Donald Lyons, who left the Wall Street Journal to become the New York Post's chief theatre critic exactly one year ago (Dec. 9), suffered a stroke last week and is recovering at St. Vincent's Hospital. Post editor Ken Chandler told Playbill On-Line, "I gather everybody's fairly optimistic" about Lyons' recovery process, though it's apparently too soon for a firm prognosis.
As such, the Post will be fanning out its Broadway reviewing to various staffers, with former chief critic (and current Sunday "senior" scribe and daily dance critic) Clive Barnes among those taking up a bit of the slack. "We've got plenty of people to pinch hit in the short term," Chandler told Playbill On-Line. "If this turns into a long-term convalescence, we might narrow down the list."
A Fordham University graduate, Lyons, 61, has taught English literature at Harvard, NYU and Rutgers, according to the Post.
When Lyons left his five-year stint at Wall Street Journal to take the Post job, Journal editor Sokolov said of his departing critic, "We loved Donald's work. His intelligence and wit. I've known him since we were both students in the classics department at Harvard... and I look forward to reading him."
Lyons' illness comes at an inopportune time for the Post's arts department; editorial page editor John Podhoretz resigned in early December. A replacement has yet to be named. -- By David Lefkowitz