Try the new, improved Hartford Courant digital edition today
Home

No Bad Reviews Allowed, And That Means You, Mr. Parker

Nobody loves a critic.

Especially a producer of a show that received a stinging pan in The Courant.

In mid-20th century, when Broadway-bound shows were getting their tryouts in New Haven and Hartford, The Courant's T.H. Parker was a considerable force in theater.

The New Parsons Theater opened in 1951 in Hartford hoping to revive the glory days of its namesake. It was soon attracting stars such as Gloria Swanson and David Niven. But quality was not always high in the productions. Criticism by The Courant caused the theater's management to ban critics, charging that Parker's comments were "savage" and claiming the legal right to "revoke the personal license of admission" represented by the ticket.

The Courant took a dim view of the theater's action. It introduced legislation under which places of entertainment would no longer have the right to bar anyone, even a critic who had purchased a ticket.

In 1954, the state became the third in the nation (New York and California preceded us) to prevent theaters from barring critics.

During its critic-less time, the theater struggled and closed after three years

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • More Tales From Connecticut Theaters

    More Tales From Connecticut Theaters

    By FRANK RIZZO | frizzo@courant.com The theater is an ephemeral experience, to be fully shared with others only in the present, and then gone —- forever, save for the memories of those who were there and chroniclers of those special times. Here are glimpses of some theater figures, institutions...

  • Hepburn Turned 'Box Office Poison' Into Stage Gold

    Hepburn Turned 'Box Office Poison' Into Stage Gold

    She was fierce and independent, and there was no stopping Katharine Hepburn once she was determined to become an actress.

Comments
Loading
60°