Results tagged “theater critic” from Drama Queen

Since it's making the rounds and I've received multiple queries asking what exactly went down, here's my take on the whole Media Theatre thing. And it was so calm around here for a while. 

Yes, Media artistic director Jesse Cline attempted to keep me from reviewing his production of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical. He then took time during his opening night curtain call to say, "There is a critic here who will probably trash this show." (He was right, but not for the reasons he elaborated. He thinks I hate melodrama; I don't. However, I did leave the production thinking Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical is a load of thick and greasy schmaltz, minus the nutritional value.) He came out to my seat in the audience to continue the discussion, loudly, while jabbing an accusatory finger at my friend and colleague, Jim Rutter (who--poor guy--was also at my left hand when I reviewed Love Jerry). Finally, the company used quotes from my review, out of context, to promote the production in question. So it goes.

But that's not really why I feel compelled to comment on what happened in Mr. Cline's theater. Unless his board of directors feels otherwise, it's Mr. Cline's pulpit, and if he wants to use it for bullying purposes, fine. My editors felt it best to leave out any mention of the incident, and that's also fine. My record with this particular theater shows that despite similar previous antics on their part, I've always reviewed them without bias.

No, my complaint is with Broad Street Review editor Dan Rottenberg, who published a review of the show by Rutter, then insulted him for his conclusions, lack of credentials and professionalism. What Cline did was childish and unprofessional; what Rutter did was his job. If Rottenberg doesn't like the content of Rutter's review, it's his job as editor to return the review for a rewrite, and explain where Rutter's logic doesn't work; having written for Rottenberg once before, I can attest to his willingness to send a journalist back to the drawing board, and make a review better for it. But it's certainly not his job to use one of his writers' articles, an article he's supposedly vetted for its coherence and readiness for viewing, as a springboard for his own attack on that writer. An editor is supposed to have your back, not stab you in it.

Rutter is most certainly a professional, as is evidenced not only by Rottenberg's and others' willingness to pay him for his reviews, but by his own education, experience and acceptance into and participation in the National Endowment for the Arts' Fellowship in Theatre and Musical Theatre. Mr. Rottenberg, I return to the question posed by you and Mr. Cline: Considering Rutter's history of effort of behalf of your publication, why would you want to hurt him?
October 21, 2010 11:59 AM | | Comments (2)
Okay, so I took a little "break" from blogging. In the interim, I watched newspapers slide even deeper into the abyss, got scared, wrote a bunch of reviews and features (one that required me to interview children's novelist Jerry Spinelli, which makes me an awfully cool mom), and applied--and was accepted to--graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. Isn't that what you do with your time off? And hey, maybe you didn't even notice I was gone, so it's all good. 

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In any case, I'm planning a blogging blitz this week, starting exactly tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, when the 2009 American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) holds its 36th annual conference this year in Sarasota, Florida. The organization is going with the circus metaphor, Sarasota being the home of John and Mable Ringling, but I think it's also a pretty appropriate location for a profession that's being forced into early retirement. I mean, Sarasota may be culturally ascendant--and certainly, it is one of the state's theater centers--but Florida didn't earn the nickname "death's waiting room" among my mishpucha for nothing. 

I'll be down there taking notes and passing them on to you. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone, I don't wanna get detention--detention for theater critics being some form of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, though not Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, because we'll be seeing that one voluntarily, and because I kind of like it.) I'll also be Twittering about the conference every chance I get, using the hashtag #ATCA (unless someone prefers that I just stick with #theatre), and hopefully with some input from you and from my esteemed colleagues. If you have any issues you'd like me to raise, by all means send them my way. And if you haven't signed up for Twitter yet but are online reading this blog entry, well, at this point you're just being perverse.

Alongside the theatrical smorgasbord and festive wine and dines or meet and greets, there will be much discussion about the state of theater criticism in this country. I fully expect this year's conference to be perhaps the most, um, critical in ATCA's entire history. Hope you'll join me.
April 27, 2009 11:32 AM |
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