Do You Read Reviews? Stars of Finding Neverland, Living On Love and The Heidi Chronicles Answer! | Playbill

News Do You Read Reviews? Stars of Finding Neverland, Living On Love and The Heidi Chronicles Answer! Stars from the 2014-15 Broadway season share with whether they read reviews of their own work.


Carolee Carmello (Finding Neverland)
I think I'm in the minority. I actually read all the reviews of the show. And I think what that does... [is] it gives me the perspective of the positive and the negative. I hear the good and the bad, and somewhere in the middle is the truth. We're all so grateful to have jobs, and we're grateful that the show is still touching people.

Joe DiPietro (Living On Love)
There was an old Peter Stone quote: "One person is always wrong, and the audience is always right," which I believe. One person just tells you things. You don't know if that's their opinion. But the audience — especially with something like this — you can tell if it's funny or not by if they're laughing. I do [read reviews] out of town. I don't read them a lot in town. I sort of hear about them. The good ones are in front of the theatre. People tell you about them. Often they tell you about the bad ones — "I got so mad at the reviewer." Sometimes they're being nice.

John Cameron Mitchell (Special Tony Award, Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
I'm all for information diets, which are helpful for the mood and for the art... I think I stopped reading from my film "Shortbus." I think there were great reviews, but I only remembered the bad ones. You give it the power, and if you give the bad ones the power, it's hard to hear the good ones. So, starting with "Shortbus" I decided not to read any, so a year later, you're not sensitive any more. You can maybe pick and choose what makes sense to you. I think that's a healthy thing to do. Friends of mine read their own press, and it's daunting. It makes you scared. Certainly, actors should never read their theatre reviews, because someone who said "that woman blew me away" will never be able to repeat it again, once you think about it too hard.

John Cameron Mitchell in <i>Hedwig and the Angry Inch</i>
John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Renée Fleming (Living On Love)
I don't so much any more. I know what the gist of what's being said. I don't want specific words to stay in my head, either good or bad. I'm my own worst critic. Pam MacKinnon (The Heidi Chronicles)
I usually do. I tend to read them once, just to get the general temperature and tenure of it all. I'm just working so much, and as a working artist if you start to touch and own other people's language of your work while you're attempting to build the next thing, then it can be damaging — both the good reviews as well as the bad reviews. I read them pretty quickly.

In 2014, prior to the hit comedy It's Only a Play opening on Broadway, the cast weighed in on reading reviews.

Blake Hammond (Living On Love)
I don't really read them. I sometimes do after a show closes. But I think for the most part I don't need to know what that person thought of me. It does get in your head. They say 12 good things and one bad thing, and the bad thing's what you remember every day.

Kathleen Marshall (Living On Love)
I don't. I think you need to know what the response is. We all know there are things — with or without reviews... but we always need to know what the general feel is. The best thing I go by is standing at the back of the house and what the audience does.

Elisabeth Moss (The Heidi Chronicles)
God, no. I stopped that a decade ago. Even good ones — you can get stuff stuck in your head that you can't get out about this amazing moment when you were so amazing and you do the show and you're just thinking about how amazing you are in that moment. It's not a good idea. People will tell you if they're good or bad.

Elisabeth Moss in <i>The Heidi Chronicles</i>
Elisabeth Moss in The Heidi Chronicles

Jerry O'Connell (Living On Love)
The answer I'm supposed to give is no, I don't pay attention. And it's funny. I had to learn that the hard way when I was doing Seminar. I remember I read some of our reviews, and they were quite positive. And I came in the next day and I said, "Guys, we did really well!" The dresser came up to me and said, "You're not supposed to do that. You're not supposed to talk about reviews." So I learned that the hard way. And the actors that I always felt were the coolest always say I don't read them. I don't pay any attention to them. I'm supposed to tell you I don't. You can't help it. Also, maybe something is said that you're doing is annoying someone that you want to fix. So my answer is no, I don't pay any attention to that. Whatever happens in the room is in the workplace. I try to keep it as organic and fresh as possible. But if this were a therapy session... yeah.

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