On August 16, 2006 The Chicago Sun-Times ran a review of Stages 2006, a three-day musical theater festival that had presented eight works-in-progress at the Theater Building from August 11th through August 13th. The review was written by theater critic Hedy Weiss, against the expressed wishes of the festival, which had asked Ms. Weiss not to review any of the works since they were still in the developmental stage(from The Dramatists Guild of America). Their objections sound a little like some producers' objections a few years ago to out-of-town-try-outs of new shows getting reviewed in publications. Films have the same issue with comments about early cuts ending up online after preview screenings. Hard to strike the balance between early public interest and private developement needs.
In New York, the thinking about Chicago has changed. Drastically.(from Chicago Tribune).Finally the curse has been lifted,says Roche Schulfer, the executive director of the Goodman Theatre.Now producers look at Chicago, and they see a huge city, and they see money. Really, this is a very big moment in the history of the Chicago theater.
The Universal is SpecificStrange but true: The more specific a film is, the more universal, because the more it understands individual characters, the more it applies to everyone.-Roger Ebert
And yes, I think acting can also be universal in part by being specific.
Using Hollywood-style data mining techniques and the Internet to contact hundreds of thousands of theatergoers, Live Theatrical Events is changing the way shows are marketing themselves, on and off Broadway. And its managing director, Joseph Craig, who has a long history in the film industry, is quietly becoming a sought-after player in New York theater.There have been focus groups and audience surveys on Broadway for years, of course. Still, New York’s theater world is, in many areas, years behind the other entertainment industries in the way it does business and finds customers. That’s just fine with many of the veterans, who consider rigorous market research just another distraction from the art.The first product [of the syndicated service of research data] will be the "Hot List," a biweekly survey of hundreds of theatergoers around the country, rating which actors they would like to see onstage - from theater veterans like Kristin Chenoweth to movie stars like Julia Roberts to up-and-comers like Amy Spanger, who is currently in "The Wedding Singer."(emphasis added, from The New York Times). This is a more codified version of casting by google, where a producer gauges an actor's audience appeal by how many results the actors name gets when typed into google. At least one Chicago producer/director has used casting by google.