Rep’s Bauman’s 2nd column sparks bitter exchange between two women critics.

Chad Bauman, the Managing Director at The Milwaukee Rep, has created a mini-firestorm with a couple of columns about the state of theater criticism.The first appeared in American Theatre magazine. You can read the column and my response here.

His second piece, appearing on his always interesting blog can be found here.

I’m not going to get involved in a back and forth with Mr. Bauman, even though I think he doesn’t quite make it clear exactly what he thinks. My guess is that he has devalued individual critics in favor of a crowd-sourcing approach to the use of reviews in marketing a particular show. I’m fine. He runs a big theater company and do pretty much what he wants.

But there is a Facebook spat brewing between Madison based Gwendolyn Rice and Milwaukee based Anne Siegel. It started when The Rep distributed a “review response” from a woman named Jessica who complained about a review of a play in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It continued when Ms. Rice responded to Mr. Bauman’s first column.

Here’s the first Facebook thread.





So, we have that dispute between Ms. Rice and Mr. Smith and Mr. Bauman (silent performer.) But things have really gotten heated when Ms. Siegel got into it with Ms. Rice over some perceived slight, of which I am unaware. It’s two women and one of them, Ms. Siegel, trots out the “support a fellow woman” argument as well. Here’s that thread.



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I’m not sure how important all of this is, but seeing two critics go after each other is something that catches my attention. Maybe you’ll find it interesting as well. If not, so be it.

One thought on “Rep’s Bauman’s 2nd column sparks bitter exchange between two women critics.

  1. Hi Dave,
    I was a quiet participant in the above because Gwen decided not to tag me in her response, therefore I wasn’t aware a debate was taking place. Perhaps this was just an oversight, as I’m quite easily found on social media. That said, I think this is a complicated subject, something that the entire field is wrestling with which is why American Theatre Magazine decided to focus an entire issue on it. If it comes off that I don’t make myself entirely clear on what I think, it is probably because I’m still formulating thoughts. The purpose of the blog was to get a conversation going, which I guess it has. As you know, I have many very rewarding friendships and professional relationships with critics across the country which have influenced my thinking and career significantly, including you. To say that I don’t care about professional criticism, as Gwen has implied, is just simply not true.
    All best,



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