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Update 5/30/2018, 12:30 PM: A spokesperson for Time Out told PerformInk that theater coverage and reviews will continue, saying “we have a fanatical theater audience—that’s why high-quality curated content about theater and in general the best things to do in cities around the world has always been very important to us and this won’t change. We continue to inspire theatergoers with reviews so they can read about and enjoy the best shows in the greatest theater cities around the world.”
By Jason Epperson
Kris Vire has been laid off from his position as the senior editor at Time Out Chicago—covering largely the theater and LGBTQ beats—in what was apparently a string of editorial layoffs at multiple Time Out outlets. Today was his last day.
Vire joined Time Out as a freelance critic in 2005, before joining the staff in 2007 and working his way up to theater editor and lead critic in 2009 after Christopher Piatt’s departure.
Representatives from Time Out were not immediately available for comment, but the move likely spells the reduction or elimination of some of Vire’s beats, which also included comedy, local film and TV. Time Out once boasted robust theater coverage, creditable to Vire’s leadership. The theater section has dwindled in recent years as staffers were cut and Vire’s portfolio swelled.
“Kris has been a tireless force for covering theaters of all sizes in Chicago for many years, and even when I had a different take on a show, I felt like I learned something from reading his views,” said freelance Chicago theater critic Kerry Reid. “I also know that he’s been a great editor for a number of freelancers over the years. It’s really a shame and a loss.”
Time Out critic Alex Huntsberger does not expect to see any more assignments, saying on Twitter that “Kris has been a wonderful editor to me in addition to being a damn fine critic, journalist and advocate for Chicago theatre.”
For his part, Vire hopes that wherever he lands next, he can find opportunities to get back to doing more theater coverage.
A personal note: Kris Vire is, to me, one of the most responsible and thoughtful voices in Chicago theater news media. Nobody threads the needles of considered criticism and socially responsible journalism with as much humor, poise, and intelligence. He has loved and hated many of the productions I have been involved with over the years … and was always right. His voice in the community will be sorely missed. May it return soon.