Ken, first off, I have to say that I’m extremely glad you’ve decided to keep blogging. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts regarding theater as you seem quite knowledgeable in the field!
That having been said, I found this post to be particularly interesting. To be honest, I’m not sure what the answer is here, and I think it’s something that art struggles with in many different forms, not just on Broadway. For example, I was really excited to hear that the book “The Giver” was going to be made into a film, because it was a book that I really enjoyed reading as a child. Shortly after that announcement was made, however, it was revealed that Taylor Swift had been cast in the film, and I was struck with disbelief. How could anyone possibly justify that casting decision? It was clearly the wrong call artistically, but financially, it guaranteed that the movie would be a huge hit. I don’t know even know when the film is scheduled to be released (because I don’t plan on seeing it anymore), but I don’t doubt that it will now draw in large audiences and young fans who have never read, or maybe even heard of, the original book.
This led me to further question the problems associated with casting big-name actors. Since doing so has the potential to turn away “true fans” (which I’m defining as those who consider themselves purists or who would be upset by this sort of decision), do you think it’s diluting the audience appreciation? To rephrase that, I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on whether treating Broadway and other art forms as businesses is switching one audience out for another. While some may see these casting decisions as bringing theater into the mainstream, others may argue that it’s simply creating a greater rift between the mainstream audience and true connoisseurs of the art. What do you think?