Saturday, September 03, 2011

Arizona Critic Banned From Dinner Theater!

On the Stage Door Phoenix blog, theater critic Kerry Lengel of the Arizona Republic is sad, (sort of,) to report that "the workload got a little lighter."

Apparently, a local dinner theater had enough of negative reviews and sent off a dispatch to the editors:

“After receiving a very tough review of ‘Seussical' earlier this year that we feel was taken out of context and the recent omission of our theater in the Fall Arts Preview, the Prather family has asked the editors and Kerry Lengel of The Arizona Republic to no longer review our shows...Although we respect Kerry's opinion of the shows we produce, we can no longer afford unjust criticism of the time, talent and energy it goes into producing professional live theater year round in Mesa that employs hundreds and entertains thousands."

Here is Lengel, who seems more amused than outraged:

In theory, I could test the Broadway Palm's resolve by buying my own ticket and daring them to toss me out, but that is definitely not my style, and the theater is, after all, a private, for-profit company. If a major player like Phoenix Theatre or Arizona Theatre Company, which receive government funding, tried to ban the newspaper's critic, our reaction would be very different. But as a matter of general practice, if a local theater does not wish to be reviewed, I am happy to honor that preference.

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