Friday, June 23, 2017

Some theaters say they will no longer invite Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss to openings

The Chicago Tribune reports:
Being a critic can be a difficult business, not to mention being the one critic that some Chicago theaters say they will no longer invite to review their shows.

Hedy Weiss is the longtime theater and dance critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and a regular on-air contributor to WTTW-Ch. 11's "Chicago Tonight." In the last week, a petition calling on theaters to stop inviting Weiss to productions in the wake of her June 13 review of "Pass Over" at Steppenwolf Theatre has garnered more than 3,500 signatures.

The petition at was created by a group of local artists calling itself the Chicago Theater Accountability Coalition, which claims 70 of the city's 200-some theaters have agreed not to offer Weiss complimentary tickets to review a show (part of a longstanding and common arrangement between theaters and arts presenters and members of the media covering their work, including the Tribune). After suggesting the names of those theaters would be released this week, co-founder Sasha Smith said Thursday her group is not planning to release the list because "at this point it is just already public knowledge (which theaters stand with the coalition), and the list keeps growing and expanding day by day, so at this point it's sort of a moot point to release one specific list."

Some theaters have posted public statements about their positions on the controversy. Steep Theatre representatives announced on Facebook they will suspend offering complimentary tickets to Weiss, reversing a decision theater leadership made more than a month ago when they were asked by members of the arts community to stop inviting her to their productions. Artistic Director Peter Moore said the company revisited the issue after the "Pass Over" review and determined "it's a stance that we felt we needed to take." He added that the theater may reconsider its position if Weiss responds to the criticism.
Leftist actors : wanting a participation trophy.