A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.
- From The Economist
Man, this applies to theatre in a big way. The big Broadway blockbusters like Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages, even Phantom of the Opera... they pull in the tourists looking for a Real Broadway experience, and they get flashy fluff. Certainly fluff can be fun, but really in any media, art rarely sells.
In other news, (re:)Directions Theatre Company is planning the Anybody but Shakespeare Classics Festival for this Summer. A pretty interesting idea:
The Anybody but Shakespeare Classics Festival, hosted by (re:) Directions Theatre Company at the 14th Street Theater from May 17-June 6, 2010, is designed to celebrate the work of playwrights who have been overshadowed by the immortal bard; left in the dust by his rapier sharp wit and general put out to pasture in favor of the 2,189th revival of Hamlet. Any text from any country that was first written or performed between 1500 and 1700 will be considered. We are primarily seeking reinventions, original adaptations and translations that preserve both the spirit and the majority of the original text.
If I wasn't already pretty booked up for this Summer, I'd consider busting out some Lope de Vega or Middleton.