LETTERS: Newspaper should support theater community

Theater community

A newspaper should be a reflection of its community. Otherwise, the more immediate media will eclipse the newspaper as a source of information. Yet Las Vegas, which bills itself as the entertainment capital of the world, provides scarce coverage of the variety of events that take place here.

Newspapers such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times provide daily coverage of movies, theater and other artistic happenings around town. The Review-Journal, the newspaper of record for Las Vegas, can barely muster the resources for a weekly “Neon” section that provides entertainment listings and articles, along with only a handful of reviews. Now, the R-J is scaling back local theater reviews? All the more shame on the Review-Journal (“Changes offer more options to readers,” Nov. 9 R-J).

While the hotel entertainment and big-name concerts tend to get coverage, theater in this town will languish in the wake of small advertising budgets. These smaller venues will soon find it difficult and perhaps almost impossible to survive without the support of Las Vegas’ biggest daily newspaper.

We have some fine theater offerings here. On a regular basis, one could attend a wide variety of productions, from the more commercial fare of the Las Vegas Little Theatre to the more challenging contributions of the Public Fit and the Cockroach Theatre, to name just a few. Yet I have to wonder how many people were aware of these productions, much less the pleasure they might have experienced.

Another travesty is the lack of coverage for the first-rate theater department offerings from UNLV. The program produces professional-quality productions, with highly trained and experienced students actors, as well as professional guest artists and faculty who not only teach, but do. Its current production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a case in point. The play features Broadway actor Armin Shimerman; Christopher Edwards, the theatre program’s artistic director and professor; Brandon Burk, who most recently appeared at the renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival; and students who have repeatedly given outstanding performances in a number of productions presented so far this year.

In fact, the UNLV theater department has plans to evolve into a nationally recognized company, something the R-J may want to be aware of.

It would truly be a shame if the Review-Journal was no longer a major supporter of the vibrant theater community of Las Vegas. I urge you to reconsider your decision and provide reviews again, as well as more extensive coverage.

Michael Ollins

Las Vegas

Passing the buck

The alleged conduct of former Boulder City Animal Control Supervisor Mary Jo Frazier in euthanizing animals under her care is something that should have been handled long ago (“Officials knew of high kill rate,” Sunday Review-Journal). But the pass-the-buck mentality embraced by city officials and Police Chief Bill Conger is questionable at best.

Whether the practice was in play during then-Police Chief Tom Finn’s reign is irrelevant. His exit was somewhat abrupt. The subsequent selection process for his replacement was limited and without a reasonable search for qualified candidates. Neither Chief Conger nor city officials took decisive action to address a known problem.

Unfortunately, small cities are often susceptible to the stigma of incestuous politics and nepotism when hiring employees or electing officials. Friendship, family, political payback and religion, among other issues, are often considered more important than providing the optimum candidate. The welfare of the city and people are often seen as a lesser consideration. A concerned citizen is often ignored by small government, when the opposite should be the immediate reaction.

Most appalling is the finger-pointing and the deflection of responsibility. To Chief Conger, I say that in the first six months after you assume a position, you can blame your predecessor. After that, it’s all on you. To the rest in positions to have taken action against this alleged conduct, it’s probably time for some personal reflection — or resignations.

John Stites


Judge’s pension

Thank goodness that federal prosecutors are trying to get at the pension of ex-Clark County Family Court Judge Steven Jones, in order to pay restitution to Jones’ victims in an investment scheme. When public officials abuse the public trust and profit from those actions, their retirements should go back to the victims.

Year after year, we see corrupt officials removed from office, but they still enjoy lucrative retirements. Hopefully this will lead to a new policy, so that corrupt officials don’t get any retirement from the years they were engaged in those illegal and unethical activities.

Carolyn Boyle

Las Vegas

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