The Playgoer: Heilpern leaves Observer

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Heilpern leaves Observer

Another NYC critic is off the beat.

But this time, not because of cuts. John Heilpern is just apparently sick of writing for the weekly New York Observer.

Reported Riedel this week:

My hunch is that Heilpern, an elegant, erudite and delightfully WASPish critic, wasn't too pleased that his reviews were being cut down to make room for short, punchy showbiz items.
Perhaps because of the paper's low circulation or Heilpern's less-regular-column, he rarely made an impact. But I for one usually enjoyed his brazen fisticuffs-criticism, especially when it came to lambasting timid nonprofit theatres.

And speaking of his combative tone:
"I wish the paper all the best," says Heilpern. "I don't want to be too negative about the 12-year-old owner, Jared Kushner, but as my ma and pa from Manchester, England, used to say, 'That boy couldn't run a chip shop.' "
For the record Kushner is 28.

According to Riedel, the Observer will thankfully not eliminate the position: "Heilpern's being replaced by two critics. One will be Jesse Oxfeld, a former Gawker editor who has written about theater for New York magazine. The other has yet to be named."

Unemployed theatre critics...start your engines.

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