Thursday, March 17, 2011

And here's to the other side of the coin: the great PR people in our midst

Now seems a good time to say that not everybody in the Boston theatre scene is conspiring to destroy critical integrity. Some people, in fact, do just the opposite. I know it isn't easy to take a bad review and then smile at the critic responsible at the next opening night and say "So good to see you!" But some folks still understand that's part of the job, and they somehow carry it off with style. So even if these people hate me behind my back, I have to say I admire them, and they make my life infinitely easier than it otherwise would be.

The list of great publicists in the Boston theatre world is a long one, but I'd still like to take a moment to recognize a few of them. (All these people should have won IRNEs by now, in my opinion, if a PR category existed!)  At SpeakEasy Stage, Jim Torres is practically a star himself after years of dedicated service, and deservedly so; there simply isn't a nicer or more conscientious guy around.  Meanwhile, at the Huntington, Rebecca Curtiss always makes me feel welcome (even when I'm sure a sane person would want to kick me to the curb).  And at the New Rep, Gia Podobinski is unfailingly professional and unbelievably sweet.  I'm also always impressed with Dan Berube at the Merrimack, and I just get a kick out of Joyce Linehan's friendly, but no-nonsense, attitude at ArtsEmerson.  So here's to you, guys. Press contacts just don't get any better.


  1. from the addled old bat:
    - I only wrote to Garvey once, when he panned Gatz after leaving at intermission (and yes, it was all in caps)
    - I have never met Shawn LaCount, so I could not have influenced him in any way. Though we did correspond recently during the exchange with numerous members of the theatre community, whereby a letter was written requesting Garvey's removal from the committee for his unprofessional and insulting behavior towards members of the artistic community (but never sent because he was removed from the committee before we sent it) and the 8 signing companies included Speakeasy and New Rep. Happy to share the letter with you if you wish.

    This note only scratches the surface of the multitude of incorrect and false statements you make. But enough already.

  2. Well, nice to hear from the belfry! I'm sorry to hear you dragged SpeakEasy and the New Rep down to your level; I admit I was foolish enough to think better of them; perhaps I'll take them off my reviewing list. Kudos to you, though, for throwing them under the bus. And I do love statements like "I never met Shawn LaCount - we just worked separately and I only talked to him on the phone at the end, so there!" I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean in ethical terms, but thanks for clearing up the time line, I guess. Shawn, I owe you an apology: you were NOT Kati's patsy; you've just been a jerk independently. I do want to point out, however, Kati, that you don't even bother denying that you've spent weeks - actually, months - bullying and harassing a critical organization which clearly did not agree with your assessment of my behavior (as they successfully repulsed a similar attempt by you last year). And just for your information - although I'm not sure you're bright enough to appreciate this distinction - I did resign; the committee did not "remove" me. (Nice try, though!) I realize you live in some kind of dreamland where my ridicule of your boss's ethics and your theatre's low quality should disqualify me as a reviewer (and where you're surrounded by people who bow to Harvard's money and power, and so agree with you). But alas, the fact is that you remain a blight on the landscape, you and your boss are cut from the same ethical cloth, and if you think I'll ever stop saying so, you're highly mistaken. I mean seriously - how could I ever describe you accurately WITHOUT insulting you? Get real.

  3. But I have to add - I'm getting emails curious as to the letter's contents. If you're truly "happy to share it," you can always email it to, just like it says in the sidebar.

  4. Has Ms. Mitchell shared the letter as she offered?

  5. No, of course not. The really amusing thing is that several of the theatres that supposedly signed it have sinced asked if I'd still be willing to review them! (I'm sure they all wish the whole imbroglio would just go away.) Right now I'm steering clear of those companies - my negative feelings toward them I'm sure would impact my reviews. So they may be dropping off the Hub Review map for awhile - except, of course, the ART, which will always be of paramount interest, trust me. I noticed today when I tried to read one of Don Aucoin's reviews that it was behind a registration wall. I think some people may soon regret having alienated the city's most prolific and articulate critic - whose reviews are always available on the web for free. Then again, maybe some aren't that bright. I have to follow up with another post about the whole thing. The question that remains is, "How can the KRNEs (i.e., Kati's Reviewers of New England) become the IRNEs again?"