Tom Williams Quits Because There’s No Good Chicago Theater Coming Up

After publicly posting an email conversation with Route 66 Theatre Company Artistic Director Stef Tovar, Tom Williams has decided to cease reviewing Chicago theater. But Williams says the backlash from the email conversation – in which Tovar declined to offer him tickets to their upcoming production – is not the reason for his retirement. It’s because Chicago theater doesn’t have anything coming up that he’s interested in. “There’s really no shows that I’m passionate to see,” he said in a YouTube video about his September schedule.

Apparently, Williams believes that other critics in this town are too nice. “They are out there to mooch tickets,” and “after me being gone, and Hedy’s gonna retire, you’re going to have no one saying ‘don’t go to the shows’ anymore.”

In a typo-ridden tirade containing the Tovar email chain, Williams said “Steep, Jackalope, ATC and Steppenwolf have all stopped offering me comps.” He alluded to legal action towards Tovar, even though Williams himself made the conversation public. Complaints about Williams have been fervent over the course of his career, at the top of the list are charges of racial insensitivity and sexism in his reviews, along with his alleged over-indulgence at opening night buffets. 

Williams touts 70,000 views a month on his website, which is now for sale. That number seems, well, exaggerated.

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.