Commercial Theater: Layman's Thoughts
I sometimes feel that it's high time that local theater explored fresh material that had higher commercial potential--both in sales and sponsorhips. In a season of four productions, two could be the money-making crowd-pleasers, akin to Hollywood summer event movies--those that you simply must watch. This way, theater could accumulate enough funds to fuel the more artistic or classical projects.
Another advantage of having more commercial productions is audience-building for theater as a whole. If a production earns powerful positive word-of-mouth, those who haven't watched theater in years might be curious enough to check out the show. More viewers also mean more exposure for the company, the director, the playwright, the production designer, and the actors. An actor who gains "fans" can also fuel sales for the more artistic productions he or she appears in.
Someone in the industry once told me that local theater in general doesn't find "commercialization" too appealing. Like it was some kind of bastardization or prostitution of the art form. I don't know if this is true, but I've heard enough stories of theater productions suffering through miniscule budgets. (I was an actor in one such productions in 2001, with Wendy's gift certificates as payment.) Commercialization never meant selling out; it's just a way to ensure your longevity.