Artistic Risks

People often talk about the need for artists—all kinds of artists—to take risks. Musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, etc. are often lauded for their failures, as long as the effort pushes the envelope. But risk-taking artists require risk-taking audiences for their out-of-the-box work.

Some theater fans only go to big, popular, shows with great reviews. I LOVED ‘Hamilton’ so it’s not like I avoid the hottest shows on Broadway, but, more often than not, I try to see shows with ‘buzz’ before they open. That means I get to make up my mind before the reviews come out. This means I’ve seen some incredible shows ‘first’ and some that didn’t survive a week after opening night.

Some of the short runs were artistic risks that failed and some were just plain awful. I’d put ‘Enron’ (a London hit/Broadway flop) about the spectacular financial scandal, in the first category, because it was unconventional and weird. ‘Hamilton’ is an example of a successful artistic risk.

Although record-breaking box office receipts are driven by big hits and long-running musicals, theater—as a living art form as well as entertainment—needs audience members willing to buy a ticket and risk sitting through a flop. * All the arts need risk-taking patrons and I’ve discovered that it’s OK to dislike an exhibit at a museum, the lead singer in a band, a film and even a book!

The solitary nature of reading makes it easy to take reader-risks. I routinely read outside my comfort zone and sometimes I enjoy it. I don’t make myself finish a book that feels like torture, but I give each book a solid try. When you take a risk and pick up a science fiction book (fantasy, romance, suspense, etc.) you don’t have to convince a friend to join you. Just download it, borrow it from the library…. And become a risk-taker.

Read on the edge!


*Yes, I have walked out during an intermission. And yes, I’ve scampered out as fast as possible, mystified by a standing ovation awarded at the end of a lousy show. It’s OK to disagree with the rest of the audience, really. It’s even OK to hate a major bestselling book or a work of ‘great literature.’

Broadway needs risk takers in the audience. So do writers of all kinds!

Broadway needs risk takers in the audience. So do writers of all kinds!


  1. Read on the edge! I like that 🙂 The same goes for movies too. I had no read desire to see Deadpool this weekend, so kind of talked my way out of the Friday night showing only to have the significant other tell me he wouldn’t mind seeing it again. We went to a matinee on Monday and it was great. Lots of layering, something for everyone. I like how the character breaks the “fourth wall” and addresses the audience too. It was a good movie risk outside my normal tastes.

    • Candy Korman

      Read outside your norm! Go to the movie that might not be great. And, most of all, be able to dislike what you are supposed to like. That’s a biggie for a lot of people. I understand it. It’s hard to dislike the book (movie, show, work of art, etc.) that you are told is good. I’m always surprised by how many people talk themselves into enjoying something because it’s critically acclaimed or popular. One of my friends disliked a popular movie and she thinks she has to see it a second time because she must have missed something. Perhaps the hype raised her expectations and it couldn’t live up them?

      Anyway… let’s all READ ON THE EDGE!

  2. What a great catch phrase! When I was in my teens I read through some pretty boring books [I bought second hand hardcovers coz paperbacks were still rare-ish], but I also discovered some wonderful stories that started slow and ended with me in tears [literally. It was called ‘The Woodcarver of Lympus’. Can’t remember the author sadly].

    These days though, I’m actually less adventurous in some ways. I still try and give each book a decent trial but there are many that I don’t finish as well. I think it falls under the heading of ‘life’s too short to be miserable’.

    • Candy Korman

      Life is too short to be miserable when you are reading, BUT… life is also short of sure bets in all the arts.
      Let’s read on the edge and support that off-beat title, weird experimental theater piece… it could be the next Hamilton, because it’s THAT good!