Congratulations to Charles Isherwood, 33, named the chief theatre critic for Variety, the daily and weekly entertainment industry trade magazine. Isherwood will review theatre both in New York and across the country, as well as supervise the magazine's theatre section.
The position opened up when "Legit Editor" Greg Evans left the periodical, Mar. 14, to take a position at TV Guide. Claude Brodesser will now take the lion's share of theatre news reportage, augmented by Isherwood, Matt Wolf (Variety's London theatre critic), Chris Jones, and Canadian correspondent Mira Friedlander.
As reported by Variety (June 29), Isherwood, a Stanford University graduate, joined Variety in 1993 and has served as senior editor for both the daily and weekly versions of the publication. (By the way, the critic is not, as far as he knows, related to the Christopher Isherwood of "I Am A Camera" fame.)
Asked about his entry into the reviewing world, Isherwood told Playbill On-Line (June 29), "I was writing for Back Stage West in Los Angeles, and then a position came up to do reviews for Variety in L.A. I'm looking forward to being in the world's theatre capital, getting first crack at plays I would have otherwise probably seen in road companies a year later in Los Angeles."
As for his approach to criticism, Isherwood says, "It's dangerous to have a formula.. You call `em as you see `em... I can't say I have an actual favorite play of all time, but the best new plays I've seen have been "Six Degrees of Separation, Three Tall Women and Angels In America. I'm not a fanatical musical fan, which is probably sacrilege for a theatre critic in this town. I think Chicago is about as good as it gets in terms of musicals, plus it's a revival as contemporary as any of the new shows happening." -- By David Lefkowitz