Westchester Paper Lays Off Critic Jacques le Sourd

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03 Dec 2008

Jacques le Sourd, theatre critic and reporter for the Journal News, a Westchester County paper in the Gannett chain, has been laid off, he told his colleagues in the news media.

After almost 35 years of reviewing Broadway and Off-Broadway — and writing theatre news and features — for the suburban New York City paper, le Sourd is on the street.

"My next assignment was on the Depression hits Broadway," he told the New York Post's Michael Riedel. "I don't have to do that story now. I'm living it."

His exit leaves theatre industry people worried that there is not enough of a variety of voices in the New York City critical community. It has not been announced how the Journal News will compensate for the loss of le Sourd. In papers around the country, no dedicated staff theatre critic usually means that coverage is diminished, or taken up with use of wire service reviews like AP.

The Paris-born le Sourd, silver-haired and always impeccably dressed for press nights on Broadway and off, began reviewing for the Journal News in 1975. He first review, he told the Post, was of the musical Chicago. On Nov. 27, a le Sourd profile of that show's star, Chita Rivera, appeared in the Journal News, to coincide with her nightclub act at Feinstein's at the Regency.



The writer's reviews were heard on WCBS Radio, part of a deal with Gannett. He was frequently part of televised roundtable discussions about the theatre.

Variety pointed out that the New York critics scene has undergone a shakeup in recent months: Michael Sommers of New Jersey's Star-Ledger took a buyout; Eric Grode's paper, the New York Sun, shuttered; Jeremy McCarter left New York Magazine for Newsweek; and Clive Barnes, longtime critic at the New York Post, died.