a c k n o w l e d g m e n t s
The book is a result of the many conversations I had with friends and
colleagues about the status of the performing arts in contemporary
American culture. I’ve been writing the book since 1998—and thus
have many people to thank for helping me along the way. First and fore-
most I want to acknowledge Richard Meyer, my partner for the past ten
years, who I love dearly and deeply. We share perhaps too many things,
but I am so delighted that we share what matters most, which is to say
our lives. His care for my work and my well-being deserves much more
thanks than I can offer here. Richard has read every word in this book
more times than I should have asked, and, truth be told, he’s written a
few as well. He believes in me in ways I’ve never experienced. He gives
me the gift of confidence. Let it suffice to say that he is everywhere in
this book, and that I could not have imagined writing it without him
by my side.
There are many friends who have engaged my work over the years
and whose hard questioning has pushed me to think differently and
more imaginatively about this project. Jill Dolan, José Muñoz, Karen
Shimakawa, and Josh Kun have entertained most of these ideas since
the beginning of this project, and I love having them as my primary
readers and close friends. Their contributions are too numerous to de-
tail and, at this point, so completely integrated into the book itself
that I couldn’t even begin to untangle them. But I must report that
it was José who dared me to write about cabaret performance and
whose own audacious thinking inspired me to do so. Others, too, have
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