Anyone who’s been involved in the professional theater scene knows that getting great reviews can be critical for the success of a show. All of this puts a lot of pressure on those who create a show, and the stories of shows that have been made or destroyed by nyc theater reviews are legendary. Today, with the advent of the Internet as another venue for promoting shows, a bad writeup in the New York Times might not be as lethal for the future of a production as it once was, but a great review in that newspaper is still very significant.
The Pros and Cons of Criticism
It’s interesting to note how much weight was put on a great review in past years. The fact is there are many shows that went on to become legendary successes, despite enduring bad reviews when they were first produced. Even a great show like “West Side Story” had its share of bad reviews when it was first seen onstage. Part of the reason for this is that the show was ahead of its time in many ways. “West Side Story” had a tragic, operatic quality to it, and according to Stephen Sondheim, when the show first opened, many people were unprepared for its dark themes. As time went on, audiences did come to appreciate the show’s brilliance, especially after the success of the film version. All of this underlines the irony of a creative work being instantly judged by critics who might not be able to appreciate what the work is really about in one viewing.
Without question, the days when one bad review in a major publication were utterly ruinous are over, and frankly, that’s a good thing. So, here’s to great theatre that’s allowed to live long and find the audience it deserves.