ADV – Leaderboard

Three on the Aisle: Can We Call Someone Pretty?

On this week’s podcast, the critics discuss when it’s appropriate to discuss an actor’s appearance in a review, plus they battle over ‘Be More Chill.’

Twice a month, critics Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal; Elisabeth Vincentelli, contributor to The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker; and Peter Marks of The Washington Post get together to talk about what’s going on in the American theatre.

At the top of the show, the critics do a meta-discussion: They review a theatre review and the response around it. Recently Laura Collins-Hughes of The New York Times wrote a review of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and was then harshly critiqued for allegedly “body shaming” an actor onstage. The critics look at the history of body shaming in theatre criticism as well as how critics judge actors’ appearances and when they are relevant in a review today. They also dissect shows such as Pretty Woman, which by its very title bakes the protagonist’s appearance into the title of the show.

They also take a listener question about what shows they would like to see revived. To close the episode, they get into one of the most contentious roundtables yet, as Elisabeth and Peter go to war over Be More Chill and Shakespeare in the Park’s Twelfth Night.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via the RSS feediTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher

Have comments or requests for what the critics should talk about? Email them at, or go to @threeontheaisle on Twitter.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!

ADV – Billboard