Returning to (Romance in) Real Life

As I slowly emerge into a (semi-)vaccinated world, I am beginning to travel again, attend concerts, and engage with family and friends in Real Life.

However, whether I am in lockdown during a pandemic or living my life more freely in a post-pandemic world, my love of romantic dramas remains as strong as ever. And don’t be fooled by my blog’s name, I don’t discriminate. In addition to the Hallmark Channel, I also watch movies on Lifetime, Netflix, and many other platforms and networks.

So when news of a new fan experience developed exclusively for lovers of romantic dramas came out, my ears perked up.

Female-owned business BriteStar Events, LLC, founded by Gabrielle Graf-Palmer and Sara Lunsford, is launching its first event RomaDrama®, which provides access to celebrities best known for their roles in romantic dramas and seasonal programming. In their mad preparations leading up to this premier event, Graf-Palmer likened it to “preparing for the world’s largest wedding.”

This “wedding” between romantic-drama-lovers and the fictional objects of their affection will take place in Nashville, TN, from July 30 to August 1, 2021.

Graf-Palmer and Lunsford met 26 years ago in the Atlanta Airport, wearing identical outfits (Ann Taylor boots, white T-shirts, and suede coats), while on their way to a country cruise to interview musician Brian White. Their friendship was born out of a Nashville connection and attending a fan experience, so where better to host their first boutique event than at The Factory in Franklin just outside Nashville, TN, and who better to design events catering to intimate fan experiences than women who are fans themselves? (During my interview with Graf-Palmer, we swapped stories of our New Kids on the Block concert experiences, and what a wonderful time we had reliving teenage memories and cutting loose with girlfriends. See past blog post on my NKOTB experience here.)

“We love Hallmark,” gushed Graf-Palmer, but although Hallmark is the dominant brand in the space, it’s not the only outlet for romantic dramas. When thinking of their growth strategy, she and Lunsford have elected not to limit themselves to one channel or even one season.

RomaDrama® has a powerful lineup of romantic drama stars including Paul Greene (link here for past interview), Trevor Donovan, and Tyler Hynes, as well as the writers of these romantic dramas and musical guests from the Nashville area with an intentional focus on creating an intimate fan experience. There is such reverence for fans that Graf-Palmer shared how one of the solo-themed panels for Tyler Hynes was in fact the brainchild of a fan who reached out with a request. “We listen to the fans, and when they ask us for things, we try to make it happen,” said Graf-Palmer.

In addition to a lineup of Hallmark favorites, some trusted names from within the Hallmark family will be moderating the panels, including Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook (see past post here on the Hallmark Channel’s The Bubbly Sesh Podcast) and Ruth Hill (see past post here).

Throughout COVID, Paul Greene has been hosting virtual concerts for fans over Facebook and Instagram, but on July 31 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. CT in the Jameson Theater at The Factory, Paul will perform live. Ruth Hill shared that she is excited to attend this in-person concert, not only as one of Paul’s and RomaDrama’s employees, but as a fan. Throughout the online performances, she has enjoyed the enthusiastic crowd participation where fans post wolf emojis during Paul’s song “Home.” “I’m looking forward to hearing us all howl together,” said Hill.

It will certainly be exhilarating to enjoy a live performance among friends and fans, as well as a weekend of fun hanging out with favorite actors from romantic dramas. “I am most excited for doors to open and to see the response of the fans coming in,” said Graf-Palmer. “We are the first live event back in this space.”

Sadly I won’t make it to Nashville to be one of those fans walking through the door, but I wish everyone a terrific time and hope to make it to a future RomaDrama Live!® event. If you are in the Nashville area and want to check it out, the event is scheduled to run July 30 through August 1, 2021, at The Factory at Franklin. Tickets can be purchased here. And if you can’t make it, never fear: they are looking into hosting events in Atlanta, GA (2021), Palm Beach, FL (2022), and Dallas, TX (2022). Let me know what it’s like if you are able to attend. Maybe I’ll see you at the next one!

Leave a Reply