Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

BroadwayCon 2016’s ‘Insiders, Outsiders, and Masked Avengers: Your Role in the Broadway Community’ Panel features Erin Quill, Aaron J. Albano, Andrew Briedis, Laura Heywood, Patrick Hinds and Nikka Graff Lanzarone on Jan. 24

On Sunday, January 24, Jennifer Spitulnik will moderate a panel at BroadwayCon 2016 called Insiders, Outsiders, and Masked Avengers: Your Role in the Broadway Community, featuring Erin Quill (, Allegiance‘s Aaron J. Albano, Andrew Briedis (, Laura Heywood (@BroadwayGirlNYC), Patrick Hinds (Theater People) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (The Ensemblist) at New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas (Murray Hill Room) in New York, from 11:00AM – 11:50AM.

With constant Instagrams of backstage life, new podcast episodes every week, and the collective live tweeting of major Broadway moments, social media allows actors and fans alike to participate in the Broadway community. But how do you use these tools to strengthen your networks and form new bonds? What is it like to become a thing? Hear from actors, podcasters, and (formerly) anonymous Twitter personalities about making their mark on the Broadway community from the inside, the outside, and the in between.

Click here for more information, the complete schedule of BroadwayCon which runs January 22 -24, 2016, and to purchase tickets. BroadwayCon is the first ever fan convention for the Broadway and theater community which is being held January 22 -24, 2016 at New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas in New York. Theater Fans Gear up for First Ever Fan Fest BroadwayCon

avatar for Jennifer Spitulnik
Jennifer Spitulnik’s researches maps the Broadway community’s public, digital storytelling on social media, which basically means she gets to spend a lot of time on Twitter. Her book on the subject has been selected for the Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World Series, and is under offer with University Press of Mississippi. Jennifer holds a PhD (English) from the University of Missouri, an MA (folklore) from George Mason University, and BMusic (voice performance) from Oberlin Conservatory. She is a visiting professor at Westminster College (MO), editor at SyndicateMizzou, wife to Josh, and mother of a very sassy toddler.
avatar for Aaron J. Albano
Aaron J. Albano hails originally from the West Coast where he began performing professionally at the age of 15 in San Jose, CA. After attending the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), majoring in musical theatre, he made his Broadway debut in the original company of Bombay Dreams. Since then, Aaron has performed in such Broadway shows as WickedA Chorus LineMary PoppinsThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where he closed the production as Chip Tolentino, The King and I, and most notably, as Finch in the original Broadway company of Newsies. Aaron can currently be seen as Tom Maruyama in the Broadway company of Allegiance, starring George Takei and Lea Salonga, playing at the Longacre Theatre.

avatar for Andrew Briedis
Andrew Briedis is a writer, and creator of Annoying Actor Friend, a satirical Internet personality that makes cultural commentary on the Broadway community. For over three years, Andrew operated anonymously under the Twitter handle @Actor_Friend, and on He is the author of “#SOBLESSED: the Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business” (2013) and “#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason” (2015). Annoying Actor Friend was a finalist in the 2015 Shorty Awards—which honor excellence in social media. “#SOBLESSED: the Audiobook” benefits BC/EFA and features a cast of Broadway stars. Other social media: @AndrewBriedis. He likes “Jurassic Park.”

avatar for Laura Heywood
When it comes to Broadway, Forbes calls Laura Heywood “the most vocal and visible supporter in the business.” Her formerly anonymous alter-ego, @BroadwayGirlNYC, is widely regarded as a leading advocate, ambassador, and best friend to Broadway. With experience as a national talk show host (Sirius XM) and commercial actor (Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty), Laura has now fully integrated @BroadwayGirlNYC into her professional identity, and works as an interviewer, writer, spokesperson & consultant.
avatar for Patrick Hinds
Patrick Hinds is THRILLED to be making his Broadway(con) debut! He is the creator, co-producer, and host of the popular “Theater People” podcast, a show featuring full-length interviews with Tony winners, Broadway legends, and today’s brightest theater stars. Now in its third year, Theater People’s guest list includes Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laura Benanti, Elaine Paige, Norm Lewis, Jeanine Tesori, Tonya Pinkins, Michael Cerveris, and many more. “Theater People” was recently included on NPR’s hand-picked list of the best podcasts on the internet. Most importantly, Patrick is a husband (Hi Steve!) and a dad (Hi Daisy!).

avatar for Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Nikka believes in telling stories from another angle. Finding out what the other side thinks, and making everyone feel heard and important. She believes in kindness, compassion, and humor above all. But when people ask for a bio, this is what she says: Nikka Graff Lanzarone first burst onto the Broadway scene as Marisa in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. She has also played Velma Kelly in Chicago on Broadway. Off-Broadway, she appeared as The Whore in Hello Again and a Birdgirl in Seussical. Other favorite credits: Zorba (Encores!), Peep Show (Las Vegas), The Jungle Book (Goodman/Huntington), A Chorus Line (Paper Mill) Into the Woods (Centerstage/Westport), Tommy (Bay Street). Film/TV: Bandslam, Unforgettable (CBS), Smash (NBC), Live From Lincoln Center (PBS). Recordings: “Women on the Verge…,” “Seussical” cast albums. She is also a stylist, wife, and crazy cat lady. Nikka co-created and co-hosts The Ensemblist, a Broadway-focused podcast.

Erin Quill

Erin Quill

Erin Quill holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Performance. An original Broadway cast member of Avenue Q, she’s also been seen as Madame Liang in the 50th anniversary production of Flower Drum Song, and as Lady Thiang opposite Debby Boone in The King and I, among other roles. Television work includes Nurse JackieNYPD Blue, and The Following.Feature films include Man on a Ledge and The Mikado Project, for which she also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation. Erin’s social media presence has been noted by Playbill; she blogs at, helping start conversations about diversity. She has appeared in roundtables for NPR, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the Huffington Post, among others.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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