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Reviews vs. going into a show blind

Featured Actor
Featured Actor
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#1
Posted: 2/27/19 at 5:07am
Do you prefer to read reviews of a show or do you go into them not knowing anything except for the basics? I dont ever read reviews, I just see something interesting and Ill try to get tickets. I only read reviews after I see a show to see what people thought compared to how I viewed it (kind of backwards, I know), or if its a show I know I wont ever see (a show abroad, one I dont have any interest in seeing or cant afford the tickets). But what do you all prefer?
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#2
Posted: 2/27/19 at 7:28am
I prefer to go into a show blind.
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#3
Posted: 2/27/19 at 8:56am

If there is a show I absolutely want to see, I don't read anything beforehand. Once it starts previews, I may scan the previews thread on here just to make sure it isn't a complete mess (in which case I might resell my tickets before word gets out), but never enough to anticipate what will happen onstage.

Otherwise, I use the forums to gauge whether I should be buying tickets to things I don't know about, or didn't capture my imagination as something to see. Once I hit the point of deciding to buy, then I stop reading.

So, I usually read just enough to know whether to buy or sell beforehand.

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#4
Posted: 2/27/19 at 10:32am

I read reviews (both "professional" and on this board), but I always take them with a grain of salt. I disagree with critics too often to allow them to determine what I see, and there have been too many shows that I loved, but would've missed, if I'd given too much credence to what people wrote about them. My primary interest in reviews is to learn a bit about how a show "feels" and how it is staged.

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- Craig Hepworth, What's On Stage
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#5
Posted: 2/27/19 at 10:36am
I usually read reviews beforehand. This is partially because I don’t always know at the time a show opens if I’ll be able to make it to NYC to see it before it closes and partially because I’m curious. Reviews (and reports on here) also help me whittie down my long and unwieldy wish lists of shows when I finally do come to NYC.

Having said that, one of my pet peeves is critics who give away spoilers in their reviews with no warning. I’m thinking of the critic who gave away the ending of American Son because he/she had such disdain for the piece. I’m guessing the critic thought that giving away the ending would dissuade people from seeing it. I saw it regardless. My friend attended with me, but I did not share the spoiler with her. We both had similar reactions to the show. Whatever its flaws, we were both left emotional. I would say my knowledge of the spoiler ironically actually increased my suspense during the show as I knew the inevitable ending. I’m sure that is not what the critic intended.

Of course, the problem with spoilers is that you don’t often realize you’re reading one until you are about halfway through reading it. Because of reviews, I also knew how the ending of My Fair Lady has been changed. I didn’t love this particular revival including the tacked-on ending, but I don’t think reviews or spoilers played a part.
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#6
Posted: 2/27/19 at 10:40am
I don’t tend to read reviews before unless it’s a show I’m not sure if I want to see or not. If it’s a show I’m really interested in but either can’t afford tickets to yet or don’t have tickets to for a while, I’ll scan the previews thread here if there is one.

For me, the real joy of a good critique is reading it after seeing the performance and exploring other viewpoints and catching things you may have missed. Sara Holdren has particularly been a wonderful read lately, whether it’s for a show I just saw or a show I won’t be seeing. A great critic actually engaging with the work and writing coherently about it is a rarity these days, sadly.
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#7
Posted: 2/27/19 at 12:19pm

I have always read reviews first with one exception and that was when I saw "The Play That Goes Wrong" in London. We bought the tickets kind of last moment and all we knew was that is was a comedy.

Updated On: 2/27/19 at 12:19 PM
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#8
Posted: 2/27/19 at 5:18pm

I generally read the reviews as soon as they come out.  Unless something is pretty much panned,  I generally don't base a purchase on the reviews, for several reasons:

I have not infrequently disliked / been disappointed by shows that have gotten raves or, at least, very good reviews, e.g., hated CATS, City of Angels and Fun Home, disappointed by the original productions of Billy Elliott, A Chorus Line (which I saw at least three times in its first year, because of visitors wanting to see it) and Annie; and a decent number of classic musical revivals', e.g., last Kiss Me Kate revival.

I have thoroughly enjoyed a number of musicals which were not well reviewed or even panned.  I have seen Finding Neverland 5 times, Cambridge, Broadway, and on tour, have recognized glaring deficiencies in each production, and have still loved them overall.  Fifty years ago, I also loved Dear World, which I also knew had some serious flaws.  The flaws, which resulted in the show receiving some real pans, did not keep me from loving parts of the show, as well as Angela Lansbury's performance...and etc.

There are some shows that have been critically acclaimed and huge hits that I have had no interest in seeing, sometimes based on the rave reviews.  Passion is a musical that I never had any interest in seeing, based the story itself.  I never liked the score to Rent, so I managed avoid it for more than a decade...and etc.

Bottom line: does the story sound interesting, have you liked previous works by the composer, director, et al, do you like the performers, do you want to see the work of new, unproven talents.  If the answer to any of those questions is yes, go for it.

Updated On: 2/28/19 at 05:18 PM
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Leading Actor
Leading Actor
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#9
Posted: 2/28/19 at 10:22am

I usually try not to read the reviews as I prefer going in blind. 

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#10
Posted: 2/28/19 at 10:33am

I think reviews are a great way to find out about shows you might otherwise miss, which is why I'm sad when coverage of smaller theater companies and productions get cut. But usually, I read reviews because I'm interested in the variety of opinions around a certain work, not as a way to determine whether or not I want to see something.

Reviews vs. going into a show blind#11
Posted: 2/28/19 at 10:40am


Other people's views effect our own without us even knowing it. So I like to go in fresh and then compare my thoughts with the reviewers after. 


Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#12
Posted: 2/28/19 at 6:41pm
I never read reviews and usually go into shows blind.

We all like different things. People that write reviews or even people on this board won't influence me at all if they hate it or love it.
Hi, I'm Val. Formerly DefyGravity777(I believe)
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#13
Posted: 3/1/19 at 6:27am

I read reviews, I like them.  Will they change my mind about purchasing a tix? Occasionally.  If every single review is a pan, probably. 

I can usually read into things when reviews are less in agreement. For example, The "why" a show is liked or not is more important than IF.

  I was excited about King Kong, but that quickly died upon the teports. And iIdon't regret for a second taking it off my list. I should have listened about HP.

Also, if i hadn't listened to reviews about CFA, I would have missed out on seeing it as it sounded dreadful to me.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Um Kulthum
Reviews vs. going into a show blind#14
Posted: 3/1/19 at 7:55am

I read reviews– that's often how I find out that a show exists– but like a previous poster said, take them with a grain of salt! Same with movies. That's because the regular reviewers in the papers I read are male and significantly older than me, so their tastes often differ. For a recent example, if I'd obeyed reviews, I'd have missed out on "Head Over Heels," which I *loved*.