Bringing the stars, screenwriters and producers of made-for-TV movies and the romantic dramas of The Hallmark Channel, Lifetime and Netflix to West Palm Beach, RomaDrama Live! comes to the Palm Beach Convention Center this week.
Originally scheduled for last January, the event was rescheduled to June 24-26 because of COVID-19 and the omicron variant.
“We are thrilled to be coming to West Palm Beach,” says Gabrielle Graf Palmer, co-founder and partner of RomaDrama Live! “While delaying our January event was frustrating, it was necessary to ensure the health and safety of all those we hold dear. We always say that we are a RomaDrama family.”
“We love all of our fans, celebrities and staff and look forward to seeing everyone in June,” she says.
Featuring panel discussions, Q&As, meet-and-greets with the actors, autograph sessions, photo ops and plenty of mixing-and-mingling with favorite TV characters, the event is the brainchild of entrepreneurs and best friends Gabrielle Graf Palmer and Sara Lunsford.
It all started in 2018 on a girls’ birthday weekend when Palmer and Lunsford set out to meet Outlander star Sam Roland Heughan at Wizard World Comicon in Chicago.
As fangirls, it occurred to them that there was nothing comparable for devotées, as they were, of The Hallmark Channel or Lifetime. Sitting at the hotel bar later that night, scribbling notes on a napkin, the two came up with ideas for what has turned into RomaDrama Live!: part convention, part boutique fan experience and all wholesome good time.
“This is truly a personal labor of love for both of us,” says Palmer.
“We both faced some adversity and found ourselves suddenly single,” remembers Palmer. “We had two choices: Be swallowed up whole or take control of our lives and forge a new path for ourselves and our children.”
“We decided to give it everything we have and push forward,” she says. “We always loved Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel and now the new GAC (Great American Country) channel.”
The two founded BriteStar Events LLC and held their first RomaDrama Live! event last summer outside Nashville.
“It’s just plain fun,” says Palmer. “Bring your girlfriends, daughter, or grandchildren, meet your favorite actors, let your hair down and feel like yourself again.”
Newly added to the agenda is actor, (All My Children) author and motivational speaker Colin Egglesfield, who will offer his program, “Inspire,” offering tools and strategies to thrive and more forward in life. Also available is the “Inspire” weekend package for $129.99 offering a number of VIP events with the speaker.
Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to mingle with actors best known for their roles in romantic dramas including Ryan Paevey (General Hospital, Marrying Mr. Darcy, Timeless Christmas), Andrew Walker (Christmas On My Mind, Bottled with Love, My Secret Valentine), Kristin Booth (Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Workin’ Mom), Lily Anne Harrison (Christmas Camp, The Vanished) and Trevor Donovan (90210, USS Christmas, Marry Me at Christmas).
Donovan, an all-American boy graced with the good looks of a classic celluloid idol, admires the careers of actors Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.
He just wrapped shooting on three films back-to-back and is back home in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where he grew up.
In the soon-to-be-released movie Reagan, Donovan plays John Barletta, former President Ronald Reagan’s longest-serving Secret Service agent, alongside Dennis Quaid, and will appear in the upcoming Christmas film Jingle Bell Christmas, which will premiere in December on GAC.
Of his new, two-year deal with GAC, he says, “It’s pretty cool. I’m excited.”
Donovan’s career took off in the 2009 reboot of Beverly Hills: 90210, where he played the role of Teddy Montgomery for four seasons. “I found my bread and butter,” says the former model.
Athletic, but shy as a kid, Donovan says he initially hated acting. “It was terrifying,” he remembers. “I didn’t like performing in front of people and couldn’t tell you why I kept doing it.”
Despite his trepidations, Donovan pushed on and says, “All of a sudden, I fell in love with it.”
And, now, it seems, people are in love with him.
Also participating in the event are a number of award-winning authors and screenwriters including, Jeff Fisher, renowned director of Christmas Camp, My Christmas Love, The Simple Life and producer of Keeping Up with the Kardashians; Rick Garman, screenwriter with more than 25 Hallmark movie credits; GLAAD media award-winner Julie Sherman-Wolfe, writer of One Royal Holiday, Wedding Every Weekend, and The Birthday Wish; and three-time Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, author, and TV host Karen Schaler, known as “Christmas Karen.” Schaler is has written five Christmas movies and five holiday novels in the last three years, including the Netflix hit A Christmas Prince, Hallmark’s Christmas Camp, and Lifetime’s Every Day Is Christmas starring Toni Braxton, and the one she is most proud of.
Schaler, an effervescent and prolific writer, is also creator and host of Travel Therapy TV, traveling to more than 68 countries in search of the most inspiring stories. She also is a former Emmy award-winning war correspondent in Afghanistan.
Her latest endeavor is her trademarked Christmas Camps, bringing her Hallmark movie and books to life for grownups at destinations, resorts and hotels, where you feel like you’re starring in your own Christmas movie. Schaler will sit on a panel with director Fisher and actress Harrison to discuss the movie-making process and dish fun, behind-the-scene anecdotes.
With a great-great-aunt named Merry Christmas Day, it’s kismet that Schaler has found her niche in the Christmas genre.
“I fell in love with the concept of RamaDrama Live!,” says Schaler from Scottsdale, Ariz., where she has a home. “I’m inspired by how hard Gabrielle and Sara work and by their ability to bounce back from life’s challenges.”
“We connected and are opening a world that not everyone knows about, but one that is so beloved,” says Schaler, who has already booked her flight to the Caribbean after RomaDrama Live! – to do background research for her next romance novel.
“Gabrielle and Sara are giving me an amazing platform,” she says. “I’m so grateful to them and to connect with the fans; I get so much from them. There is so much love and passion that goes into planning the event. We care about our fans and want to make sure they have an unforgettable experience.”
“I want everyone who comes to feel inspired and empowered to go after their own dreams and know that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, and never give up,” she says.
RomaDrama Live! will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets can be purchased at romadrama.com.Single-day, two-day, and three-day VIP tickets range from $40 to $799.99 and are now available for purchase. Ticket packages providing different levels of celebrity access are available.