much as I admire and value the work that they do, I don’t understand it. It’s advanced biochemistry–figuring out the mechanisms by which genes work inside animal cells–and just way beyond my training, if not my intelligence.

So that worked out well for Elsie Cast. I did my job and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t taking up a whole lot of psychic energy. The real satisfaction came from what I was doing here.

Now, though, I’ve got a job using all the skills I learned at my previous job, plus all the skills I learned at the job before that one, and it’s in the area of reproductive health, which is something that I’m really interested in. And then Justice Kennedy retired. So now, not only am I really interested in my job in a very satisfying (and tiring) way, but it feels really important to be engaged in that area. Like, if we don’t keep up this fight, women will die because they can’t get access to necessary care.

As I saw Elsie Fest season approaching (I’m expecting an announcement the week of July 23rd, based on past experience) I wasn’t feeling happy and excited like I was last year. I was feeling anxious and stressed. I couldn’t see how I would keep up with the Elsie Fest news and do a good job at work. And doing a good job at work feels WAY more important. Not just because it’s my job and they pay me and I take pride in what I do, like at my previous job, but because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT. So I asked if anyone wanted to help me with my twitter.

Bre stepped up right away. And I like Bre. She seems dedicated to her love of Darren. She’s young and energetic, and from what I’ve been able to tell, she seems trustworthy. But I felt awful about giving her my Twitter. Just miserable. After a few days, I realized why. @Elsiepod, like the podcast, is me. It’s not all of me–I try to keep it just to musicals as much as I can–but it’s me. I have friends. There are convos in my DMs that people probably don’t want me to share. When you see a tweet from @elsiepod, you know it’s from me. And it was one thing having JoAnna help with RTs during Elsie Fest last year–it’s quite another to have someone actively tweeting all the time. It didn’t feel right.

So I kept wrestling with what to do. And here’s what I came up with. I’m going to move my Elsie Fest news over here. I have the blog set to tweet every time I post anyway. And Bre is going to help out on the blog, under her own name. You can see her introduction post here.  So if I’m too busy at work to post a link to Darren’s Elsie Fest announcement, Bre will be able to do that for you. And who knows? Maybe she’ll get inspired and write some great posts on why she loves Glee or what’s her favorite Broadway show or something else that will be great for all of us to read–I’m giving her freedom to do what she wants under her own name as long as it’s related to the topic at hand. Once we start the FAQ for this year’s Elsie Fest, Bre and I will work together to keep it updated and useful for you. And once Elsie Fest is over, Bre and I will discuss where we want this to go, if she wants to stay on and do regular posts, or she wants to do other things and come back next year at this time, or what. We’ll let you know in November or so about that.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the podcast. For now, I’m reducing it from every two weeks to once per month. I’ve got two more interviews scheduled now, hopefully, and then I’ll decide what I want to do after that.

So that’s the plan for now. Subscribe to this blog if you want to be kept up to date on the latest Elsie Fest news, which Bre and I will gather from the many places the producers leave it and try to digest into something coherent and useful for people. If you want to help with the blog, you can reach out to me here or on Twitter or at elsiefestpodcast@gmail.com.

And then we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll miss doing the podcast every two weeks and go back to it. Maybe I’ll find I don’t miss it at all and I’ll end it, or at least go on hiatus until I get inspired again. Maybe once per month will be just perfect. Most of all, though, I don’t want to lose the community that’s formed around this podcast/Twitter/blog. So let me know how you feel about all this, and what you want from me, and what you like and what you miss. I’m not saying I’ll feel obligated to give you what you want, but I can’t even consider it unless you tell me what that is. My impression is that last year’s FAQ is the most useful thing I’ve ever made, so I’m making that the priority for now. If I’m wrong, tell me.

But the last two years have been really fun, so thanks for listening, and above all, Make More Art!

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Official Broadwaycon Photos

If you want to hear the Sounds of Broadwaycon episode, you can do that here, or scroll down to the next post. I promised to post my official photos, though, so here you go.

Liz Callaway Bwaycon 2018

Elsie 2016 alum Liz Callaway

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Donna Lynne Champlin

Anthony Rapp Bwaycon 2018

Anthony Rapp and some guy wearing a cool shirt.

Anthony Rosenthal Brodwaycon 2018

Anthony Rosenthal

If you love any of the shirts Dan and I are wearing, you can get them in my shop.

FAQ

Your one stop shop for all Elsie Fest 2017 questions. That I can answer. I’m still just a fan and don’t have inside information, but I do pay attention, and I will update this as frequently as I can (given that I have a day job and a family and stuff) to try and set everyone’s mind at ease and make sure we have the best possible information. If you have additional questions, please ask in the comments or tweet them to me @elsiepod. Here we go:


Is Elsie Fest still happening in light of the shooting at Mandalay Bay on October 1st?

As of now, there has been no statement from Elsie Fest, and it appears the event is still happening. New York City has been on heightened alert (Yellow) since June, and bags are checked at all venues including Broadway theaters. Expect any bag you bring to Elsie Fest to be searched on entry.

At this time, I don’t know of any special security measures being taken, but I will post here if I hear of any.


1. When is Elsie Fest this year?

October 8, 2017, with a currently published time of 5-10PM. (That’s doors at 5, concert 6-10.)

Meet and Greet lineups will start at around 2:30pm. For more info on M&G, see #6.

2. Where is Elsie Fest this year?

Summerstage, Central Park, New York City

3. Where do I buy tickets?

Tickets are available via Ticketfly. You can link to Ticketfly via the Elsie Fest website.

4. How much will tickets cost me?

General Admission is $59.99

Bleacher Pass is $84.99 Bleacher Passes are SOLD OUT (But some people are re-selling theirs if they can’t go. I’ve been posting the ones I find on my Facebook page.)

Fees are $9.27 per ticket on Ticketfly.

5. Are there seats at the venue?

There are some. Summerstage is primarily a lawn seating venue, which means everybody brings a blanket and finds a seat on the ground. There are bleachers, but the passes for them are sold out. There are no assigned seats at Elsie Fest this year. A Bleacher pass allows you to enter the bleacher section and guarantees you a seat. It’s open seating.)

Here’s a Google Street View of the venue.

I have arthritis/use a wheelchair/just can’t sit on the ground. What do I do?

I wish I had a good answer here. Hopefully, Elsie Fest and/or Summerstage will be forthcoming about this information when tickets actually go on sale. If they are not, my best advice is to ask for what you need. Reach out to Elsie Fest and Summerstage and say that you need a seat (or a place you can see from your wheelchair) (or whatever accommodation you may need) and ask what they will do to accommodate you. Under the ADA, they have to accommodate you if you have a medical need.*

You can reach out to Elsie Fest at info@elsiefest.com.

I’m told you can also get info by reaching out to Summerstage directly. @SummerStage on Twitter or info@cityparksfoundation.org.

6. Will there be VIP?

There is no VIP seating.

Meet & Greet with Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, Alan Cumming, and Auli’i Cravalho went on sale Tuesday, October 3 at 5pm here. $100 each. Darren Criss M&G sold out in under 2 minutes. The rest are still available as of this update. The following information/clarification comes from @ElsieFest on Twitter.

  • This is an upgrade. You must already have a ticket to Elsie Fest to use it. The price does not include admission.
  • Pricing is for one person per photo.
  • This is the only M&G option. There will be no 5 min meetings or rehearsal package this year.
  • If you purchase M&G for more than one artist, you will be able to do both (or all of them.) Exact words were “We will make it work.”
  • M&G will take place before the show. According to an email from Elsie Fest, lineups for M&G will start at “about 2:30.”
  • “If you are with a parent, they may come, but only one person gets the photo and merch package.” (email from Elsie Fest, 10/3/17)

Lea Michele meet and greet went on sale the day Elsie Fest was announced. As of 9/5/17, Lea Michele M&G is sold out.

7. Who will be performing?

Announced performers are:

Darren Criss, Lea Michele, Alan Cumming

Special Guests: Ingrid Michaelson, Norm Lewis, Jeremy Jordan, & Auli’i Cravalho

More guests TBA!

What? No Computer Games?!

I know. I thought so, too.

8. Will I be able to meet Darren Criss at Elsie Fest?

Probably not, unless you have a M&G ticket. Tickets for Darren’s M&G sold out in under 2 minutes.

9. Can I bring a dog to Elsie Fest?

Sadly, no.

10. I heard some other people were going to be at Elsie Fest. Are they maybe some of the “More Guests TBA?”

Maybe. But I wouldn’t buy tickets based on that thought. You never know who might show up at Elsie Fest–there have been unannounced surprise guests both years. But if you’re buying a ticket because you hope that a rumored guest will show up, you will probably be disappointed.

Falsely rumored guests include Audra McDonald, Dove Cameron, and Corey Cott. As far as I know, none of them will be performing at Elsie Fest this year.

Another rumor has cropped up: Brendan Urie. This was based on a tweet from @ElsieFest inviting him to perform. As far as I know, it was just something thrown out there by whomever was on the account at the time and there’s no reason to think Brendan even saw it. Don’t buy tickets based on this rumor.

On the other hand, Auli’i Cravalho was part of the original rumor, and that has proven true. I still wouldn’t buy tickets based on anything other than the official list, though.

11. Is Elsie Fest going to sell out?

It might. There’s no way to know how many tickets have been sold. However, the venue is large, and a sell-out would mean probably a 50% increase in audience over last year. Given increased advertising, more prominent guests, and a better location and date, it’s possible this will happen, but probably not before your next paycheck arrives.

12. When will additional guests be announced?

You never know. While I have no way of knowing who has been invited or what kind of negotiations are going on behind the scenes, they have made it clear that Darren is the person who arranges the talent at Elsie Fest. Darren is currently shooting American Crime Story, promoting for both Computer Games and Elsie Fest, and he has other commitments. So there’s no way we fans can predict his schedule.

There will be more guests. Some will be announced before Elsie Fest, others will be surprise guests (if the past two years are a guide.) Buy tickets based on what’s announced, don’t get your hopes up, and enjoy watching it unfold.

13. I have nobody to sit with at Elsie Fest. May I sit with you?

Of course! Look for the yellow blankets. I’ll be sitting on these and also wearing my yellow Elsie Cast t-shirt, so I should be easy to find. Kristine from Darren Army will be with me, along with some other folks you may recognize from the Darren fandom on Twitter, as well as my husband and the Kid (who gets asked about surprisingly often.)

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We’ll be the ones sitting on these blankets. I made them myself!

I’ll be passing out stickers and trying to interview as many fans as I can during the day. I’ll also be getting contact info for people who have good Elsie Fest stories and want to do a full episode interview. And all strays are welcome to hang out with us.

Also, regarding the Kid–I encourage you to come up and talk to me and I’m happy to introduce you to her if she’s up for it. However, she is a) a teenager, who’s not that into her mom’s fandom, and b) not an adult, so please don’t take her picture. First, she’s not a fan of her picture being taken, and second, she deserves some privacy. She just wants to enjoy some Ingrid Michaelson, Jeremy Jordan, and Lea Michele.

14. I wish there was a way to get familiar with the music of all of these artists before Elsie Fest.

I made myself a Spotify playlist for that purpose that I’m happy to share. It’s over 11 hours of music by all the announced artists. I listen to it on random, like a radio station, though there are entire albums in there that might be fun to listen to in order. Enjoy!

On Sunday, October 1, Elsie Fest published an official Spotify playlist, which you can find here.

15. I was hoping to take pictures/video at Elsie Fest, but the website for Summerstage says no cameras are allowed! What do I do?

The official policy says “Professional gear including video cameras or cameras with lens 100mm and over are not permitted.” Your phone or digital camera should be fine. They don’t want people taking professional-quality photos so that they can keep control of publicity.

16. Can I bring food and/or a water bottle?

Yes, on water, food is questionable (click the link and read the rule for yourself) but no coolers or alcohol. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and food are sold within the venue. There is also a water fountain to refill your water bottle. (Much better than last year. I think I spent $60 just on water for me and my kid.)

17. How do I get to Summerstage?

Summerstage is in Central Park at East 72nd Street. The closest subway is the 6 train at 68th street, or you can take the C train to 72nd Street on the West Side and walk across the park. Here’s a handy guide from TripSavvy that’s for the free concerts, but a lot of the info applies also to Elsie Fest.


*I’m sure I don’t have to say this, because Elsie Fest fans are awesome, but please don’t abuse this. People with disabilities actually need accommodations, and I want to live in a world where they get them with minimal fuss. When people abuse these policies, everyone’s life gets worse. So advocate for yourself if you need it, and everyone else, just sit on the damn ground or don’t come.

Last update: October 4 at 10:00am Eastern

23: Mardie Baldo, Gleek Goddess

First up: news!

You all know by now that Julie James will be on the podcast July 31st. Well, we already did the interview, and Julie texted Darren for us to get an Elsie update. He was cagey, of course, but he said they have a date and location and they’ll be announcing as soon as the lineup is finalized.

To which my reply is, as always, “Please just give us a date!!!” People want to book flights and hotels and otherwise plan their Septembers. You can release a Save the Date without having the lineup finalized. We, the fans of Elsie Fest, would really like that!

Listen to the episode here: https://elsiecast.podbean.com/e/23-mardie-baldo-gleek-goddess/

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There is a great story behind this picture.

My guest is Mardie Baldo, long time fangirl and enthusiastic Glee/Harry Potter/Darren Criss/Star Kid/Broadway/Computer Games fan. (Also if a Glee alum is in a thing, she probably likes that, too.) Mardie tells me how she got into loving musicals and into fandom, how she discovered Darren, and her beautiful story of meeting Darren a few times and how that helped her husband through his last days.

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Mardie with her husband, Jim, and some other guy

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Mardie is holding the photo collage she made to remember Jim’s time with Darren.

Then we chat about Mardie’s dream cast for the next Elsie Fest, and wonder who will be the first Glee alum to make it to Elsie.

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Mardie Baldo and Todrick Hall

All that, plus my reviews of Matthew McConaghey vs. the Devil and Come From Away.


Coming up on the podcast:

July 31: Julie James

August 13: Joaquin Sedillo, AD for Glee

August 27: Getting Ready for Elsie Fest