Podcast Episode 88 – New York Times Theater Critic, Charles Isherwood.

Many have claimed that the theater critic’s days are numbered.  And while there’s no disputing that the profession has seen some serious shrinkage in the past ten or so years, it’s my opinion that well written theatrical criticism will never go out of style.  And it shouldn’t.

Our planet, our political system, and our industry works best when there is a series of checks and balances.  And intelligent and educated critics who are passionate enough about the theater to see as much of it as they do, and offer their opinions on why a certain show deserves to be seen (or why it doesn’t) is necessary.

And on this week’s podcast, I just so happen to have one of those intelligent and educated critics (who just also happens to be one of the most powerful critics on the planet).

Charles Isherwood has been working at The Old Gray Lady for over a decade now, reviewing shows all over town (and the country).  He sees hundreds of shows per year.  Hundreds.  You try that sometime . . . and then try to write a logical, coherent, and entertaining article about it.  (What we forget about critics is that not only do they have to be super schooled in the theater . . . but they also have to be great writers – and whether you agree with Charles or not, no one can dispute his way with a few hundred words.)

Charles was generous enough to sit down with me and chat about the state of theatrical criticism and all sorts of other stuff, including:

  • Why we’ll never go back to making reviewers review the opening night performance.
  • What he thinks when he sees a quote from one of his reviews splashed on a marquee.
  • Why Writers should NOT read his reviews.
  • What he’s looking forward to this season.
  • How he responds to “hate mail.”

And my favorite part of this podcast . . . was how many times Charles made me laugh.


Click here to listen.

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.