When I first saw this book, I was afraid I'd find something on which I'd worked! Thankfully, it's not, so I can put personal discomfort aside. This book looks at five plays that failed on Broadway prior to the volume's 1972 publication date. Stasio, a theatre critic, believes that the Broadway system failed the plays, not that the plays themselves have no merit, and she dissects each one in detail to give them a second chance, and to give us a second look.
No one WANTS to create a failure. As someone who spent over 20 years of my career working backstage, you enter into each production with love and blood and guts and want it to succeed. You can't put in the type of work that's required of a Broadway production, the 8 shows/week, working nights/weekends/holidays and all the rest without deep commitment.
But not everything works, and the reasons are myriad. From a distance, one can learn just as much from what doesn't work as from what does; yet when one is in the process, it's all very personal.
Scripts are included in the play, which invites the reader to come to conclusions on the text that may or may not agree with Stasio's arguments. If you love to go to the theatre, to read drama, or are just curious about the process of putting on a big-money show, this is well worth the read.