The Playgoer: Summer Smokiness?

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Summer Smokiness?

The astute Mr. Excitement notices something about today's Ben Brantley rave of Hartford Stage's "Summer and Smoke" that totally escaped me. It's the second review the Times has published of the production in one week. Apparently the first one (by Anita Gates) wasn't good enough?

This is hardly scandalous and I suspect no sinister motives. Many of us often call for a return to the days of a paper publishing multiple reviews from different perspectives. Also--to don my pro-regional theatre awareness hat--we should be grateful the Times is going out to Hartford at all, let alone twice!

But I do agree with Mark that something does seem a wee bit fishy about the sequence. One has to wonder about the clout of Hartford Stage's press rep's. Or of whatever silent partners they may have providing enhancement funds for a possible B'way transfer.

ADDENDUM: For what it's worth, the Times does label Brantley's piece today not as a review but "Critic's Notebook." An acknowledgement of something, at least.

UPDATE (9/18): Much Ado About Nothing? Mr. Excitement gets clarification from Hartford Stage, and sounds like our conspircacy theories got the best of us. So read for yourself. Personally, I find the most revealing news to come out of this is the Times does do regular "regional" reviewing after all! But what you can't tell from the website (where all reviews are together under "Theatre") is how in the print edition they're relegated to the "metro" sections under Connecticut and NJ. What's up with that?

My hunch is that the print-version of the "Arts" section is aimed at a "national" audience. (i.e. So it'll be the same in any airport or hotel across the country.) But ironically, productions outside of NYC are supposedly of less "national" interest than New York shows. Yes, we know why, but just ponder the logic of that...

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