1. How much power does a critic hold? New York Times Critic Watch aims to figure out just that -- with your help, of course. A new Howlround Microfund for Artists Project has you rate reviews, on whether you think the tone and language was fair, not about whether you actually liked the play. They've chosen the Times because of it's power and prominence, and probably also for its well-known ability to shut down a production with one scathing review. They hope to eventually expand to other cities. (Disclaimer: "This project has no agenda other than getting some data to help us better understand the state of new play reviews.")
2. Many thanks to the Chicago Theater Addict for calling to our attention Gay Marshall's absolutely phenomenal Playbill bio. It reads: "My life in 40 words or less. I need more than that to order a cocktail, so go to gaymarshall.com -- click on bio then click on buy my CD. Oh NEW CD coming out this fall! See? I'm already over three words. Yikes. (4)."
3. The New York Times reports on how many stages have opened on the North Side in the past couple months (three), but you knew about all of them, so no need to get alarmed. However, it's worth a read for a description of the Black Ensemble Theater's Irving Park location as a "somewhat scruffy Uptown neighborhood", and new venues Stage 773, UP and BET categorized as upgrades from those icky storefronts that your other theatrical fare resides in.
4. Remember Smash, the TV show that will fulfill all your high school theater geek needs? It's coming February 6, and New York takes you inside. Kate James' brother Brian d'Arcy James will be on it! Of Shrek on B'Way fame!
5. Also starting in February is El Mari Chi Chi: A Robert Rodriguez Burlesque coming from -- yes you guessed it -- GTT. Written by the Salsation Theater Company, the plot is a wee bit confusing, but it is enjoyable how all the burlesque shows at Gorilla Tango are stamped with a purple BURLESQUE next to them so you don't get confused and take grandma.
Questions? Tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.