Tuesday, March 11, 2008

There Will Be Violins: Frank Talk

There Will Be Violins: Frank Talk

Somehow, I completely missed this, but nothing gets by the ever-sharp eye of Esther at Gratuitous Violins.

She takes on one of my all-time favorite theatre critics, Frank Rich, for this comment at last week's discussion of August: Osage County, sponsored by The New York Times:
By the way, many of the most vicious reviews are written on theater blogs, and they can’t be stopped either.
I'm with you, Esther. I don't read too many blogger reviews that are outright vicious, and in fact, I think the one critic out there who seems to take the most glee in being so is none other than the Grey Lady's current lead critic.

But I will say this: I miss the days before Mr. Rich transferred over to the Op-Ed pages. Not because I'm upset by what he has to write over there, but because as a theatre lover, I felt that I had a kindred spirit writing reviews for other theatre lovers. "Butcher of Broadway," indeed.

Those were the days, and they were rich.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 12 March, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Steve, wow! You are so sweet. Thank-you very much for the very kind shoutout. I'm blushing, I'm blushing! (And really, a lot does get by me. But luckily, everyone on your list of daily reads approaches theater blogging with a slightly different twist, which is great.)

I thought Frank Rich's comment was really kind of mean-spirited. It just struck me as so unfair and not at all reflective of the passion and enthusiasm and expertise that I found when I started reading theater blogs. I've learned so much from everyone.

Yours was the first theater blog I ever read, and from the very beginning I was struck by your enthusiasm and professionalism. Even when you don't like a show, you're always fair and respectful and thoughtful.

And the other bloggers on your blogroll are the same way. No one is doing this to be vicious. No one writes a theater blog because they hate the theater!

At 12 March, 2008, Blogger jan@broadwayandme said...

Steve, kudos to you and Esther for speaking up for us theater bloggers. Broadwaystars.com has picked up this item for its summary of important stories of the day, proof in itself that theater bloggers, you preeminent among us, really do matter. From one theater lover to another, many thanks.

At 12 March, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On one hand, I agree that this is a case of "The pot calling the kettle black", but it is true that in this internet age, shows get panned and butchered even before the first preview.

At 12 March, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, I agree that the Internet makes it possible for a show to be reviewed many times over, almost before the first preview is performed.

Yet I think there's the casual blogger who writes about anything and everything ranging from what they ate in the morning to the show they saw in the evening, and then there's the loose-knit theatre blogging community that prides itself on self-policing and thoughtful review.

To Jan's point, the latter category writes about theatre because it's a passion. We love the theatre, as Esther points out.

And for the record, I appreciated the fact that Frank Rich acknowledged blogging at all. I admire the man and his talents tremendously and miss his voice when it comes to the shows I see.


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