Confusing headline and capitalization leads to hopes raised, then dashed

December 6, 2012

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

I read the following under the headline, Behind a Flop, a Play(wright) Within a Play”:

A stroll down West 45th Street in the theater district is all it takes to understand the contradictory fortunes facing David Mamet, for years the heavyweight of bare-knuckled American playwrights, as well as the producers who believe that loyalty to the writer makes good business sense.

At the Schoenfeld Theater is Mr. Mamet’s latest box-office hit: A revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” his Pulitzer Prize-winning crowd-pleaser from 1984 about an office of desperately scheming salesmen. The producers are charging up to $377 a ticket simply on the drawing power of their star, Al Pacino, even before its official opening this weekend.

My first thought was, Cool! Mamet wrote a new play called “A revival of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’” with a play within a play.

My second thought was, No way am I paying $377 a ticket for this. Too bad it’s not more reasonably priced.

Then I read the article more carefully and realized that Mamet’s latest box-office hit is not “A revival of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’” but rather is merely a revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Not so interesting at all.

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