Theater critic Michael Kuchwara dies

Well-liked critic had reviewed for the AP since 1984

Michael Kuchwara, the longtime legit critic and reporter for the Associated Press, died Saturday night at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. He was 63.

His death is attributed to complications from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease.

A well-liked and stalwart presence on the New York theater scene, Kuchwara had reviewed for the AP since 1984. In recent years as more and more newspapers opted to cut staff theater critics and run reviews from wire services, Kuchwara’s notices, read in hundreds of publications, gained increasing prominence.

Known for his easygoing personality, his prolific output and his seemingly tireless affection for the theater, Kuchwara had been working until earlier this month. His final review, of Off Broadway musical “The Kid,” ran May 10.

Born in Scranton, Pa., Kuchwara cited his childhood attendance of “Third Best Sport,” starring Celeste Holm, as the production that excited his interest in theater.

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At the AP, where he worked for 40 years, he had served as a general assignment editor and reporter in Chicago and then on the national news desk in New York before taking up his post as theater critic and reporter.

Kuchwara is survived by his wife and sister.