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« Patti LuPone in Sweeney Todd a/k/a because Bob Anthony and WSC need a break | Main | ONE TOUCH OF VENUS »

Friday, 29 July 2005


jeffrey keenan

Read the link. Who exactly is John Tagliabue? He offers nothing in the way of aesthetic response.

There seem to be two kinds of critics anymore: those who act as postfact dramaturges, describing the dialogue, action, set and/or costumes in relation to (or sometimes not) what the critic believes to be the production’s intent. This person is often very learned and loves the sound of his own pen on paper. The second type tends to be the "this-is-the-[insert-superlative-here]-show-i've-seen-all-year" type who has little to no education or experience with the ideologies, philosophies or historical relevance of what they're reviewing. In the first case, the reader is left wondering more about the critic’s motives than the quality of the show, and in the second case, the reader is left with the hollow ringing of feint praise or damning derision—there’s no meat in that stew.

What ever happened to the knowledgeable, well-read, creatively articulate vessel who knew both the literature and the critical response to it, who knew the difference between a masterfully acting craftsman and a hollow cardboard cutout, who could summon the ghosts of the past and intermingle them with the voices echoing through his own head and create a fair and justified appraisal of the work being presented, from the playwright down to the dresser off stage right who didn’t quite get the leading ladies left shoe buckled prior to her hurried and stocking-bared entrance?

When Lloyd reviewed for the Post, she was never afraid to offer an opinion, regardless of how off-base that opinion was. Her reasoning may have been flawed, but at least she offered an intelligible through-line for the reader to follow. Peter, when he’s not in Manhattan, or when he deigns to descend from his perch to gaze disdainfully at the locals, often offers a piquant combination of the two schools listed above, though his droll favorites locally are already easily apparent even after such a short time on the job. Trey sometimes seems to be a little more preoccupied with the author’s intentions or his perceptions of those intentions than taking the whole into account. But, apart from the fact that his nickel pays for this delightful respite from reality, he is assuredly the best critic in the city. Bob isn’t far behind, but he perhaps pays too much attention to the opinions of those around him. Nelson is good, but what has he done for us lately? Patrick and Jolene, representing the ‘mos, are thoughtful if somewhat overly generous and Jane at least gets input weekly in the largest and most respected vehicle in the region. Brad Hathaway, Bob Anthony, and the other critics locally who don’t have as large an audience as some of the others do a fine job and really, isn’t the whole scene richer for having many voices represented? I think we forget sometimes that even if we’re called shit in six different ways, that’s six different opinions. Some places don’t even get one.

DC is doing pretty well along the lines of critics. Wouldn’t have believed that myself if I hadn’t just written the above. But I still don’t understand why you think John Tagliabue is so damn good?


Whoops. Actually, I meant this guy:

Mr. Fabre, speaking English, chided the press for not helping audiences comprehend less accessible works. "Help the public enter into the works," he said. "Don't destroy the works."


I liked that last sentence of the article as well. "Help the public enter the works..." That makes so much sense. If that's indeed what every critic aspires to, then can someone explain to me why Peter Marks has an article in this past Sunday's Arts section ranting about a show that already closed? What good does that do the public? Do we need to know how bad "The Blonde in the Thunderbird" was now that we can't even see it? That article was on the front page of the Arts section, while a lovely article about Eunice Wong (who ROCKS as Jenny Chow at Studio) was on the back. I shake my head in despair and disgust...

Dakota Boy

Peter Marks seems to have achieved in Washington what he failed to achieve in New York: become a Broadway theater critic. During his tenure at the NY times (1996-1999), he reviewed over 225 plays; everyone off-Broadway, I believe. But the Post hired themselves a "NY theater critic" and that is what they got: he spends more time in New York than Washington. With over 200 theater groups and over 1000 plays per year in the Washington, DC area, he hops the Metroliner to NY to find something worthy of his vituperation. The Post should have left him in NY. Broadway does not rush to the newstand the morning after an opening anxious to see "What did Peter say?" Rather Broadway yawns and says "Peter who?"


Oops! Need to correct my last post: Eunice Wong is playing Jennifer Marcus, not Jenny Chow--that's Mia Whang, who also rocks. Actually the whole cast rocks--if you haven't seen it yet--go!

Bob Anthony

Third and final act! I now have a hosted webpage...and it has a spell check and a "hit" recorder. It is AllArtsReview4u.com Already had 250 hits in only one day. Take that to the theatrical bank all of you tawdry neophytes.


You go, Bob! I'll read your website. And to hell with WSC!!!


Getting better but an editor, or even a concerned reader, would go a long way. I have to think, does Bob even read his own reviews? The errors seem so obvious....

"...at a Sunday monring brunch at Stubbs BBQ in Austin."

"...but the public couldn't get enoughof it and ..."

"The voices of all the cast members are outstanding and one hopes they will be seen again soon."

The spell check should've caught the first two, and even a halfass editor would've fixed the last.

I think there's no place for some of the meanness that people have thrown Bob's way, but he could protect himself a little better. Up your credibility with a double take on each review. Good luck, Bob....


This is a blog created by a theater critic. This is a blog created by a theater critic on which another theater critic has been savaged. This is a blog created by a theater critic on which another theater critic has been savaged and on which said savaged critic chooses to repeatedly defend himself.

Not that I'm enjoying reading cruel tripe, but there is something amusing about this.

I agree that those who critique other people's work should take extra care that their own work is above reproach; but people who revel in pointing out other people's mistakes lick wenis. They also tend to not have many friends.

Lana McCaffey

Ya'll go girl. Dis' trippin' fo' shyt yo!

Thondika Jenkins

Bob Anthony is a total weiner. Just because someone decides to self-publish their thoughts doesn't mean anyone else has to respect their home-spun (read: uneducated) opinions. He doesn't even put effort into correcting grammatical errors in his writing. It's sad and pathetic... that someone would scrimp and cower so much over his perceived self-identity.

And what is "250 Web hits." A "hit" is the loading of any image on a Web site -- not a word that indicates visitors -- so for all his yapping about how he was one of the first on the Web, he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about...

A "hit" is the most baseless measurement for online traffic for anyone that knows about the topic.

Further, correctly sloppy grammatical errors is something anyone should do out of their own self-respect -- not to mention putting some effort into the visual presentation of a Web site -- Bob's sucks and uses AOL's sad-sap "make your own homepage" software.

Bob, you need to can it -- because you're just someone who got bored one day and decided you wanted to matter for a reason for which you have no right to be wanted.

YOU'RE NOT EDUCATED ON THIS TOPIC ENOUGH TO BE A CRITIC -- though you obviously have every right to self-publish what you want. WSC is totally right to put you in your proper place:



to lick "wenis" is a bad thing? a lot of people love licking "wenis." weenies even moreso. or did you mean "penis?" oh shit, am i reveling in pointing out someone's mistake? god, i wish i had more friends.


"wenis" means elbow skin.


eh, friends are overrated. ;)


i stand corrected, luckyspinster, and happily so with a new "urban vocabulary" word. it wasn't in merriam-webster online, so i didn't believe it to be so.

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