To the editors:

I have noticed since I started reading your publication how your movie reviewers always seem to keep up to date on what is opening that week and get the press out on it. It is an impressive, professional way to publish a newspaper. It makes me wonder: Why does it take your theatre reviewers two or three weeks to publish their reviews (or, in some cases, until after the show has closed)? I appreciate thoughtful criticism, but, honestly, even the Pioneer Press and the Windy City Times manage to keep their publications current.

Mike Theis

E. Randolph

Anthony Adler replies:

Unlike other local papers, the Reader tries to be comprehensive, covering as many productions as we possibly can without reducing our critical response to a quick thumbs up or down. Some weeks we’re confronted with as many as a dozen reviewable productions, and our timeliness suffers: some shows we get to late; some we miss entirely; and sometimes a review has to wait its turn before appearing in print. We’re sorry we can’t be as efficient as we’d like to be. Of course we’re trying to do better.

Our goal is to review every show as soon as possible given our weekly deadlines and the standard etiquette of theater reviewing. (Unlike film critics, theater critics cannot prepare a review in advance of a show’s official opening.) For most shows that means we’re trying to publish the review on the second weekend of the run, and most of the time we meet that goal.

As a matter of policy we do not review shows that have closed. We do make exceptions to this policy–for example, for past International Theatre Festivals, most of whose shows run only three or four days–but they are extremely rare.