Sun-Times drops theater critic Hedy Weiss

Hedy Weiss (Photo: Rich Hein/Sun-Times)

Eight months after the Chicago Sun-Times ran an editorial declaring “We support our theater critic, Hedy Weiss,” the paper is dropping the curtain on her.

“Today is Hedy Weiss’s last day as a Sun-Times employee,” editor-in-chief Chris Fusco said Friday. “She’s had a remarkable 33-year career covering the theater and arts scene in Chicago, and we wish her well. The Sun-Times is excited about Chicago’s burgeoning arts community, and we look forward to rolling out new coverage plans in the future.”

Weiss did not respond to a request for comment, but she told friends she was notified weeks ago that her position was being eliminated. Weiss had been covering theater and dance for the Sun-Times since 1984 (which actually makes it 34 years).

Weiss became embroiled in controversy last year when a group called the Chicago Theater Accountability Coalition gathered more than 2,000 signatures on an online petition protesting alleged “racism, homophobia and body shaming found in [Weiss’s] reviews.” The petition asked local theater companies not to invite her to their productions. The complaint was sparked by a review of Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Pass Over.”

In response the Sun-Times came to the defense of Weiss, publishing an editorial headlined: “We stand by our critic and a vital Chicago theater scene.” The opening paragraph stated: “Let’s begin by making one point clear: We support our theater critic, Hedy Weiss. She will continue to be a valued critic for the Sun-Times.”

One month later, new ownership of the Sun-Times under a group led by Edwin Eisendrath took over the paper.

Since 2002 Weiss also has served as theater and dance critic for “Chicago Tonight,” the nightly news magazine on WTTW-Channel 11.