Center Theatre Grope

First, let me say that FishbowlLA is a lovah of the theatah. And let me also say that I have not yet seen ‘Dead End’ at the Ahmanson, because I am scared of large bodies of water. But in my capacity as a semi-professional media critic, I have to note a minor irony, which I hope won’t dissuade any of my readers from experiencing the thrill of live drama.

Anyway, here’s the irony: Reportedly, the Center Theatre Group has been very concerned about the long-vacant lead drama critic position at the LAT, with Gordon Davidson pressing the paper to hurry up and hire someone (which it finally did) so as to give theater a higher profile in the paper. As it happens, the LAT ran a negative review of ‘Dead End’ today (‘Urchins lurchin’; hokum spoken‘- definitely the Headline of the Day). And this morning, the CTG sent out a promotional mass email subject-lined: ‘At the Ahmanson Theatre DEAD END is a HIT’ and quoting from a previous LAT piece about the show’s lavish water-centric set design. (The orchestra pit contains a water tank to simulate NYC’s East River.) No mention is made that the LAT actually panned the show, and the casual email-receiver would probably assume exactly the opposite.

I’m not saying that promotional emails have to link to negative reviews. But if CTG thinks the LAT doesn’t give it sufficient respect, CTG ought to respect the newspaper’s theater criticism enough not to distort it in mass emails.