ABOUT | THEATERTIMES
The Theater Times (theatertimes.org) is one-man repository of occasional theater and jazz reviews and interviews of interest to artists, audiences and educators in Southern California.
It was launched in 2005 by Cristofer "Gaucho" Gross after a 22-year run as Public Relations Director of Orange County's South Coast Repertory Theatre (April 1983 through December 2004). In the following years he wrote for Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Musco Center for the Arts (Chapman University), AllAboutJazz, Premier OC (Orange Coast Magazine), and for both corporate and non-profit clients, among them Claremont Graduate University, California Association of REALTORS®, Fidelity National Real Estate Services and and WFG National Title Insurance Company.
From 2017 to 2020 he worked with the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation on its communication platforms and the annual festival held in and around Lake Arrowhead, where he lives
Gross was previously an editor of an inflight magazine based in Orange County, California, and a biweekly music newspaper in Philadelphia, where he lived briefly after graduating from the University of Southern California's School of Journalism. He has also wrote features or reviews for The Orange County Register, Westways, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Orange Coast, San Diego Union Tribune and Emmy Magazine.
Having been trained as a reporter and news editor, then splitting the bulk of his career between feature writing and theater promotion, he brings both an objective perspective and an insider's understanding to the task of assessing a theater production:
The critic can choose to serve any or all of theater's three masters: the public, the profession, or the play. By public I'm referring to the consumer, the outsider whose ticket purchase amounts to the biggest source of support for the art, and whose tastes and depth of knowledge may determine the art form's direction and health. The profession begins with that staging's production team, from the cast, crew and designers to the theater's producers and artistic directors, staff and board if there is one. But it also includes the wider theater community of actors, directors, playwrights as well as scholars and even critics, all of whom contribute to the current state of the art.
The play is the art work itself. It's the ephemeral experience of live performance. It is the voice of the playwright, but it goes deeper to the more mysterious and more subjective voice of the play, which has its own reality and purpose beyond what the playwright intends. And, while honoring the interests of the patrons and producers whose worlds meet at the fourth wall, we listen for what the play wants us to understand. In most Theatertimes reviews, we are reporting on narrative and its significance, and what the production did to convey it, elaborate on it, deepen it and so on.
Reviews are written to entertain, inform, and critique but also to encourage. Every review or critique should carry the message that theater is an art form with tremendous power to enlighten and entertain, and if the production at hand falls short of its potential, the next one will likely surpass it.