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The Wrong Man

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Oh, Jack. How could you treat me this way?

I've always believed that theater people responding to reviews is the sports equivalent of baseball players arguing balls and strikes with the umpire: there's no place for it. Except when it comes to cold hard facts.

So, in response to Jack Helbig's recent Critic's Choice for Famous Door's production of Hellcab [November 17]: Hey! This is now twice this year that you've somehow wrongly "credited" me. While charting the long life of Will Kern's comedy you state that "James Schneider directed a lamentable version of it six months ago . . . " Well I don't know what version you're recalling, having never directed any version of Hellcab. In the fall of '93 I acted in a production directed by Scott Kennedy. That was over two years ago! If only you would assume the burden of checking out your own reviews.

In fact, six months ago I was indeed at Famous Door acting in their coproduction with the Pivens of The Shoemakers. And when you reviewed that in New City you did have some nice things to say about the actor playing Gimpel, which was my role until you recast Rob Schneider. Funny, I thought he was still at SNL. I saw no correction printed, even after I wrote in.

When this last happened to me at the Reader about eight years ago, I wrote in (so did my director), and a correction appeared the week after the error. No big deal. But now I hope the Reader will print this letter because, frankly, Jack's earned it. So, check your facts, Jack. In the meantime, get my name right come February for my new show: Clowns, Goddesses, and Tough Guys.

James Schneider

N. Claremont

Jack Helbig replies:

Actually, the James Schneider I referred to in the Hellcab Critic's Choice was not James Schneider the actor, but James Schneider the director (who directed the first production of Lepers several years ago). I was mistaken to give James Schneider (the director) credit for the version of Hellcab I saw last season at the Ivanhoe. That production was directed by Hallie Gordon. I regret the error.

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