Coming to Syracuse for my master’s in arts journalism, I was not sure if this city was the proper laboratory for theatre writing. Questioning if it’s too far removed from the New York City hub, I assured myself that Syracuse is not the place for a theatre critic. Yet, as I’ve explored central New York and, specifically Syracuse, I’ve realized that there is a vibrant, talented pool of theatre in CNY. Coming from Reading, Pennsylvania, where the theatre life is limited, Syracuse offers a welcome change.
Like Lauren Smart and Leah Stacy, who started this forum a year ago, I agree that there is a need for theatre criticism in CNY. Yet, Green Room Reviews is not just intended for criticism; the site is meant to open a dialogue so playgoers know that the site is “where you go before the show.” Everyone is encouraged to leave their thoughts—as it should be.
I was recently talking with an actor and theatre manager in Syracuse and he said that criticism is vital for all involved. From the actors to the directors, producers, choreographers, costumers, scenic designers, and so on, there is a place for them in criticism. Theatre, in my eyes, is essentially a teaching device just as much as it is an entertainment medium. Critics have an important role to explain and expand what elements worked and what didn’t, simply guiding the patrons and those involved in the show.
This year, the 15 Goldring arts journalists are excited to take the helm of GRR and grow along with the mission. This year, the AJs want to promote the spirited theatrical community around us through reviews, features, audio clips and interviews, hopefully forging a relationship between theatre and community.
Today marks GRR’s second season, and we are thrilled that it is just as an exciting season for the theaters around us. Syracuse is welcoming the likes of Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, August Wilson and many others. Beyond taking on the issues of racism, sexism and murder, audiences will see a cheerleader working her way to the top, an obsession with a whale, a boy who just wants to dance and the creation of The Four Seasons.
GRR is excited to be a part of this season’s lineup in Syracuse and CNY. We cannot wait to get our tickets and start writing.