Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"No Theatre Is Entitled To Coverage"

Courtesy of a comment on Don Hall's Angry Guy in Chicago Blog, comes this little article about the Chicago Reader cutting back on theatre coverage.

It seems the local alt-weekly was swallowed by a larger shop and now the publication is being designed out of town.

Albert Williams, the Reader's Chief Critic, is handing over the reviewing assignment duties to Laura Molzahn (as the article's author Carrie Kaufmann reports):

Though he is not assigning reviewers anymore, Williams was not fired. He is still on staff as chief critic. And he’s not unhappy about not having to juggle opening nights.

“I’m relieving myself of a lot of administrative stuff,” Williams
said.Part of the “administrative stuff” since about this past March was explaining to theatres why they couldn’t be reviewed. As recently as a year ago, Williams was assigning anywhere from 10 to 18 reviews a week. (The number varies depending on whether you talk to Molzahn or Williams.) In any case, it insured that virtually every theatre in the city was covered in The Reader.

But all of that ink—and pay to freelance writers—cost a lot of money. And The Reader finally got some competition, with the advent of Craig’s List and the entry of TimeOut Chicago to the market two and a half years ago. Now, said Williams, “No theatre is entitled to coverage.”

Molzahn won’t say how many new theatre reviews The Reader will run each week, only that it will be fewer and that it will vary from week to week.

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