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play to the gallery

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To direct a performance toward less sophisticated tastes; by extension, to attempt to gain approval by crude or obvious means: “The cast of the play was a decidedly mixed bag of youthful method actors and old hams who played to the gallery.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Other Idioms and Phrases with play to the gallery

play to the gallery

Appeal to spectators for maximum approval, as in He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery. In this term gallery refers to the cheapest seats in a British theater and hence the least sophisticated audience. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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