The ongoing clash between what Broadway actually is and how it thinks of itself was particularly notable in the season just concluded—the first of the #MeToo era. Large theaters demand to be filled with patrons willing to pay, on average, more than $100 per ticket. With few exceptions, only musicals can fill the bill: come January, upon the closing of the slapstick farce The Play That Goes Wrong, the longest-running straight play on Broadway will be Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two. The previous sentence will still be true in 2028, but that play dates only to April 22. All other long-term occupants of Broadway theaters are what the trade papers used to call “tuners.” Yet is there any art form more difficult to pull off than a Broadway musical? In a typical season, zero to two new entries manage to stay on the boards for more...


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