We gladly accept

Letters to the Boston editor, April 24, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  April 22, 2009


I wanted to point out something to both the editorial staff and theater critic Carolyn Clay regarding her review of A Bronx Tale, starring Chazz Palminteri.

Clay just became the first reviewer on our national tour to put a negative spin on it. Every other review in 15 cities has been extremely positive, including those featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, and every other daily and weekly publication and blog that has covered it (and there are many, many more).

Clay reviewed it as often “boring,” while these very respectable publications claimed it was “a masterpiece,” “fast moving,” “exhilarating,” “enormously entertaining,” etc.

I can’t even believe I am wasting my time writing this, but I really think it is in your paper’s best interest to get a new theater critic who might actually be in tune with the rest of society. I have never even heard of the Boston Phoenix, which doesn’t mean you are not a respectable publication. However, I doubt that your theater critics are determining the creative standard for Broadway shows these days. If they are, then that is news to me and the rest of the theater world.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, yet Clay clearly does not like Chazz Palminteri personally for some reason, as is evident by some of her references like “legend has it” about his million-dollar offer. Maybe it is because he is a Yankees fan? Does she realize how many fathers and sons have come up to Chazz after the show in each city with tears in their eyes, thanking him for inspiring them to do the right thing? She claims the show is melodramatic. It may be, but it is damn good melodrama if it is.

My advice to her is this: review the entertainment not the person or his life. And if you really don’t like something, have the guts to say it instead of sending out some safe mixed review that almost doesn’t make you look like an idiot in the face of the hundreds of other more credible theater critics who loved the show. It makes you look like more of an idiot for doing that.

Currently, you are the winner of our Golden Asshole Critic Award that we will be rewarding at the end of our tour. You will receive a trophy in the mail if someone in a future city doesn’t take the title away from you. I think you are probably pretty safe, though.

As you can see, I don’t hide behind my words and send out mixed messages like you do. I clearly think you are way off base. You may not agree, but the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, etc., would all agree with me.

I am embarrassed to even write this, but the Golden Asshole Award is something we take very seriously. I will keep you informed on whether you won.

Trent Othick
A Bronx Tale

CAROLYN CLAY RESPONDS I don’t want to count my chickens, but it’s always nice to win an award. I’ll put it on the shelf next to my George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.

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