About Theater Times
The Theater Times (theatertimes.org) is the website for Cristofer Gross. Before his 21 years as Director of Public Relations at South Coast Repertory Theatre (SCR), he had served as editor of AirCal's inflight magazine and inflights for several smaller commuter lines. While working at SCR, he edited its theater program and newsletters, photographed many productions and events, and wrote scripts for the annual donor appreciation dinner.
After leaving SCR at the beginning of 2005, he worked briefly as a real estate agent before committing to full-time freelance writing for such publications as The Orange County Register, Westways, Emmy Magazine and others. He also wrote for, edited and produced online and print publications for several arts organizations and a Fortune 500 provider of real estate products and services.
In 2005, he launched theaterealtor.com, promoting theater to real estate professionals and their clients and real estate services to the theater community. In January 2007, the mission was changed to focus only on covering Southern California theater and the name was changed to theatertimes.org.
Theatertimes began carrying reviews as well as artist interviews in the “Intermission: 15 minutes with . . . .” series. These included playwrights and directors. But, because free lance writing put Gross in touch with many major jazz musicians, “Intermission” also features subjects such as Sonny Rollins, Regina Carter, Tierney Sutton and Rickie Lee Jones.
Because Gross writes all the reviews and conducts all the interviews, theatertimes must keep its coverage to a manageable level, which is the reason behind identifying a dozen partner theater companies in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Theatertimes endeavors to get to every production at these larger venues, which include the region’s LORT houses, Theatre Communications Group members, and larger tour sites.
Having been, as a reporter, an objective outsider and, as a theater publicist, a committed insider, Gross approach theater criticism with a perspective on for the realities – and mutualism – of the front of house and backstage. He believes the job of a critic is to serve three populations that feed and support the art and industry of American theater: a public who invest in tickets and ongoing scholarship; artists and institutions who not only perform for financial compensation but to further their craft and exploration; and the fraternity of writers in general, though specifically those who work to maintain standards of quality and fairness.
Says Gross, “The reviews on The Theater Times site are written to entertain and inform. But they are also written to encourage. I believe the art form can speak to people in unique and powerful ways. To promote that experience, we will listen for the writer’s voice and what it has to say, treat the play as its own entity, apart from its creators’ intentions and the marketing department’s spin. A play has a voice, a heart and a message. Finding it, and capturing it in words for Theater Times readers is a large part of our mission.”