A busy week in Gotham theater has resulted in a tussle over reviews among the city’s major dailies.
The New York Post failed to run a review of the new Broadway musical “Amour” in the Monday editions, breaking precedent for the first time in recent memory.
Instead the paper ran a review of the starry Off Broadway revival of “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” starring Al Pacino — despite the fact that the “Arturo Ui” producers had requested that reviews be held until today, in deference to “Amour,” which skedded its opening long before “Arturo” announced its press dates.
The decision can’t have been welcome to the producers of “Amour,” who include the Shubert Organization. The show received downbeat notices from most papers, and the Post’s Broadway critic Clive Barnes’ notice was a rare “up” one, the critic said — after expressing surprise at being told his review didn’t run in Monday’s paper.
Producers of “Amour” can thank a mini-feud between the Post and the New York Times for the belated appearance of much-needed positive news on their show.
The Post was aware that the Times would hold its review until today. Times critic Ben Brantley had asked publicists of “Arturo Ui” if the review embargo for the Al Pacino starrer could be pushed back a day to avoid conflict with “Amour.” The publicity office sent out a request suggesting that reviews be held.
“We had heard of the Times request,” said Post features editor Faye Penn, “and it was a motivating factor to go with the Pacino on Monday. But it was a hard call,” she said of bumping “Amour” to Tuesday.
Why not go with “Amour” and the “Arturo Ui” review, written by Donald Lyons, in the same edition?
“We have limited space,” said Penn.
Particularly when the topic is Broadway.
As for the review contretemps, Brantley remarked, “It was a gentlemen’s agreement and some people aren’t gentlemen.”
The Daily News ran reviews of both shows. Newsday, AP and Daily Variety were among the outlets that honored the request to hold the “Ui” reviews a day.
Daily Variety reported the producers of “Flower Drum Song” would favor radio over print advertising due to the show’s lackluster reviews (Daily Variety, Oct. 20).
On Monday, Time magazine and a few out-of-town papers delivered raves for the revival.
New game plan: There goes another $75,000 for a full-pager in the Times this Friday.