There’s no finer pedigree than the O’Neill for the incremental incubation of new work. Plays and musicals are taken apart and reassembled like puzzles.
Some material arrives with the problems baked it. New songs, more clarity in corrected storytelling scene by scene can smooth out confusing moments and sharpen others theatrically. But some stories are conceptually flawed, or at least the wrong premise for extended dramatization. Development often improves the craft but can’t make audiences invest. Sometimes even with fraught, intense plotting the relatable stakes are mysterlously lacking.
I always say, an unsuccessful show can be built on a lot of earnest effort. A playwright was asked : “Is it hard to write a good play?” His answer: “Honey, it’s hard to write a bad play.” Work doesn’t guarantee results.