Longtime Detroit Free Press theatre critic Lawrence DeVine, who retired in October 1998, has been inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, the Michigan State University School of Journalism announced.
The induction banquet for DeVine and four other state journalists will be April 17 at the Kellogg Center at MSU in East Lansing, MI. For information, call (517) 353-6430.
DeVine, theatre critic of The Detroit Free Press for 30 years, announced his retirement Sept. 18, 1998. He left the paper in late October 1998 and was succeeded by Martin F. Kohn, the paper's second-string critic, a longtime staff writer.
It's estimated that DeVine, who is in his mid 60s, wrote as many as 4,000 reviews and articles for the largest of the two dailies still publishing in the Motor City. The Detroit News, which operates under a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) with the Free Press, has no full-time theatre critic on staff.
DeVine's retirement announcement surprised members of the Detroit theatre community, particularly since the 1998-99 season had just begun. DeVine created and oversaw the Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Awards every spring, doling out what artists informally call "Larrys." It was the city's only major gathering of resident theatre artists until the Michigan Allied Professional Theatres (MAPT) formed its own awards in 1998. In 1998, MAPT bestowed a media excellence award for DeVine's support of resident theatre over the years.
DeVine, an active founding member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a past judge on the Pulitzer Prize panel, is known for his elegant writing style and humorous observations. He was also an associate director of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT.
-- By Kenneth Jones