Meet the Rogue

Live theater. Unsolicited commentary.
From Detroit to Lansing.

Carolyn Hayes is the Rogue Critic, est. late 2009.

In 2011, the Rogue attended 155 plays, readings, and festivals (about 3 per week) and penned 115 reviews (about 2.2 per week).

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Theaters and Companies

The Abreact (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2011 SIR

The AKT Theatre Project (Wyandotte)
website | reviews

Blackbird Theatre (Ann Arbor)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Detroit Repertory Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews

The Encore Musical Theatre Co. (Dexter)
website | reviews

Go Comedy! (Ferndale)
website | reviews

Hilberry Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Jewish Ensemble Theatre (West Bloomfield)
website | reviews

Magenta Giraffe Theatre Co. (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Matrix Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Meadow Brook Theatre (Rochester)
website | reviews

Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor)
website | reviews

Planet Ant Theatre (Hamtramck)
website | reviews

Plowshares Theatre (Detroit)
website | reviews

Purple Rose Theatre Co. (Chelsea)
website | reviews

The Ringwald Theatre (Ferndale)
website | reviews

Tipping Point Theatre (Northville)
website | reviews | 2010 SIR

Threefold Productions (Ypsilanti)
website | reviews

Two Muses Theatre (West Bloomfield Township)
website | reviews

Williamston Theatre (Williamston)
website | reviews







Main | 2013 Rogue's Gallery, Part 6 »

Reflections of a Rogue

Writing is hard.
Writing this was harder.

For the better part of four years, three Galleries of commendations, and 325 published reviews, I have sped the highways of Southeast and mid-Michigan to consume and champion its professional theatrical productions. Now, after serious assessment and heartrending reflection, I have made one of the most difficult decisions in my professional life. The Rogue Critic will not be making the foray into the 2013–2014 season.

When I began this project, I had no conception of the magnitude of the thing I was undertaking. Nor did I anticipate what a positive response I would receive from the community, which generously and consistently reached out to me to attend new productions and expand my coverage. As supporting local professional theater and increasing press coverage was my mission, I was glad to fill my calendar with shows and use all of my available time and mental energy (beyond my full-time employment) to schedule and brand and code and correspond and Tweet and, above all, write. But increasingly over the last few seasons, it became clear that all of my available time and mental energy — in addition to being an incredibly draining and unsustainable prospect in its own right — still wasn't enough. No one's is, in the face of more than twenty active companies with full regular and late-night seasons and additional summer programming and more press announcements coming in all the time. 

Thus, the right decision for me is to end the endeavor, cleanly, before committing to another overwhelming season. Scaling back would mean making impossible and possibly unfair decisions between shows, while still not fully addressing the massive burden of work. It would also make the Rogue's Gallery an incomplete, lopsided affair instead of the seasonal capstone that I've been so proud to present. Bringing on additional help would do nothing to eliminate my editorial duties, and add administrative ones besides. And either approach would likely keep me from seeing all the shows I wanted.

Luckily, in the past season I was invited to join the team of critics at, where I have had a steady review output since last January, and I will be staying on as a reviewer there. Knowing that I would still have a presence as a Michigan theater critic has been an enormous source of solace, and during the adjustment period when I revert back to being more of a patron and supporter, I know it will be quite helpful to still be able to contribute in the way I've grown accustomed. 

There is leaving in this, of a sort, in that I am leaving my post here. Yet I have no intention of leaving the theater community that has so graciously welcomed me in. I've been reassuring myself that I can still go see as much theater as I want — and on the precipice of a new season, I can look over my calendar and confirm that is a lot. My hope is that my presence in the houses of Michigan theaters will remain ubiquitous. In fact, whenever I begin to picture my legacy as Rogue emeritus, a stirring speech from a classic book and movie always comes to mind. I'll share it with you here, because the absurdity gap between the context of the lofty original and the predicament of this little blogger is so ludicrously histrionic. (But then again, if you're going to cannibalize someone else's words for your benefit, go with the best.)

Then I'll be all around in the dark — I'll be ever'where — wherever you look.
Wherever [they hold the curtain time so more seats can be squeezed in], I'll be there.
Wherever [a cell phone lets loose at the worst moment], I'll be there...
I'll be in the way [a raised voice asks "What'd he say?"] an' —
I'll be in the way [someone tries to cry without sniffling so hard she draws attention].
An' when our folk [make new spaces and expand their programming and extend their runs]—
—why, I'll be there.
Apologies to John Steinbeck

Photo credit: Joe Plambeck

There'd be no me without you, readers and artists alike. Thanks to one and all, and keep your eyes peeled — you never know where you'll SPOT me next. I, for one, can't wait.

Your Rogue