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January 16, 2009

The End Is Near? Artistic Directors Defend Theater Critics.

You know things have gotten dire when artistic directors speak up, publicly and in unison, in defense of imperiled theater critics.

Alas, things in Los Angeles are indeed dire -- more so there than in the rest of the country, which is saying something. Drama critics in L.A. have been laid off recently at a pace sufficient to alarm the Geffen Playhouse's Gilbert Cates, the Pasadena Playhouse's Sheldon Epps, and Center Theatre Group's Michael Ritchie. Thus the letter they delivered to the Los Angeles Times yesterday. "It's time for us to speak up," they write, going on to call theater critics and criticism "an essential and indispensible part of the larger conversation that must take place in any vibrant community."

They argue:

If we let these voices slowly and quietly disappear, the consequences are simple and inevitable: fewer people will know about the productions, fewer people will purchase tickets, and eventually, fewer theaters will exist.

This will have a damaging effect on the theater community but it will also be detrimental to the soul and the cultural life of Los Angeles. ... To understate the importance of theater in Los Angeles by marginalizing the voices of those who bring these discussions to the public arena is shortsighted and irresponsible.
January 16, 2009 3:48 PM | | Comments (0)

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