StageGrade provides an important public service for New York theatre-goers: it assembles reviews of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway shows, providing a synopsis, an average grade, and links to the reviews themselves. The site is attractive and easy to navigate.
One of StageGrade's most interesting features is the way it pairs reviewer and community ratings. Some are identical--for example, Mary Poppins received C+'s from both groups. Some differ in predictable ways--for example, Wicked received a C+ from critics but a B+ from audience members. Some differ in surprising ways--for example, Through the Night received a B+ from reviewers but only a C from the community. And some I think could be (should be?) of particular use to producers--for example, while the critics gave Phantom of the Opera a B, community response is down to C+. Perhaps it's time for some extra rehearsals or a visit from director Harold Prince.
StageGrade carries advertising and links to Telecharge. I have no idea if the site makes enough money to pay its staff of four (Rob Weinert-Kendt, Isaac Butler, Karl Miller, and Linda Buchwald) even minimum wage. However, I hope StageGrade does very well--the staff members obviously work hard keeping up this comprehensive site.
StageGrade's most important contribution to the theatre world? It provides a wonderful and vivid reminder that reviews are ultimately just opinions--ideally, knowledgeable and educated opinions, but opinions nevertheless.
(Disclosure: my reviews are often included on StageGrade.)