Irena’s Vow is that play about the Polish Catholic housekeeper who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. It got a good review in the Times when it was off-Broadway, but when it moved to the Great White Way recently, the same paper assigned the higher-ranked critic Charles Isherwood, who called it “hokum” (though he liked star Tovah Feldshuh).
Well, “manipulative hokum” wouldn’t look too good in the ads, so in the “ABCs” listing section of the very same paper, what does Irena’s Vow use for blurbs? Quotes from people on nytimes.com! In other words, anonymous comments from a board that asks anyone who’s registered (for free) to come up with whatever screen name they want and post an opinion!
” ‘An extraordinary experience’–nytimes.com,” says the listing, brazenly enough. I looked at the site and saw that the quote in question came from someone calling themselves barrym14. Most shows would rather quote Ben Brantley or Charles Isherwood, but in this case, I guess barrym 14 will have to do.
As some other anonymous person on another Broadway-related board pointed out, the people they’re quoting might very well be the show’s producers! If so, they’ve truly fulfilled their role of providing a show that gets guaranteed raves.