Martin Denton, the theater writer who has breathed life into the sleepy world of theatre publishing through his "Plays and Playwrights" anthology series, is now hoping to blow some dust off another moribund corner of the theatre world—the critical panel. On Feb. 7, he will inaugurate a new subscription series of after-show discussions called "SmartNYTE." The program gets its name from the ticketing service, SmartTix, which sponsors the Denton project, and the name of Denton's website, The New York Theatre Experience (NYTE).
The $4O price of the initial "SmartNYTE" series includes a 50 percent discount on theatre tickets to the shows involved, admission to the panels, a subscription to the NYTE newsletter, an invitation to NYTE’s fifth anniversary party, and a complimentary copy of the first "Plays and Playwrights" anthology.
The three shows featured are Fool for Love at the 29th Street Rep; Women at Four O'Clock, one of the featured plays in the 78th Street Theatre Lab, New Georges, and Sightlines Theatre Company's Dawn Powell festival; and Underneath the Lintel, now at the Soho Playhouse.
Denton will head each panel. The first one, concerning Fool for Love, will take place on Feb. 7. Denton will talk with director Tim Corcoran and cast members David Mogentale, Elizabeth Elkins, Stephen Payne, and Tony DeVito. A Q&A with the audience will follow.
On Feb. 20, Denton will meet with director Eric Nightengale, producer Eileen Phelan, and Dawn Powell biographer Timothy Page, following the performance of Manhattan novelist Powell's lost play Women at Four O'Clock. Finally, March 12 will bring a panel about Glen Berger's Underneath the Lintel. The unique format of this event will feature Denton addressing the audience before the show, speaking of how a critic prepares himself to review a show. Following the show, Denton will again take the stage, talking about how he goes about analyzing and critiquing a theatre performance.
"One Night Only Packages" are also available for $15. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.smarttix.com or www.nytheatre.com, or by calling SmartTix by at (212) 206-1515.
—By Robert Simonson