Reading theater reviews is a matter of trust.
Someone could write a stellar review or pan a show to the ground, but all that’s of no use if you can’t trust the reviewer. And to gain that level of trust, you need to know who’s writing what you’re reading.
So far, all you know about me is that I’m Gary – after all, you’re on a website called Gary on Broadway. But who is Gary?
My full name is Gary Finklestein, and I’m what you might call a theater geek. But, for better or worse, I don’t have the formal education that often goes along with the title.
Believe it or not, I graduated from a business school. And I was quite good at it.
At this point, you’re probably asking the same question that I’ve gotten for years, mostly from family members: Gary, if you were good at business, why on earth are you doing theater reviews instead of making heaps of money?
The reason is simple: I love theater. I’ve loved it from the first time I stepped into an auditorium and, weirdly, that passion seems to grow with the years.
Now imagine a young man completely crazed about theater moving to New York City – what many consider the theater capital of the world. How could I do anything else but get involved?
Even before I started publishing reviews, I used to write down my thoughts on every show I’ve seen. When I found the right venue to make those thoughts public, my situation became clear as day. I knew I could finally get my experiences out there and help other theater lovers find that one special show that will change their lives.
It might sound like a cliche, but for me, that show was Hair. And no, I didn’t see the original 1968 production – I’m not that old. Instead, I caught the concert in Central Park back in 2008 and rushed to see the Diane Paulus version on Broadway the following year.
That show was the turning point in my life before I was even aware of its impact. Now, I’m dedicated to helping other people find their own Hair. Even better, I’m not doing it alone.
A long way from my lonesome beginnings, today I work with a team of theater aficionados whom I consider as much a force behind Gary on Broadway as myself.
My team consists of Lucy, Brian, and Hannah – three gems of people I’ve gathered over years.
A large part of what my team does involves logistics. They supply the tech support, keep the website clean and updated, and try to juggle our hectic schedule, with varying success. But those aren’t the primary strengths of my power trio.
Lucy, Brian, and Hannah also do occasional reviews on the site. Yes, sometimes the review you read won’t come from me. However, the quality will be just as high – I vouch for my crew.
Of course, since you’ll be reading their reviews from time to time, some disclosure is necessary. No surnames, though – my team members prefer to stay anonymous, which is a trait I respect completely.
Lucy is a theater veteran with a fresh look in her eyes that doesn’t reveal the vast experience behind them. You’ve never seen her on stage. Instead, Lucy spent years working on almost all production jobs imaginable – from scenery through lighting and even up to collaborating on a script.
On the other hand, Brian tried his hand in live performances. In fact, he did more than try – Brian was an ensemble member (of sorts) for a production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. His unique insight into stage life continues to fuel our work and give a certain twist to every Gary on Broadway review.
Finally, Hannah is the one we call the mastermind of the team. This might come as a surprise because, unlike Lucy and Brian, Hannah doesn’t come from a theater background. She’s a film production graduate. We don’t discriminate against movie buffs here – it turns out there’s plenty of overlap between theater and film, and nobody knows more about production intricacies than Hannah.
Style of Gary’s Reviews
Now that you know more about me and the power trio behind my work, you might wonder why our reviews read so straightforwardly. Essentially, we’re a group of theater experts. Then why aren’t the reviews of the standard, high-brow kind more appropriate to our expertise?
The answer is simple: I feel there are more than enough complicated deep dives into individual shows. I didn’t learn to love the art from such reviews, and I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way.
The main mission behind Gary on Broadway is to connect novice viewers with shows that will mean something to them. That’s why we focus on straightforward reviews that won’t burden the reader with technicalities and overly complex language.
If you’re already an experienced theater-goer with a refined taste that took years to develop, you won’t need an online in-depth review to get you in the seat. The people I want to attract to the auditorium are those still on the fence.
Also, I’ve never viewed theater as a pastime for the elite. My idea of the art is that it’s something universal, available to everyone. And that’s how I’ll present every show on this site – not as a difficult, intellectual endeavor, but as an experience that might change your life.
While Gary on Broadway is heading in the right direction as it is, there’s more this platform could achieve. More importantly, there’s more my team and I want to achieve.
As great as the written word is, we’ve been playing around with the idea of video content. We even made some demos that might see the light of day soon enough. In the future, my intention is to publish video reviews in addition to the written ones. And if all goes well, the video material will become regular content on the site.
I’ve also started working on branching out and networking. Right now, Gary on Broadway is in talks with some exciting potential partnerships. But I’ve spent too much time around theater actors to not become just a bit superstitious, so I won’t reveal anything else before it happens.
Suffice it to say, we have some great plans for the website. Stay tuned, and you’ll see great stuff coming out pretty soon.
Get in Contact
If you like what we do at Gary on Broadway and would like me to take a deep dive into a play or do an exclusive interview, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll talk and make an appointment to figure out all the details.