Spotted: One Confused BroadwayWorld Reader

A few mornings ago, I woke up and went through my usual routine of checking each of the social networking sites I belong to. Although I was still groggy from staying up a bit later than I should have the night before, my virtual arrival at BroadwayWorld woke me up in an instant as this blaring headline greeted me on the homepage:

Why hello there, BroadwayWorld. Might I introduce myself? My name is BroadwayGirlNYC.

I blinked a few times, imagining that my still-sleepy eyes were deceiving me. But as I read BroadwayGirlNYC's first column, complete with a flashy banner at the top of the page, I quickly realized that some random person that I happen to follow on Twitter, along with 3,000 other Tweeters, had evolved to an entirely new level.

Although I didn't realize this until recently, BroadwayGirlNYC already has her own blog. Okay, so do I. I discovered her through her Twitter account, where she spreads information about timely happenings on the Broadway scene. Okay, so do I. And her mysterious identity only adds to the intrigue.

I am not bothered by most of what BroadwayGirlNYC, or other similar persons in the media, do. With so many different outlets of information, it's actually kind of nice to have a source of somewhat consolidated information. A recent perusal of her latest tweets include re-tweeted stories about a production of "West Side Story" in Malaysia; a discount code from Broadway Impact for "Yank: The Musical;" and a shout-out to Kate Baldwin and Cheyanne Jackson for their great work on the original cast recording of "Finian's Rainbow." She also converses with numerous Tweeters, and creates a dialogue around the theater scene. What is there to possibly complain about?

What bothers me about the newest addition to BroadwayWorld's website is a question of legitimacy. By giving *mysterious Tweeter* a weekly column on a website that connects nearly everyone in the theater industry, BroadwayWorld has challenged my conception of its content. I have a blog, and a twitter; I am active on a Broadway-based message board, and I read BroadwayWorld daily. Do I also get an official column hosted by what is arguably the top news site for theater people? Call me jealous, or bitter, but I just don't know if merely participating in the online conversation that connects the Broadway community serves as qualification for an official platform.

The appeal of BroadwayGirlNYC, of course, is that any one of us could be in her shoes. Another outlet we know as BroadwaySpotted capitalizes on the spur-of-the-moment excitement of catching an actor outside of the theater and in their natural environment. This hobby can run the spectrum from sharing information (Re-tweeting a very excited Mandy Gonzalez about beginning her run at "Wicked" in a week) to semi-stalking (Laura Benanti walking down 8th Avenue at 49th Street). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that yes, many Broadway actors spend much of their time in the Theater District, and yes, they frequent the Starbucks, streets, and subway stops in that area.

Contrarily, I can't say that I have never submitted a "spotting" to BroadwaySpotted. As someone who does not (yet) live in New York, I will admit that it is somewhat exciting to see one of my favorite Broadway personality in the theater, and then see them walking down the street later that evening. (Like that time Hillary and I saw Michael Greif on the sidewalk outside of Joe's Pub...yeah, that was pretty cool.) It's the typical movie star effigy that has us in awe of actors and celebrities, and Broadway actors are much more accessible than most film stars. However, don't Broadway actors deserve their privacy, just like everyone else?

The last paragraph of BroadwayGirlNYC's introductory column reads as follows:

Over the last twelve months I've realized that I exist in a tiny, unique slice of the world where stars and mortals intermingle. One night I'll cheer on a woman who is larger than life, lit up and belting with a superhuman voice - and the next morning I'll see her on the subway chatting with her friends, as if she was just like me. This is not Hollywood, y'all; this is Broadway. It's magical. And there is nowhere in the world I'd rather be.

I'll be the first to say that every word of that appeals to me. It sounds almost like something that I could have written. However, the legitimacy of a hidden identity leaves me questioning my consumption of such sources of information. Maybe I'm taking this too seriously, but it just seems odd to me that a no-name person can navigate the media in such a way as to create an entirely new format of the celebrity paparazzi, and thus become a celebrity herself.


Alexandria said...

I totally agree with you. It's amazing in this day and age how far people can go without saying who they are. I mean, I guess I can understand- she's just one of us. She's not a Broadway person or anything. Just another face in the thousands who see a show in NYC every week.

Really, who is BroadwayGirlNYC? Is she a high school student? A college student? (I'm assuming she's a student since she has tweeted about student tickets or rush before). We don't know anything about her besides she loves theatre and obviously lives in the city (or at least close to it...). Anyone can start a twitter or blog- who is to say that she is truly qualified to influence the opinions of others- which she does.

It kind of reminds me the days long ago when I was warned about facebook and adding friends- just because it says that's their name and picture, doesn't mean it's truly them. Don't get me wrong, I've meet some of my best friends through the internet and I'm sure that BroadwayGirlNYC isn't a creepy guy or anything (I mean really, what would one have to gain from it in this way?).

It is odd, but if you put yourself in her shoes, wouldn't you be excited and thrilled?

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