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Sara Holdren leaving as Vulture's theater critic

bear88
Broadway Star
joined:4/26/16
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4/26/16

https://twitter.com/swholdren/status/1173684328263557122

I am honestly bummed about this. Sara Holdren was my favorite theater critic during her brief tenure at Vulture. She's a smart critic who stumbled into the profession because she posted a rant about a play she hated and knows enough about theater (as the director she's been and is returning to do) to write genuinely enthusiastic reviews that made me think twice about plays and musicals I saw.

Her passion for shows and performances she liked was her most winning quality. It didn't hurt that she tended to praise unloved shows (like Head Over Heels) that I enjoyed. I'd say her enthusiasm for the Oklahoma! revival was the tipping point for me deciding to talk my wife into seeing it on our recent New York City trip. But agree or not, and I didn't always agree with her, Holdren writes extremely well and knows her stuff.

I guess she finishes her run as Vulture's critic at the end of next month.

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VotePeron
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Wishing her nothing but the best, and deep respect for her hanging up the hat.

But damn, she was the best there is. Her voice and ability to cut through the bull**** in an educated and informed way made her reviews perfect.

Hoping Vulture recognizes the success she’s had, and work to find a new critic unafraid to use their voice as their own.
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HogansHero
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joined:2/26/12
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astute and female. I hope they can replace her with someone who is at least one of those.

After Eight
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joined:6/5/09
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6/5/09

“Sara Holden leaving as Vulture's theater critic.”

 

Good.

UncleCharlie
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joined:6/26/16
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After Eight said: "“Sara Holden leaving as Vulture's theater critic.”



Good.
"

Why so harsh? She's always spoken well.of you.

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reginula
Featured Actor
joined:4/6/17
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4/6/17

I'm really excited to see whatever is ahead for her, but man, I'm going to miss her reviews so, so much. She was truly the best out there. I always looked forward to her reviews on opening nights, and I've learned so much about both the craft and the audience thanks to her. This will probably be selfish and far-fetched, but I really hoped she'd become the chief critic for the Times someday, or gained that amount of influence wherever she worked. She truly sees what matters in an industry where pushing boundaries shouldn't be an odd thing. 

bear88, it was also her review what drew me to see Oklahoma, which is now on my Top 3 of things I've seen on Broadway. I just can't thank her enough.

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BJR
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/12
Broadway Star
joined:
11/15/12

What a huge loss. Easily one of the best critics working today. In the sign of a truly thoughtful critic, I enjoyed reading her even when I disagreed.

Hope she is excited and fulfilled with what comes next for her.

 

Pashacar
Stand-by
joined:11/2/18
Stand-by
joined:
11/2/18

Agreed. I have to admit, I hated her reviews at first, and thought that she basically just liked every show in direct proportion to how "woke" it was. But the more I read, the more she opened my eyes to new perspectives and ideas, and by now I've really come to respect and admire her reviews as the best of the bunch. In line with what many of you have said, she reliably brings a fresh angle that no other critic does;  I've been grateful for it, and I'll miss it.

VintageSnarker
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joined:1/30/15
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What? Why? I stopped reading Jesse Green as much because of the NYT paypall and some weaker reviews but Sara was doing a fantastic job. I didn't always agree with her (I had a blast at The Cher Show even if it needed edits and ran way too long) but her critiques were thoughtful and smart. And she's one of the only critics who has a dependably more progressive, contextualized opinion of the shows she's seeing. 

I hope it's at least partially her decision and she wants to continue writing as well as directing. I would definitely be interested in following her work if she wanted to write a play or a book. 

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
Broadway Star
joined:9/20/18
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9/20/18

I would imagine she got burnt out by the theatre beat, and it could have been a conflict-of-interest for her to continue directing on the side.

I loved that her reviews were a little "rough around the edges" sometimes (that's a compliment). I hope NYMag will hire another young-ish person from outside the theatre journalism world. But if not, there are plenty of out-of-work theatre critics who could use a good gig like this.

I had been hoping she would also jump to the TIMES, to be Jesse's #2 after Lord Brantley finally retires.

Updated On: 9/17/19 at 10:47 AM
MemorableUserName
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I'm sorry to see her go as well. I didn't always agree with her either, but her opinions were always interesting and well-stated, which is more important from a critic anyway, and I made a point to read her reviews.

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raddersons
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joined:11/14/13
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She's the best! Happy she's finding success directing these days, but I'll really miss her reviews. I think what made her reviews so good was how she explained her process within the review -- "What exactly is this? Does this deserve a proper theatrical critique? Or should it be treated like a theme park show?" Her review of King Kong is great for this exact reason -- it's almost meta in its writing. She's the best at getting to the bottom of why things work and they don't -- and even when I didn't agree with her, her arguments were very fundamental, and helped me understand why people like/dislike some pieces. 

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AADA81
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I don't care for her writing style much at all, but I have agreed with her opinions.  Often, as a matter of fact.

LarryD2
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joined:9/1/14
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I have never been a particular fan of her writing. Her overlong reviews read like rambling Tumblr posts, and her opinions usually display a keen grasp of the obvious. I always thought it was a slap in the face to the many established (and better) journalists in NYC and elsewhere that she was essentially handed this plum job with no experience. I assume she comes from some kind of moneyed background, since many people wouldn't leave a secure, salaried position for the unstable career of freelance directing without a cushion of support.

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Charley Kringas Inc
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Oh no! I’ll miss her reviews - I can’t think of anyone else doing such in-depth and thoughtful analysis, and if anyone else can please direct me to them.
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FosseTharp
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LarryD2 said: "I have never been a particular fan of her writing. Her overlong reviews read like rambling Tumblr posts, and her opinions usually display a keen grasp of the obvious. I always thought it was a slap in the face to the many established (and better) journalistsin NYC and elsewhere that she was essentially handed this plum job with no experience. I assume she comes from some kind of moneyed background, since many people wouldn't leave a secure, salaried position for the unstable career of freelance directing without a cushion of support."

 

Sara Holdren has an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama... ; an undergraduate degree in Theater;  and studied Shakespeare Acting at RADA;  and a Drama League Fellow.   She may not be an “established Journalist”,   But I would hardly call her unqualified to critique theater.   Publications need more theater critics like her.  I, for one, will surely miss reading her well thought out reviews.  

 

LarryD2
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joined:9/1/14
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FosseTharp said: "LarryD2 said: "I have never been a particular fan of her writing. Her overlong reviews read like rambling Tumblr posts, and her opinions usually display a keen grasp of the obvious. I always thought it was a slap in the face to the many established (and better) journalistsin NYC and elsewhere that she was essentially handed this plum job with no experience. I assume she comes from some kind of moneyed background, since many people wouldn't leave a secure, salaried position for the unstable career of freelance directing without a cushion of support."



Sara Holdren has an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama... ; an undergraduate degree in Theater; and studied Shakespeare Acting at RADA; and a Drama League Fellow. She may not be an “established Journalist”, But I would hardly call her unqualified to critique theater. Publicationsneed more theater critics like her. I, for one, will surely miss reading her well thought out reviews.


"

You are very much misrepresenting what I wrote. At the time of her hiring, Holdren wasn't just not an established journalist; she had no background in journalism. Lots of people can cogently critique theater, regardless of their education or background, but very few are handed one of the prime critical jobs in the country with no body of work.