Social Media, 24 Hour News Cycles & the Future of Reviewing Theatre

Thursday May 26 6:00pm

Magic Theatre
Tickets: Admission Free


Co-Hosted by the San Francisco International Arts Festival and the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. In some ways the 24 hour news cycle has taken us full circle. Past era films such as “All About Eve” and “Valley of the Dolls” had parts of the plot with the cast waiting for the morning papers to come out so they could read the reviews the very next day after opening night?

Then there came to a period of time when it took two or three days for a review to appear as the newspaper business changed.

Now with the printed medium becoming somewhat obsolete and websites covering events in real time it is almost like we are back to a period when reviews can be published almost as fast as they can be written. What will this do for the future of theatre criticism? Will the quality of coverage go down or is this a good thing that will enhance theatre criticism? What role will social media play in it?

An august panel of Bay Area theatre critics and editors take to the stage to answer these and other questions and predict the future of the business of reviewing theatre. Panelists include Randy McMullen (Bay Area News Group), Karen d’Souza (San Jose Mercury), John Wilkins (KQED), Barry Willis (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle), Rob Hurwitt (SF Chronicle, emeritus), Charlise Tiee (Opera Tattler) and Keli Dailey. Moderated by Velina Brown of the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and serving theatres of all types and sizes in the greater region by recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement in the field. Active since 1976, the Circle consists of reviewers covering theatre in all nine Bay Area counties, across various media, who are voted into membership by existing members based on the quality and consistency of their reviews.

Karen D'Souza


Karen D'Souza is the theater critic for the Mercury News and the Bay Area Newsgroup papers. She is a three time Pulitzer juror, a former USC/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and a longtime member of the Glickman Drama Jury and the American Theatre Critics Association. She has a Master's Degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley. She is a Twitter addict (@KarenDSouza4) and her writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle and American Theatre Magazine.

Keli Dailey


Some notable stops on Keli Dailey's journalism path include the Los Angeles Times, where she covered the city’s battle to save murals from graffiti, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, where she produced award-winning criticism about both food and theater. She has been an NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater Fellow, a fellowship that takes the pulse of what’s going on in theater right now. Dailey was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. She has taught "News Satire: Understanding and Making Comedy News" at Saint Mary's College of California. And her essays about live comedy in the Bay Area can be found at KQED Arts online. 

John Wilkins


John Wilkins is the theater critic for KQED Arts. He was the Artistic Director of Last Planet Theater for 10 years and teaches in the Writing and Literature program at the California College of the Arts.


Robert Hurwitt


Robert Hurwitt came to the San Francisco Chronicle as theater critic in 2000  after serving in the same position for the San Francisco Examiner for the previous decade. As a critic and reporter, he has covered the remarkably active and diverse Bay Area theater scene for publications ranging from the East Bay Express to California Magazine and the Los Angeles Times since 1978. He retired in April 2016. A graduate of New York University, with a master's degree from UC Berkeley, he has served several times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize for drama and is a recipient of the George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism. He is also a proud father and grandfather.

Charlise Tiee


Charlise Tiee is a Bay Area-based writer and painter. She reviews performances of classical music and audience behavior for her blog, The Opera Tattler, and covers opera for KQED Arts and San Francisco Classical Voice. She previously ran the editorial team at the question and answer site 

Barry Willis


Barry Willis is a theater critic with the Marin Independent Journal and is President of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. His journalistic focus has long been theater, art, and technology.

A prolific contributor to many technophile publications, including Stereophile, Guide to Home Theater, Ultimate AV, AudioVideo Interiors, DTV, Home Theater, Photographic, The Absolute Sound and The Perfect Vision, Barry is now with Hi-Fi News, the most respected audio-and-music journal in the UK. Also an occasional contributor to Food Arts, the international journal of the fine dining industry, he was a Food Arts nominee for a 2006 James Beard Award in Journalism.

Velina Brown (Moderator)


Velina Brown, Actor/Singer/Songwriter, has been a principal actor for the Mime Troupe in such shows as Social Work, Escape to Cyberia, Coast City Confidential, Soul Suckers from Outer Space, Killing Time, Damaged Care, City for Sale, Eating It, 1600 Transylvania Avenue, Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan, and Showdown at Crawford Gulch. She was Veronique in Veronique of the Mounties, she's played Condoleeza Rice three times, and was both an actor and Contributing Lyricist on GodFellas and Making a Killing. Velina's most recent shows with the Troupe include For The Greater Good: Or the Last Election, Red State, Too Big to Fail, and Posibilidad, Or Death of the Worker for which she won Best Principal Actress by the Bay Area Critics Circle. You may have seen Velina earlier this year in Theatre Rhino's lovely A Lady and A Woman. Other credits include A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Word for Word, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, Thick Description, SF Playhouse, Theatreworks as well as film (Bee Season with Richard Gere, A Many Splintered Thing with Chris Evans and Milk with Sean Penn) and television (Party of Five, Nash Bridges,Trauma, Final Witness). Velina also is the founder and owner of the "Business of Show Biz," which offers career planning consultations and workshops for theater artists. She also writes a popular column of the same name for Theater Bay Area Magazine.

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