I didn't check to see if any of these links still work....
Peoria was once a vaudeville haven, which is where the phrase "will it play in Peoria? If it'll play in Peoria, it'll play anywhere" came from. Known for it's super critical audiences, vaudeville entertainers always tested out their acts here before taking the show on the road.
In the early years of the 20th century, Peoria, Illinois, was a proving ground for new ideas and enterprises in the burgeoning entertainment field called vaudeville--so much so that the phrase, "How will it play in Peoria?" became a standard in the American vernacular. Eventually, the saying came to apply to everything from politics to fashion.
Will it play in Peoria ?
This famous question originated during Peorias highly successful vaudeville days. When a new live act or stage show was produced, it was soon booked into a Peoria theater. If it didnt receive a strong approval, according to Yester Days author Bill Adams, one of two things usually happened: The production was rewritten, recast, or otherwise improved, or it was canceled. It was believed that if a show could achieve the approval of the Peoria audience, it would be successful anywhere in the country.
President Nixons administration perpetuated the phrase, when John Ehrlichman used it when talking about campaigning in the Midwest. Ehrlichaman viewed Peoria as a model of the national norm. To this day Peoria is still used as a national test market for new products, a source for national political views and a measure of various national trends.
"It will never play in Peoria."
How Will it Play in Peoria?
Will It Play in Peoria?
It doesn't play in Peoria
"see if it will play in Peoria"