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May 21, 2008


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Mark Jeffries

On one hand, Chris Jones seemed to love storefront theater when he was writing for Newcity and as Christiansen and Michael Phillips' backup. Could it be that his bosses want him to write about the big companies and big shows first? (And I recall people from the storefronts complaining about Christiansen neglecting them during the 80s and 90s and that he had his pets, similar to the complaints people have about Jones and the House.)

On the other hand, when he was working for Newcity, Jones' other job was doing theater reviews and reporting for the Midwest outside of Chicago for Variety (he didn't do Chicago because that was the exclusive bailiwick of Lewis Lazare before he went to the Sun-Times advertising beat). Considering that Variety's priority in reviews is not artistic merit but whether they will be "boffo B.O." (although Todd McCarthy on films and Brian Lowry on television do consider the artistic side and do it well) and the paper prefers to choose for review new plays with possible commercial appeal, perhaps it's something that Jones can't shake off.

BTW, Charles Isherwood also used to be a theater critic for Variety. FWIW.

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  • Kris Vire
    I write about theater for Time Out Chicago. I write more about it here.

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