Play in peoria

verb phrase

To succeed in areas distinct from such foci of power as Washington and New York or the Northeast in general: When you’re under a deadline, it’s hard to judge what will play in Peoria

[1970s+; fr the theater sense of play, to succeed on the stage; perhaps echoing Harold Ross’s criterion that he wanted The New Yorker to appeal to ”a little old lady in Peoria”]
Be acceptable to the average consumer or constituent. For example, We’ve tested this new soup in several markets, but will it play in Peoria? This expression originated among touring theater companies trying to make sure their productions would win favor in America’s heartland, symbolized by the small city of Peoria, Illinois.


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