Dear Reader editor,
I've been an avid reader of your paper for years. I'm writing to offer my opinion on the new format your paper introduced on Friday, September 17. I have specifically used your theater section for years as a comprehensive guide to plan my theater outings. I was really disappointed to see that you've removed the "Highly Recommended," "Openings," and "Closings" columns from your theater section (the "Short List"). Those columns have always made selecting a play much easier based on one of those factors (and were unique to the Reader's theater section). With the new format, if I'm looking to find a "highly recommended" show, I am forced to comb through all of your listings (which at times can be as many as 100) in search of an "R." If I'm looking for a show that's opening, I must decipher the distinction between a small "N," which represents an opening, and a large "N," which apparently means it's been open for at least a week but newly reviewed. And if that's not confusing enough, there is no indication at all for a show that is closing.
The Reader has always been the best place to find a show to see. With the removal of the above (not to mention the abbreviated reviews), you are now beginning to resemble NewCity's theater section--which, let's face it, is not something to emulate. The new design is definitely hip and eye-catching--but let's retain the necessary substance as well.
W. Belle Plaine