"People want laughter when they see a show.
"The last thing they're after's litany of woe."
trope, but could be applied to other media.
People who are attempting to get a big break with a musical that they are involved in, usually in a writing capacity, are often advised that they should do something funny, or light at the very least, because Serious Business
doesn't sell without a creator's reputation to give people an incentive to go.
Shows that have succeeded as a result of this trope
Shows that have flopped as a result of this trope
- Les Misérables: Thenadiers aside, this is probably the number one aversion. The professional reviews of its debut bashed it for being far too gloomy, claiming It Will Never Catch On. Word of mouth from the rest of the audience, however...
- Elisabeth: Even the sweet, innocent songs at the beginning ("Wie Du", for example) have horribly dark reprises later. To think of it that way, there are no happy or lighthearted songs in the entire musical — the happiest moment is when the title character dies.
- Inverted in-universe in Finding Neverland: James' producer thinks theater-goers will pay to see only serious works, and thinks the idea of a fanciful play about children is ridiculous. The aversion is somewhat justified, in that James has to bring orphans to the play to laugh at it in order to get the adults to be receptive.
- Next To Normal.