The Final Word

Ok, this is the last time I'll mention Dance Dance Revolution, I promise, unless it somehow manages to show up in a theater near me (hint, Philly, hint).

What I want to know is why--despite the fact that the show is sold out for the rest of its run--there are no reviews anywhere (New York: step up your game ASAP) except this sort of breathless and kind of confused one on Controlgeek, a blog about theater technology? Just asking. I mean, if people were wondering why theater criticism seems increasingly irrelevant, I dunno, I'd say the entire print media and internet dropping the ball on this one is probably a pretty good example. 

(Below: Dance Dance star Van Hansis, whom you might--or might not--know better as Luke of As the World Turns' Luke and Noah, and whose first kiss garnered for the soap a positively foamy million-and-a-half hits on YouTube.)

Puffy previews are great for getting the word out, and there were a couple of those (here and here), but when the rubber hit the road, you'd think there'd at least be some smoke, or skid marks left behind, or at the very least an acrid odor, not just, you know, an empty can of Bud tossed out the back window (beer, by the way, is free during performances). Maybe there was some "no critics allowed" thing going on that I'm not aware of, and if so, well okay, maybe that would explain the lack of reviews, but certainly not the lack of "Les Freres Corbusier Ban Critics" stories. I'm just hoping the deficit has a real explanation and it isn't that everyone was so busy running from A Christmas Carol to Radio City Music Hall that they missed out on all that free beer and those half-naked actors (their advertising, not mine) over at the Ohio Theatre.

UPDATE: Thanks to Liz Gorinsky for pointing me to her review of the show, which Google somehow missed. A great example of why long reviews were so much fun to write, back in the days when they used to exist, and of the web's usefulness in filling in the information gap when the official channels are closed.

December 14, 2008 10:03 PM | | Comments (4)


I don't know though, they allowed pre-show coverage, and when Alex Timbers was interviewed he never said anything about its being a work in progress (at least not in the Village Voice article). I think if tickets are sold and the run is publicized as a full-scale production--not a workshop--then coverage really becomes a matter of journalism rather than arts advocacy. And that is also where I see blogs taking the lead, as they operate in a murky territory between official and unofficial reporting. Perhaps a full-throttle review wouldn't be appropriate, but certainly some commentary on the event would do the job of informing readers without necessarily damaging LFC's process. And hey, it might even help.

Well, maybe... but from what I was told, the show isn't ready to be reviewed. I feel like any covert coverage would have been unhelpful... why analyze a show for a large public readership when it isn't finished, you know? It seems like that could damage the creative process needed to complete the material. I think an ambitious freelancer would be better served seeing the show and then privately contacting the company to see if they'd like to start a dialogue about it. If the company says yes, then a great dramaturgical conversation could commence. If they say no, then at least the critic has lots of insights for the show's official opening.

Thanks Mark, that explains the lack of print reviews. But wouldn't you think this is where internet reviewers would come in handy? I mean, there must be at least a hundred theater bloggers in Manhattan alone, and for an event of that magnitude (weren't there, like, 50-something dancers and a Thunderdome cage?) to open and disappear almost unreported seems to me like a missed opportunity for a stealth reviewer or ambitious but as-yet-unafilliated freelancer.

Hey Wendy,

DDR was closed to review. Otherwise, I'm sure there'd be reams of reports. Lord knows!

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