Dear Reader editor,

I’ve been an avid reader of your paper for years. I’m writing to offer my opinion on the new format your paper introduced on Friday, September 17. I have specifically used your theater section for years as a comprehensive guide to plan my theater outings. I was really disappointed to see that you’ve removed the “Highly Recommended,” “Openings,” and “Closings” columns from your theater section (the “Short List”). Those columns have always made selecting a play much easier based on one of those factors (and were unique to the Reader’s theater section). With the new format, if I’m looking to find a “highly recommended” show, I am forced to comb through all of your listings (which at times can be as many as 100) in search of an “R.” If I’m looking for a show that’s opening, I must decipher the distinction between a small “N,” which represents an opening, and a large “N,” which apparently means it’s been open for at least a week but newly reviewed. And if that’s not confusing enough, there is no indication at all for a show that is closing.

The Reader has always been the best place to find a show to see. With the removal of the above (not to mention the abbreviated reviews), you are now beginning to resemble NewCity’s theater section–which, let’s face it, is not something to emulate. The new design is definitely hip and eye-catching–but let’s retain the necessary substance as well.

Scott Erickson

W. Belle Plaine