play to the gallery

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Related to plays to the gallery: play fast and loose

play to the gallery

To act, behave, or perform in such a way as to receive as much approval from an audience or spectators as one can get, especially the lowest common denominator among them. I wish the band played more of their new material and didn't just play to the gallery with their greatest hits the whole night. Rather than acting in a way that best suits the role and the play as a whole, he prefers to play to the gallery and soak up the spotlight when he can. As the lecture plodded along, I could feel my eyelids getting heavy.
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

 and play to the crowd
to perform in a manner that will get the strong approval of the audience; to perform in a manner that will get the approval of the lower elements in the audience. John is a competent actor, but he has a tendency to play to the crowd. When he made the rude remark, he was just playing to the gallery.
See also: gallery, play

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]
See also: gallery, play

play to the gallery

If someone such as a politician plays to the gallery, they say things to impress the public and make themselves popular, instead of dealing seriously with important matters. Others were reluctant to allow TV cameras into the House of Commons, because they feared that some members would play to the gallery. Her refusal to play to the gallery eventually won her the respect of her people. Note: The gallery in a theatre is a raised area like a large balcony, that usually contains the cheapest seats. In the past, the poorest and least educated people sat there. Actors and other performers found it easier to get applause from them than from the other members of the audience.
See also: gallery, play