Dialing Up a Hit? Influence Over Musical Is in the Crowd’s Hands

Seven minutes into his new musical, “Somewhere in Time,” the Broadway producer Ken Davenport leapt off his stool at the back of the theater the other night, and began pointing. Not at the stage, but at a nearby laptop that showed — in a fever-chart line — the reactions of 60 audience members as they turned hand-held dials among three choices: “Love this part,” “Neutral about this part” and “Hate this part.” …

“The dials matched my instincts,” Mr. Davenport explained during intermission at Portland Center Stage here, where he was trying this system for the first time for the musical’s world premiere. … Thus dial testing, common in politics, television and movies, has now arrived in the theater. [cont.]

Patrick Healy, New York Times