Abstract and Keywords
The article explains the role of audience and critics in the musicals. The published critics are the individuals who make their living experiencing and responding to musicals, alongside other forms of performance. These are most often writers with some knowledge about and interest in the form, and throughout the musical's history they have been influential in regard to both audiences' attitudes and size. Audience reaction served as feedback for the artistic team, who would then often make adjustments to the show to maximize its audience appeal. The musical theater audiences are part of a communal experience with other audience members and the performers, and are involved in a reciprocal relationship which can change the quality and success of a performance. Most audiences are aware of their influence and manage their responses accordingly. Critics, adversarial or supportive, have been essential collaborators throughout musical theater's history. New media platforms have created increasing opportunities for criticism that can both add to the historical archive and influence an ever-wider body of potential audience members. The advent of online media has increased opportunities for less official, but often no less astute, criticism such as blogs, which allow for more specialized criticism that explicitly takes up particular points of view. The immensely popular social networking site facebook also offers opportunities for recreational criticism.
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