Our 216-page Best of Charleston issue crowded out pretty much everything else we typically published in City Paper. That had some people (understandably) peeved. Susan Hallatt, director of graduate admissions at the College of Charleston, spent some time looking for a review of Charleston Stage‘s Fiddler on the Roof, which continues tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday afternoon. She shared her thoughts with us:

On Mar 6, 2008, at 3:39 PM, Hallatt, Susan L wrote:

Dear Mr. Stoehr,

Having just spent 20 wasted minutes trying to locate the review of “Fiddler on the Roof” on your web pages (since y’all didn’t see fit to actually publish a hard copy), I’ve decided to contact someone at The City Paper and ask where I might find it. That is, if there is anyone left over there who isn’t zombified…


In fact, there is no one left. We’re all zombies. Our brains have been eaten. Still, it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. Eager readers can find a review on Unscripted by clicking here and my review of the Post and Courier‘s review of Fiddler here.

For the first time in my life, a politician wrote to express his enthusiasm for a play. The politician was Ken Glasson, a Mt. Pleasant councilman. The play was John Patrick Shanley’s Defiance, running at the Village Playhouse. The show continues tonight but closes after Saturday’s 8 o’clock curtain. Click here to see the whole letter. Meanwhile, Glasson writes:

I have never written an opinion about a stage performance before, but thought their effort deserved recognition.

We’ve written plenty of those and believe us when we say it’s like the first time every time. And, Ken, we think they deserve recognition, too. That’s why we previewed and reviewed the show.

Before I forget, the Terrace Theater has a new movie opening tonight. It’s called Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It stars Frances McDormand and it looks like a charming light comedy. (Besides, anything with McDormand and Amy Adams is good by my standards.) Reviews have been pretty glowing thus far.

Speaking of reviews, there’s been a lot of activity on the City Paper blogworld about the metaphysics of theater reviews this week. On Tuesday, I wrote about how the Village Playhouse made a mistake in buying an advertisement that looked by a review in the Post and Courier. The theater did it to counteract a negative review of Defiance in City Paper.

There’s been a robust amount of quid pro quo that I’m very happy to see (you can catch up here, here, and here). Bottom line is that I am concerned the Village Playhouse was unintentionally deceiving potential ticket buyers and worse (for the theater company) unintentionally discouraging them, instead of encouraging them, to consider seeing Defiance, which I’ve seen and can say is a flawed but quality show. Here’s a smidgen of my reply to a reader who didn’t believe there was anything to worry about:

When readers encountered the advertisement, it looked like a review at first. Of course, it is a review — one already published on Will Bryan’s website, Lowcountry Stages. I know this, you know this. But readers didn’t know this until they get to the bottom of the review, where in very small type they learn of its source: Lowcountry Stages.

If they get that far. For those who didn’t (and I’m guessing that was a significant number of readers, enough to be of concern for the Village Playhouse), they walked away thinking that the review was written by Post and Courier critic.

Attentive readers (and there are many; again, enough to be of concern to the Playhouse) saw the words “Paid Advertisement” at the top of the “review.” Let’s assume that they also noticed Will’s name at the bottom of the review as well as the source of the review (Lowcountry Stages). If that’s the case, they looked at the review and then “Paid Advertisement” and came up with one of two questions: One, if this is a review, why is an advertisement? And two: If this review is an ad, why should I believe it?

Either question is not what the Village Playhouse wants potential ticket buyers to ask.

Last but not least this week was the announcement Wednesday of the 2008 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the 30th straight year of artistic outreach by the City of Charleston and Spoleto Festival USA. Once again there’s a ton to be had. Click here for my post of highlights but for comprehensive information about the festival, click here.

UPDATE: I forget to mention who those freaks above are. They are Colby Chisholm and Kara O’Neil, members of the sales staff at City Paper. This was taken during our Best of Charleston party. As you can tell, they’ve seen better days. (For more Best Of pics, click here.)

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