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Lin-Manuel Miranda Bests a Snob at My Fair Lady: A Mini-Play About Theater Etiquette

“I had one of the all time best conversations with a Condescending Theatergoer Who Sat In Front Of Me at intermission of My Fair Lady,” Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in the first of a series of Tweets. “Here’s a transcript:”

Condescending Theatergoer: Well, I didn’t know this show had so many laughs—you were certainly enjoying yourself.
(Passive-aggressive shaming me for laughing—at the jokes)

Me: Yup! It’s a great show!

CT: Oh, yeah, I’ve seen it a million times. I like old fashioned musicals.
(Emphasis on Old Fashioned: He doesn’t like Hamilton)

Me: So do I, this is one of my favorites!
(My cheer is throwing him)

CT: I like shows where YOU CAN UNDERSTAND ALL THE WORDS.
(Haaaaaaaaa. Aight, let’s get into it)
Me: SO DO I! What show ARE YOU REFERRING TO?
(Looks him dead in the eye…I stare at him, my question hanging in the air—and he blinks. Like he JUST realized he’s talking to a real person, three sentences in)

CT: Oh man…sorry, I’m just being an ass.
(Nice long pause.)

Me: Yup.
(I go back to reading my program.)

(2 minutes later)
CT: I’m sorry. Can we…can we just forget that conversation ever happened?
Me, not looking up from my Playbill: Yup.

(Act Two begins. I enjoy the show—and laugh loud at the jokes.)

“The lesson here, if there is any: there is ALWAYS the type of theatergoer that defines themselves by excluding others. You could WRITE musicals, and they’ll still try to make you feel like you don’t belong. Don’t you dare let ‘em. You love theater? You belong.”

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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