Mr. Christiansen went to work for The Information in 1957. He began on the evening shift, however by the early Sixties he was writing increasingly concerning the arts — books, tv, music. And theater. He left The Information in 1973 to edit a brand new journal, The Chicagoan, however when it went out of enterprise after 18 months he returned to The Information. When that paper went underneath in 1978, he was picked up by The Tribune.
As a critic, Mr. Christiansen was no cheerleader; if he thought a manufacturing was dangerous, he wasn’t shy about saying so. His opening sentence in a 1985 overview of a drama known as “White Biting Canine” at Stays Theater mentioned merely, “‘White Biting Canine’ shouldn’t occur to a canine.”
But when he favored a present, his phrases might assist make the reputations of actors, administrators and firms. An oft-cited working example was his 1983 overview of Jack Henry Abbott’s “Within the Stomach of the Beast: Letters From Jail” at Knowledge Bridge Theater, a manufacturing directed by Mr. Falls and starring William L. Petersen, the actor now well-known from the tv collection “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Mr. Christiansen wrote of Mr. Petersen’s stage mannerisms and craftsmanship, then mentioned this:
“These qualities are admirable in performing, and will be accounted for, however how do I account for the truth that minutes after leaving the theater Thursday evening, I needed to pull my automobile over to the facet of the road in order that I might clear the tears from my eyes?”
Afterward, the Chicago theater world was mentioned to consult with a rave from Mr. Christiansen as “a pull over.”
Some critics hold a distance from actors, administrators and others they write about, however Mr. Christiansen, who leaves no quick survivors, was identified to speak store with these within the theater world and supply profession steering. In an appreciation he wrote for the web site American Theater final week, the playwright Jeffrey Candy informed the story of how Mr. Christiansen went to a showcase manufacturing of Shakespeare scenes staged by a younger director and actress named Barbara Gaines, favored it, invited Ms. Gaines to lunch and inspired her alongside the trail that led her to discovered the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 1986.
Mr. Candy additionally had his personal expertise with Mr. Christiansen’s guiding hand.
“With out telling me he was going to,” he mentioned by e mail, “he phoned Northwestern College Press and informed an editor there, ‘Candy’s written sufficient good things it’s time so that you can publish an anthology.’ And so they did. And he wrote the introduction.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/11/theater/richard-christiansen-dead.html Richard Christiansen, Influential Chicago Theater Critic, Dies at 90