So Long, nytheatre.com

nymasthead

I’ve had a lump in my throat for the past hour.

The word just came down that Martin and Rochelle Denton are retiring nytheatre.com on September 15. This pioneering web site didn’t provide me with my FIRST decent press attention as it has for so many (The New York Times wrote about my 1998 NYC Fringe show Misshapen Jack, The Nebraska Hunchback in three separate articles) but Martin did provide me with my first proper review, for my January 2000 production of House of Trash at HERE Arts Center. And the site has been there for this commentator and a thousand others like him day-in, day-out, ever since. Nytheatre.com has grown, expanded, multiplied, evolved — no one has stayed more on top of implementing the latest technology than Martin in making his site serve his readers to the fullest possible extent. Listings, reviews, blogs, podcasts, experiments with organization and interface…

But times have changed since Martin started this site back in the last century. In a weird way, the entire WORLD is now nytheatre.com. Martin got there first, but in a sense nowadays every user of the internet is a competitor. Going forward, Martin and Rochelle have wisely decided to devote their limited time to the expansion of Indie Theatre Now, whose mission I won’t presume to articulate for them (go there now to learn more). Indie Theatre Now is awesome, and every bit as indispensable as nytheatre.com, in fact more so in important ways (e.g., you can read our plays there!). So the Dentons and their important work aren’t going anywhere. And the old stuff will remain archived on nytheatre.com.

None of that prevents me from being sad, however, or rummaging around through old memories of my first encounters with the site and with the Dentons over 13 years ago. After all, I was so much thinner then…my hair was darker and I was in my early 30s. Oh, the vanity of actors!

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4 comments

  1. I am stunned , speechless and without words to describe the important impact of these two pioneers on our theatre community. They have brought us into the 21st century and recognized the quality of art and efffort happening out of the mainstream. We owe so much two both of you.

    Without words.

    Without words.

    So much.

    Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director
    The Drilling Company Theatre

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  2. I’m stunned and heartbroken. Theatre criticism has been a lost art since Harold Clurman hung up his typewriter. The debt we all owe Martin and Rochelle for not only reminding us what we lost but bringing the fossil back to life is as unrepayable as it has been welcome all these years. That the focus has remained on the non- and semi-commercial theatre is one of the glories of their work. I won’t say they’ll be missed because I doubt and will refuse to believe until evidence proves otherwise that they won’t be around in some way and form or another to remind us of the shoulders we stand on, keep our feet to the fire, and urge us on to the highest standards of which we are capable and which the temple in which we worship demands. NYTheatre.com: Ave atque vale

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  3. I can relate very powerfully to this. In the Model T days of the Internet, I used it to help launch a successful effort to save the Biltmore Theater on 47th Street. In those days, it was very easy to use the Internet to directly contact people in a way that made a major impact. Now that the Internet is THE medium of our time, it’s much more difficult. That’s the dynamic of American life: the pioneer sows, the followers reap.

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