Nov 28, 2014

What Happened to StageGrade

You may have been wondering what happened to the review-aggregating site I created with Isaac Butler in 2010. I can spell out the saga in relatively simple terms, with links to help you connect the dots.

Step 1: Create blog with fellow theater junkie to aggregate all reviews of all New York plays and musicals, assign them grades, and average said grades, a la Metacritic.

Step 2: Turn blog into an actual consumer website,, with help and investment from existing company in related theatrical field. Change the grading math to median (more reflective of consensus). Add a consumer-review section, a la Yelp. Do this for a few years on a strictly volunteer basis, until…

Step 3: Company partner, no longer up for hosting the site, decides to look for a buyer. Sells it to a theatrical producer/entrepreneur who ostensibly sees, and can help realize, its potential as a money-making business. One possible red flag: Said producer/entrepreneur already has his own site with a similar aim (but quite a different methodology).

Step 4: Watch site crash and lose years of unique data and sweat equity (a loss shared, it should be noted, with several other volunteer graders). Site’s new owner seems oddly uninterested in fixing it, or in selling it back for non-extortionate terms. Coup de grace: The url now redirects to his own review-aggregating site.

Step 5: Feel heart break.