May 16, 2019

Lately I’ve been thinking of the changing landscape of writing theater reviews.

1. Over the past year or two, we have experienced a notable reduction in the number of reviews published in the local daily newspaper.

2. In January I attended a conference where I participated on a panel with the publisher of a dance magazine and we debated the future of print publications.

3. Earlier this week I led a workshop on writing theater reviews with a musical theater class at a local high school and I was surprised to learn that the vast majority of these young artists in training prefer print to digital publications.

What, first of all, is the purpose of a review? Despite what some may think, it is NOT to allow a snarky writer a platform to show off his or her voluminous vocabulary while tearing down the latest stage production. One definition found online describes a theater review as “a subjective and educated response” to a piece of theater. It should help an interested reader know a little, but...

February 13, 2019

When I first moved here from New York more than twenty years ago, my friends in New York were shocked. How could I give up all that New York had to offer for. . .well, for whatever it was there was in Richmond? Well, it didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t losing anything in terms of theater, as I soon found that Richmond has a thriving and high quality theater community. However, I can’t say the same about the dance community.

Before I address that potentially explosive statement, allow me to take a moment to digress on the “community” aspect of the RVA theater community. People know me as a reviewer or critic (a word I don’t care for, as it sounds as if my job is to find fault, rather than share, explain, discuss, educate, or question – but that’s a whole ‘nother topic).

In my NY experience, reviewers were not usually embraced by the theater community. Not so in RVA. In May 2018 I had two surgeries, six days apart. The second procedure, a spinal fusion, left me immobile for six we...

January 16, 2019

Wow! What a treat! I’ve been living, working, and attending shows of all kinds in Richmond for more than 20 years, but this was the first time ever attending a backer’s showing – a production held for the purpose of attracting investors. (I can’t really count the Quill Theatre’s fall 2018 production of GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!  which is presented in the format of a backer’s showing.) The taste of JC Gonzalez’ new pop-rock opera, WARM, makes me eager to see and hear the finished production.

The premise certainly isn’t entirely original: three teenaged runaways find each other and create their own community on the streets of Los Angeles. It reeks of RENT, the 1996 pop-rock musical about impoverished young artists surviving on the streets of New York, under the shadow of the rising AIDS epidemic. It should come as no surprise that WARM’s creator, Gonzalez, has lived in both New York City and Los Angeles, and has played the role of Angel, the young drag queen in RENT. For some, WARM may also...

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