Let’s get ready to rumble, Marsha Norman and Frank Rich!

A healthy fight emerged about the power of critics in the modern theater on a NY Times blog a week or so ago.

In this corner, Marsha “Night Mother” Norman!

And in this corner, Frank “Butcher of Broadway” Rich!

(I’ll refrain from telling you what color trunks they were wearing and what they were weighing in at.)

My feeling about critics today?

They’re like aging mob bosses.  They had huge amounts of power at one point, but that power and influence is waning.  The FEDs have got them in their sights.  And some of them are just acting crazy in order to get insanity defenses.

Even though their fedoras are fading, unfortunately, there will always be some people that these ex-Godfathers can extort.

My advice?  If what you’re fighting for is popular in your “neighborhood” then hold your ground.  Stick.  And don’t let them scare you.  Eventually they’ll go off and bother somebody else.

Remember (especially when you get a bad review), there’s a new newspaper every day.

But be careful.  There is a new Dapper Don in town.

Who is he?


The user is the Ben Brantley of tomorrow.  Pay very special attention to your User Reviews.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.