"A new benchmark for dark-horseness".
Do you mean a show that some people might have thought would be a dark horse in awards races or something that now has clearly turned out not to be the case?
Or do you mean it was so well-received it looks to be some kind of front runner or something?
From where I sit, a lot of these more important notices seem to be damning with faint praise -
"confident", "crowd-pleaser", "economical", "simple", "refreshing", "feel-nice" "positive", "heartwarming", "well-meaning", "entertaining", "smarter than it first appears" -
each of those the main adjective from a separate favorable write-up -
these hardly seem like the kind of money reviews that would indicate some sort of real competition to "Dear Evan Hansen" or "The Great Comet" (or, I have a suspicion, either "Groundhog Day" or "Anastasia").
No doubt their ad agency will be able to whip up some terrific ads, with phrases that dig deeper than one word -
and, in answer to a comparison somewhere below, I do in fact expect this show to do somewhat better than "Hands on a Hardbody"...
but based on these reviews, while they're overall thumbs-up to be sure, a Hamilton-style or Kinky Boots/Matilda-type juggernaut it is not.
I enjoyed it though, I hope it has a run in it.