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I remember the day I decided to hate Broadway. It was in 2011, and I had just moved to New York City for grad school. It was a fancy, intimidating graduate program in a fancy, intimidating city. But I was determined to “make it” in New York, so when a group of classmates were talking about theater before class one day, I decided to join the conversation.
I had never actually seen a Broadway show in New York, but had seen a few on tour: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on a sixth-grade field trip in Detroit; The Phantom of the Opera my sophomore year of college in Kalamazoo, Michigan; The Lion King, in Japanese, when studying abroad in Tokyo. I knew Broadway. I was cultured. I knew enough to join the conversation and make new friends, at least.
I don’t remember what shows they were talking about, or the playwrights, or the actors. I just remember the pause. They had asked me if I was into Broadway, and I had said “Yes.” Then they asked me what I had seen, and I told them. Then the conversation stopped, if only for a moment. It was enough for me to realize that my answer was insufficient at best, and appallingly wrong at worst. It was a mercy when someone put our silence out of its misery.
“So you’re … not into Broadway,” one of them said, and continued talking without me. I imagine a television camera slowly zooming in on my face for one minute … two minutes … three minutes … while I sat there nodding, pretending to follow along.
From that day on, it was “Fuck Broadway.”