Apr

22

Part of the reason for the virulent critical reviews I suspect was that at this time Hal and I were resented as having become successful despite our maverick ventures. We had done eccentric shows and yet were not living in garrets. In the commercial theater this was not only an anomaly, it was an irritation. If we'd been teaching or working at odd jobs to stave off starvation, or if I'd been getting rich by sticking to formulaic musicals and thus easy targets for snickering condescension, it might have been acceptable. But to have done shows like Follies, Pacific Overtures, and Sweeney Todd, and still be living well was not our best revenge. It was theirs. The glory days for Hal and I were over and our partnership ended.

-Stephen Sondheim discussing the reaction to Merrily we Roll Along, his partnership with Hal Prince.

 I believe this tendency is a all too human one, rivaling the tendency of old successful men to cast aspersions on younger better successors. It also, like all general tendencies, has many market implications. I believe the reviews to new products like Playbook from a successful 10 billion entity like Rimm suffer from this. If they had still been in an attic, or Africa, and their market value was 10 mill, why great, it has lots of potential and when they fix the email, and negotiate the things with the carriers who they are now one of best suppliers to, why that would be great. But not for a company with millions of users who came out of 5 mill 8 years ago. Sort of like Lloyd Webber with the new musical Love Never dies. If it was the best ever, it still would have received unamimous negative reviews. The only exception is the Wilt Chamberlin exception, where a freak of nature, if a personage of color is given a free pass as it doesn't create the envy.


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