South Florida Theater Review set to open in July

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Bill Hirschman

I’m very happy to announce that next month we will expand our coverage into theater with the launch of South Florida Theater Review (southfloridatheaterreview.com).

Bill Hirschman will be the lead critic for the new website, which will cover the theater scene in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties with the same candor, insight, and comprehensiveness that South Florida Classical Review has brought to the music scene.

It was two years ago this month that I started South Florida Classical Review to fill the looming void in the region’s classical music coverage resulting from local newspapers eliminating their staff critic positions. After conversations with many theater officials throughout South Florida, I believe the same situation now applies to the tri-county region’s theater scene.

Of course, Miami still has a superb critic in the Herald’s Christine Dolen. Yet due to staff reductions at other papers and significantly decreased coverage, smaller companies continue to suffer, particularly in Broward County.

Further, the cost-saving story-sharing agreement forged between the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post has had a decidedly negative impact on many theater companies. Even if they receive coverage, it’s lose-lose: if a show is panned, there is no other voice offering a second opinion; and if a show gets a rave, there is only one review to draw blurbs from for ads.

South Florida Theater Review will provide that independent alternative critical voice, and I can’t think of anyone better qualified to accomplish that than Bill Hirschman.

Bill has pursued parallel careers in journalism and theater since his youth and did both during his years as a colleague of mine at the Sun-Sentinel. There Bill reviewed and wrote extensively on theater, in addition to his regular reporter beats covering crime, courts, government, and education.

In addition to the Sun-Sentinel, his theater reviews and articles have also been published in Variety, the Miami Herald, Mystery Scene Magazine and The Sondheim Review. Bill serves on the executive committee of the American Theatre Critics Association, is treasurer of ATCA’s foundation and chairs the ATCA/Steinberg New Plays Contest Committee. He has also been president of the South Florida and Kansas chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, and earned SPJ’s national First Amendment Award. Last year, he founded and co-hosted the Internet television program “Aisle Say.”

I’m confident that South Florida Theater Review will be supported by the region’s theater companies as strongly as the major classical organizations have supported South Florida Classical Review. As with SFCR, advertising is crucial for the success of this endeavor, and I strongly urge theater companies to contact me for information on our special introductory rates. I should add that banner advertising is by no means limited to theater companies and any business or private individual who would like to support the work of South Florida Theater Review, should contact me as well.

Theater companies and public relations representatives seeking coverage should email Bill at [email protected] and cc me at [email protected].  For inquiries about advertising and all other editorial matters, contact me at the above address.

South Florida Classical Review has quickly become the source of record for classical music in the tri-county area and the region’s most influential outlet for classical music coverage. That is the goal we have for South Florida Theater Review, and with your help and support, we will do the same for the theater scene throughout South Florida.

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2 Responses to “South Florida Theater Review set to open in July”

  1. Posted Jun 03, 2010 at 11:00 pm by Thomas Sleeper

    Great news!!!
    Thank you.

  2. Posted Jun 04, 2010 at 9:38 am by Dean Southern

    I heartily echo Thom Sleeper’s, “Great news!!!” Thank you for all you do for the arts in South Florida.

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