Alec Baldwin is not known for pulling his punches (literally and figuratively), and decided to vent his frustrations over the early closing of his Broadway show Orphans on the New York Times theater critic who hated it.
Theater critic Ben Brantley is the partial target of a lengthy op-ed written by Baldwin for The Huffington Post Thursday, which also targeted the effect of so-called “tabloid journalism” on Broadway as a whole.
Brantley had been critical of Orphans and its production from the get-go, calling it “limp” and complaining that it “somehow plays like a sentimental sitcom, perhaps a low-rent Modern Family” in his review.
In his piece, Baldwin hit back, arguing that Brantley undermined the Times’ credibility as “a necessary guide for people who do not have limitless resources to buy tickets, or are traveling to New York to enjoy the theatre and need a reliable opinion as to where to invest their time and money.”
He called Brantley “not a good writer,” arguing, “Whereas Rich’s [former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich] keen sense of what worked or did not work on stage helped to elevate the position of his desk, Brantley is viewed as some odd, shriveled, bitter Dickensian clerk who has sought to assemble a compendium of essays on theatre, the gist of which often have no relationship to the events onstage themselves.”
“In the case of Orphans, Brantley wrote ‘Why bother?’ And that is to spit in the face of the playwright, the producers and all of their investors, the cast and director, the designers and the Schuberts, all of whom have had some success in the theatre. Brantley says we were wrong-headed to have even tried. Where would the theatre be if that was the prevalent thinking?”
Orphans debuted to less-than-stellar ticket sales, and received a lot of unfortunate press over the firing of Shia LaBeouf (replaced by Ben Foster). The show will wrap May 19, ahead of its original June 30 date. Despite this, he performance has earned two Tony nominations.
What do you think of Alec Baldwin’s op-ed against theater critic Ben Brantley?