It's About Times
Your observations of recent changes at the Los Angeles Times in your Feb. 27 column contained several errors or distortions of fact. First, theatre reviews still appear in Thursday's Calendar Weekend section, although not on a regular basis. The bulk of our reviews of small theatre productions now appear in Friday's Calendar section. Theatre reviews—and feature stories—regularly appear on the front page of our Daily Calendar section when the shows merit such attention. Do the photos always run on the front page? No. But they also don't always run with pop music reviews, dance reviews, classical music reviews, television reviews, film reviews, or architecture reviews.
It has not been more than two years since Michael Phillips left the Times; he left in January 2002.
Finally, your readers should know that for more than five years, Sean Mitchell—whom you called a "film reporter"—was theatre critic for The Dallas Times Herald and later served as that paper's critic at large. For nearly two decades, he has reported on theatre and the arts, as well as film and television. He is also a recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for distinguished drama criticism and served on a jury for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Los Angeles Times
ROB KENDT replies: Yeah, sorry—it just seems like two years since Michael Phillips left (he announced his departure in November 2001, as I recall). And if Sean Mitchell has such stellar credentials, why isn't he your new lead critic?
Smug and Smugger
I was more than a little bothered when I read Rob Kendt's most recent column, regarding Glengarry Glen Rose at Actors Workout Studio. Normally his name-dropping and glibness are just mildly irritating, but, for God's sake, why the disparagement of a production without even having seen it—and a workshop production to boot?
I am saddened by intellectually and physically lazy individuals, like Kendt, who decide to weigh in on an issue without having done adequate research, opining in a bitchy, "Hey, aren't I clever?" way. If you want to disparage something, at least have the decency to see it first so that you know what you're talking about. Perhaps you should just return to dropping names and telling us who you saw before they were famous (whoop di doo)—that at least doesn't do damage to the efforts of the actors and directors who are using the workshop process to try something to see if it might work. That is what artists are supposed to do: make the attempt. Sometimes they fail miserably and sometimes they succeed wildly, but they shouldn't be cut off at the knees by someone who's trying to look superior but just seems to me unjustifiably smug.
I think you owe them an apology and a visit to their production, unless you're too busy seeing something where you can be seen with "Spider-Man and hobbits" and whoever else is hot this week.