His departure comes in the wake of a staff-management scuffle over the Voice's new layout design, which will result in shrunken space for the weekly's chief arts critics. A month ago, Voice theatre critic Michael Feingold used his column to lament the change, which will bring his word court down from roughly 1,500 words to under 1,000 a week. Parks, too, communicated his frustration and disappointment in a recent article in the New York Observer.
Parks said that the redesign in part informed his decision to leave, observing that the alterations ran "counter to what has made the Voice's arts coverage so strong." However, he also stated that it was "just time to move on, really. [I've] worked here for most of the past 13 years, and [it's] best to depart before the next Obies Awards cycle kicks into full gear.... Most of my decision is the desire to do something new and fresh, about taking on some new challenges. Plus I need a long, long break to just relax — I've seen way too many plays over the past five years, probably 600."
Parks was for many years a theatre critic and sometime columnist for the Voice's theatre section, when the legendary Ross Wetzsteon was editor. After briefly serving as editor to the short-lived Voice section "Up Front," he moved on to New York magazine, before returning to the Voice to become theatre editor.
Parks is also a playwright, known for the award-winning Americana Absurdum, which has been performed at the New York International Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He commented that he wanted to commit himself more fully to his playwriting career.
* It has been a week of editorial upheavals for the New York theatre community. Jason Zinoman, theatre editor for Time Out New York, will leave that magazine to become The New York Times' new weekly theatre columnist. His date of departure is also Labor Day.