Random House is publishing a collection of reviews and essays by Frank Rich, who was The New York Times chief theatre critic from 1980 to 1993. The volume, titled Hot Seat, brings together various appraisals from his tenure as "The Butcher of Broadway" as well as selections from his current position as Op-Ed columnist. It will also include an appendix in which Rich lists what he considers the best plays he reviewed and identifies which productions he feels he overestimated or underestimated. The onsale date is Nov. 1. At nearly 1,000 pages, the book is surely one of the largest collections of theatre criticism ever compiled. Its length, however, may be a measure of the influence Rich wielded. His 13-year reign was dotted with controversy, with his many detractors labeling his writing overly personal and virulent. Still, he was credited with charging the position with personality and power, and many feel the critics who succeeded him at the Times have not cut as distinctive a figure.
Hot Seat's list price is $39.95. Rich is also under contract with Random House for a memoir.
-- By Robert Simonson