It was done without a hitch despite the striking Writers Guild of America (W.G.A.) writers at the 2023 Tony Awards, with Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, star of “West Side Story,” stepping in to emcee for the second year, and this time without a script, dancing on the head of the proverbial pin, flying by the seat of her pants, dancing on the high rope without a net. She winged it, and she did a phenomenal job.
That’s the remarkable thing about talent – when pushed to the limit, individuals rise up with an unwavering determination to succeed.
It was precisely this winning attitude that captured my attention when I encountered a colleague, Joel Crump, seated beside me in the media room at the United Palace in New York City on June 11. I did a double take, then a third, as I discovered that Joel, at just 15 years old, possessed an unrivaled love for Broadway, boasting an impressive knowledge of the theater world.
I was particularly interested in talking to Joel because he had turned his passion into a successful digital magazine called Broadway Time. He started this project during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to escape the boredom and limitations imposed by the situation. Joel saw an opportunity to create a platform that celebrates and delves into the captivating world of Broadway.
At the conclusion of the 2023 Tony Awards, my colleagues and I were genuinely impressed by Joel’s composure and professionalism while interacting with the press. It was notable to see his mother accompanying him throughout the event, supporting him every step of the way.
Here’s what Joel Crump, the 15-year-old owner and host of Broadway Time, had to share with me inside the 2023 Tony Award winners’ room.
Q: How did you start Broadway Time or rather, why did you start it?
During the pandemic, and I really had nothing to do. So I wanted to interview Broadway actors. I always loved journalism, and I, of course, love Broadway. And so I started reaching out to any person I could on social media. I got a great response to it. And then it got bigger and bigger, and now, I am at the Tony Awards.
Q: Why do you like Broadway so much? I mean, you’re 15. How much Broadway have you seen?
I’ve seen about 20 shows. I’ve seen the most shows this year, which is incredible. I feel like Broadway is magical. You go to the theater, and it’s just unbelievable how special and magical it can be. And for me, it’s just like an escape. My first show that really changed me was “SpongeBob, The Musical.”
Q: So, Joel, what’s the big goal here?
I want to be a Broadway actor. That’s my primary focus.
Q: There are a lot of interesting jobs, not just acting. It’s super hard work.
Yes, but there’s so much on Broadway. I feel like in the future, I want to produce, and I want to write and direct. I honestly want to dip my toe in everything. But I want to keep my journalism career going as an actor because it’s such an amazing outlet. And I feel like I’ve brought it so far, it would be a mistake to let it go once I end up acting on Broadway.
Q: I agree. So how do you balance your schoolwork?
I go to an amazing school, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland. And they work with me to make sure I’m compensated and staying up on all my work. I just finished freshman year. So that was amazing. And I mean, my school is just the best, but it’s all about balance. And so I have to set a time. Set aside time for school, obviously because that’s another big priority.
Q: And you are 15?
Yes, I am 15 years old.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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