Henry Hewes, Longtime Theatre Critic for Saturday Review, Dies at 89

Obituaries   Henry Hewes, Longtime Theatre Critic for Saturday Review, Dies at 89
Henry Hewes, who was for many years the theatre critic at The Saturday Review and viewed the theatre world not as a matter of Broadway and not-Broadway, but as a whole, died at his home in Manhattan on July 18, The New York Times reported. He was 89.

Aside from his many years of reviewing, Mr. Hewes also founded the American Theater Critics Association, a nationwide organization which tried to promote communication between U.S. drama reviewers, and established the regional theatre Tony Award, which is now a staple of the annual awards ceremony.

After writing second-string reviews for the weekly magazine The Saturday Review, he followed John Mason Brown into the lead critic position in 1955. He stayed until 1973, writing long, thoughtful appraisals on not just New York shows, but regional stage efforts, a passion of his. Very often, Hewes' was the only national voice to sound off on significant regional productions.

In 1993, he won The Margo Jones Medal, which commemorates "pioneers of the American professional regional theatre movement." In 2002, he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Mr. Hewes was also the editor of the Best Plays series of anthologies for many years, and served as president of the New York Drama Critics Circle, and president of the Drama Desk, an organization of theatre critics and reporters that weighs Broadway and Off-Broadway equally.

Mr. Hewes was born on April 9, 1917, and raised in Boston, according to the Times. His mother was a theatre producer. He served in the Air Force during World War II and studied pre-med at Harvard. He left, however, to study theatre at Columbia. He first job in the theatre was as a copy boy for The New York Times chief theatre critic Brooks Atkinson. It was Atkinson who helped him place theatre articles in the Sunday Times arts pages. Mr. Hewes is survived by his wife, Jane; his sons, Henry, Tucker and Havelock; and six grandchildren.

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