NPR

Hey You, Prestige Television Fan: Here's Why You Should See A New Play

While musicals have good pop-culture presence in many cases, plays tend not to. But in an environment that has embraced idiosyncratic and complicated TV, there's no better time to change that.
Michelle Wilson and Johanna Day star in Sweat, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Lynn Nottage. Source: Joan Marcus

It's not just Hamilton.

Musicals have always had a built-in advantage as cultural products. Individual songs can translate and build interest via cast albums or Tony telecasts in a way that's very difficult for plays to emulate. A lot of kids grow up on musicals like Grease and Annie -- and, yes, now Hamilton — while early introductions to plays, however great, might make them seem impenetrable or like homework. (I'm looking at you, William Shakespeare, and doing so lovingly.)

Last week, all five top-grossing Broadway shows were musicals; all five "underdogs" were plays. If you've ever been to the TKTS booth in Times Square that sells same-day reduced-price tickets to Broadway productions, you know that the line for plays is much, much shorter than the line for musicals. When people who aren't theater people do take an interest in plays, it's often because they're headed by celebrities known from film or television, which isn't always the ticket to the

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