“You’re so lucky that you get to see all those shows for free.” “You get to go to Sundance to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? That’s awesome!”

UTBA members aren’t crotchety critics. Most like the majority of plays that they see and have many good things to say about the productions.

These are just some of the comments that UTBA members hear from friends and family when the topic of being a writer for UTBA comes up in conversation. Rather than ticket moochers sitting idly in the dark and enjoying the performance, UTBA members see themselves as a critical part of the theatrical process. As has been stated before, public feedback about a production is vital to the health of a theatre community.  This means that being a reviewer is quite different attending a production as a patron. Here are some of our reviewers’ thoughts about reviewing that they’ve posted on their personal blogs:

Andrea Fife blogged about her first time as a UTBA reviewer when she saw Xanadu at the Grand Theatre, saying,

“But writing the review wasn’t quite as easy-breezy as I’d anticipated. . . . Writing for a public site is much different than writing for my own blog.  In many ways.  Bigger audience, harsher critics, people who don’t know and love me already.”

You can read Andrea’s full blog post here. Since her first review, Andrea’s produced seven well written reviews, and we hope that she’ll keep up the good work.

Amber Peck, a UTBA staff member who also performs administrative duties for the site, mentioned in her personal blog her biggest challenge:

“As a reviewer, above all else, I most want to portray the intangible/the essence/the vibe to those who may read this.  I want you to feel, like I did, how amazing a show really was.  This is my challenge.”

Unlike typical patrons, reviewers feel a responsibility to their readers—a group that includes patrons, cast members, producers, designers, and others—to be their eyes and ears at a play.

Finally, our 2011 Reviewer of the Year, Tony Porter, explained in his personal blog some of his personal experiences that have come out of UTBA.

“I’ve posted 37 reviews, seen some truly great theater (The Meeting, Spamalot, Aliens, the Puppet Musical) and a few duds (who I will kindly not mention).  I’ve been vilified for spoiling a show (which I vehemently deny doing!), but on the whole, I have been thrilled by the diversity of talents and tastes that pervade this state.”

In his post, Tony captures the contrasts of life as a UTBA reviewer. Yes, reviewers see some amazing productions (which sometimes catch us by surprise) and some pretty awful ones. UTBA reviewers are sometimes criticized (publicly and privately) for giving honest opinions—and that criticism is sometimes fierce. But overall, it’s a positive experience, which is why we write and publish over 200 reviews every year. If you’re interested in joining UTBA, feel free to apply. We’re especially interested in people who live north of Salt Lake City.