Friday, January 23, 2009

The Theatrosphere Welcomes

Received this press release today. (And you thought the only thing in Texas with the detritus of George W.!)

Two critics, more than 60 theaters and plenty to say about the arts scene in North Texas come together at, a new web site launching today.

Founders and co-editors Elaine Liner and Mark Lowry created the multimedia site as a direct result of diminishing arts coverage in daily papers, monthly magazines and broadcast media in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Lowry left his job as theater critic at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last year in a round of buyouts. Liner remains the theater critic at Dallas Observer, where she has covered performing arts since 2001. She has teamed with Lowry on to provide up-to-the-minute online news, reviews and commentary that will include video interviews, audio and video podcasts and other features that go beyond the printed page.

The new site’s name was inspired by regional theater pioneer Margo Jones, who started her experimental theater-in-the-round at Dallas’ Fair Park in the 1940s.

With the $350 million Dallas Center for the Performing Arts set to open in the fall, Lowry and Liner saw an urgent need for expanded and diverse media attention for the area’s many theater companies.

“Theater and the performing arts should be covered as vigorously and thoroughly as the Dallas Cowboys or the ever-changing restaurant scene in North Texas,” says Lowry. “ is the perfect way to let the world know about the incredible actors, designers, playwrights and other artists we have here. We want the world to recognize them for the talented stars they are.”

“We want readers to become as addicted to as they are to Gawker for showbiz news and Huffington Post for politics,” says Liner.

Among the features on Lowry’s reviews of new productions; Liner’s video interviews and short video feature stories going behind the scenes at local theaters; “Stage Whispers,” offering the latest audition notices, casting news, comings-and-goings and gossip; “Dead Ringers,” daring to cheekily expose rude theatergoers who interrupt performances; “Because You Said Macbeth,” an ongoing collection of real-life theater mishaps; and “Coy Stories,” a blog by witty actor-director Coy Covington.

The site also will provide comprehensive listings of current and upcoming theater productions, with links to web sites and maps.

Lowry calls himself a “proud drama geek” who studied theater in college before turning his focus to journalism at the University of Texas at Arlington. He was an original staff writer at Fort Worth Weekly, and was the theater writer for the Star-Telegram for more than 10 years. He is a member of the American Theater Critics Association and the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum, and was a 2003 fellow at the National Critics Institute at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut. He won several Amon Carter awards for his writing at the Star-Telegram. In addition to, he writes for THE Magazine DFW, and, as well as 140-character critiques via his Twitter feed, TweetTheater.

Liner, a Dallas native, studied with Dallas Theater Center founder Paul Baker at Trinity University, where she earned a B.A. in drama. She has a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Southern Methodist University. Liner won Dallas Press Club Katie Awards for investigative reporting and commentary as a Dallas Observer writer in the 1980s. She then wrote media criticism for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Toledo Blade for a decade, winning numerous awards from the Associated Press and Women in Communications. She was twice named Thurber Journalist-in-Residence at Ohio State and has taught writing and criticism at SMU and Collin College. She returned to Dallas Observer in 2001 and was a 2005 Critic Fellow at the O’Neill Critics Institute. She’s also a member of the DFW Theater Critics Forum.

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