I don't find myself agreeing with Paul Mullin every day. In fact, it's kind of rare when we do see eye to eye. However, his most recent post, with an absolutely superb chunk of text from Rebecca Olson is spot on.
Rebecca's position actually reminds me a bit of something that Andrew Lazarow says, albeit from a different angle, which is that it's useful to see theatre as a retail transaction. You need to define for the audience what you are going to provide so that they can adequately make a choice about your production, and then you need to deliver the thing that you claim you are going to provide. At the end of the day, often audiences are going to be judging you against the criteria that you yourself have set up for them, so it's encumbent on you to communicate with them effectively.
To move a little further with the retail analogy ... the only retail establishment which tries to offer you some smidgen of every possible choice is WalMart. I don't hear anyone in the Seattle arts community (or any arts community, really) clamoring for more WalMarts at the expense of smaller specialized boutique stores. Why then should they expect me to be interested in theatres who are trying to turn themselves in to an artistic WalMart. For that matter, one of the ways in which WalMart succeeds is by homogonization and national resource and logistics consolidation. Does this remind anyone of our larger houses tendency to cast from New York? Why wouldn't they? It's much more efficient and allows them a much easier method of churning out the same tired cycle of crap that's happening in every other sad regional theatre in the country.
Of course, as with all analogies, it's not perfect, and at this point I've babbled on for too long. Suffice it to say that today I agreed with Paul Mullin, so I'm going to make the case that if we both agree on something, the chances of it being wrong are pretty slim.