Podcast Episode 128 – The Chief Theater Critic for the Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones

If you’ve ever gotten a bad review (which means everyone who has ever worked in this business), then you’ve probably dreamed about what the theater would be like without critics.

When you listen to this podcast with Chris Jones from The Chicago Tribune, you’ll realize how that dream would quickly become a nightmare.

Since the days of Aristotle, critics have been criticized as much, if not more often than, the subjects they write about.  And this COC (“Criticism of the Critic”) has only increased in recent years, as their numbers have dwindled.  (Remember that time a certain NY Times critic was fired?)

When you hear Chris chat about the theater and his role in it, you’ll understand why he not only survived the last few years but has thrived in the age of the internet, and why the art form that we all care about so much (and sometimes I think critics are the ones who care the most), needs folks like him.

Tune in and hear Chris chat about:

  • The THREE words he has taped to his computer to remind him to do every time he writes a review.
  • His role as an “Out-Of-Town” expert and the biggest issue he sees with developing shows (writers take heed!).
  • What New York can learn from the Chicago theater scene and vice-versa.
  • How he deals with “Critic Fatigue.”
  • The role of the audience in the writer’s process (Ooooh, I loved his thoughts on this!).

Producers, writers, actors, designers . . . we sometimes think that critics are the enemy.  First, that’s not true. We’re all in this together.  We all want the same thing . . . great theater that audiences enjoy.  Second, even if they were our adversary . . . there’s always something to learn from that individual’s point of view.

And Chris can teach you a lot.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Chris!

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here

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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.