Sun-Times Fires Hedy Weiss

The Chicago Sun-Times has let go of chief theater critic Hedy Weiss after 34 years at the paper, according to media critic Robert Feder.

Always a polarizing figure, Weiss had come under fire recently for reviews and reporting that many in the theater community considered to be racist in nature. Namely, a review of Antoinette Nwandu’s PASS OVER at Steppenwolf in which she criticized the playwright for discussing violence against the black community at the hands of police officers, but not so-called black-on-black crime. Prior to that, Weiss defended casting white actors in non-white roles after Porchlight Theater cast an Italian-American actor in the role of Usnavi in IN THE HEIGHTS.

The Sun-Times has always stood behind Weiss, even as she has been barred from major press conferences, reviewed work in development, and lost complimentary ticket privileges from theaters.

The position is said to have been eliminated, but that may just be a tactic to circumvent union rules in order to remove Weiss — or it could mean a massive reduction in arts coverage from the city’s second-largest paper.

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.

Comments
  • Rob#1

    February 2, 2018

    In this case, the position has actually been eliminated. The Sun-Times has been bleeding staff for several years now as print advertising revenues plummet, the most famous example being the elimination of every photographer on their staff. If you pick up the paper today, you’ll see how little arts coverage remains and that this is not a drill. There are two scenarios:

    1. They assign all arts coverage to a single reporter who will cover film, theater, dance, music, etc., in which case the sole theater reviews you see will be for the giant marquee shows now and then, MAYBE

    or

    2. They simply reprint material from the Reader, with which the Sun-Times shares ownership.

    I’m betting on #2. There is no way the Sun-Times will ever have a dedicated theater critic again, unless Jeff Bezos or someone similarly insanely wealthy shows up to bail out the paper.

    Regardless of the controversies regarding Ms. Weiss’ reviews, this was inevitable no matter who the theater critic was. It was just a matter of when.

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