Theatre criticism has evolved with the advancement of technology and the decline of print journalism. As consumers are given increasing agency by which they can filter the news and reporting they read and occasionally replace it with their own, the idea that a sole voice on a certain topic brandishes more dominance over it than the masses of people involved in its creation and sustainment becomes progressively absurd. Conversely, however, readers rely on theatre critics to make theatergoing decisions for them explicitly because critics are supposed experts on the subject and their opinions are to be respected and observed accordingly. This dichotomy is baffling, but it exists in flux of communication and information that continues to grow as social media develops and becomes ubiquitous. From 1925 onward, Brooks Atkinson, Walter Kerr, Frank Rich, and Ben Brantley have inhabited the same position of chief theatre critic of The New York Times for almost ninety years collectively, yet each critic served very different purposes for their readerships. The prestige that exists around their role did not change over time, but prominence of their publication in popular culture and the utilization and connotation of their criticism did change. The trend is also apparent in the criticism that appears in The New Yorker, particularly because the criticism was not originally consumed for its evaluative and scholarly properties but for its entertainment and cultural magnitudes. The American theatre critic will continue to forge its own prominence in the boundless landscape of the potential of modern technology as it progresses, but ultimately, people will buy tickets, the audience will fill the house, and the show will go on.
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Weaver, Earl D.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Kilzi, Teresa M., "Drama Has Issues: A Brief Retrospective on the American Theatre Critic in New York from 1925 to Present" (2015). HIM 1990-2015. 1870.