Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The times they are a-changing (again): My announcement regarding EncoreMichigan.com and The Wilde Awards

My last shot at hosting The Wilde Awards!
photo by Sean Carter

This announcement was sent to the management teams of the state's professional theaters early this afternoon.

* * * * * * * * * *

For some of you, this will sound familiar, but effective October 1, I will no longer be part of the editorial and management teams of EncoreMichigan.com.

As many of you may recall, I initially retired from both EncoreMichigan.com and Pride Source Media Group in December 2014 because of health issues. But when David Kiley assumed ownership of EncoreMichigan.com in March 2015, he asked that I return in a part-time capacity to help him navigate the business and the community. It’s now 18 months later, and I think it’s time for David to fully grab the reins and take the company where he sees fit without having a personal Jiminy Critic whispering such things as “Are you sure you want to do that?” and “This is why we’ve always done it this way” in his ear.

What most people don’t understand is this: Much of the funding to keep EncoreMichigan.com going is coming from David’s personal bank account. And so I believe it’s time for him to get the kudos he deserves for the significant investment he’s making in the community without having me overshadow his accomplishments (something I was reminded of at this year’s Wilde Awards).

So does this mean I’m retreating into the darkness, never to be heard from again? Oh, heck no!

Although I plan to take some time away from the theater community to focus on long-neglected personal projects and a close friend’s campaign for political office (if you’re a Wayne County resident and honesty and integrity matter to you, I urge you to vote for Kelly Ann Ramsey for Circuit Court judge), I plan to continue working as a freelance journalist for various local outlets, and I’ve told David that once his budget can afford to add interviews and feature stories to the mix, I’ll gladly return once or twice a week with my once-popular series, “A Few Minute With…” And as time and interest allow, I’ll gladly assist with special projects that arise for which he asks for my help (or that I suggest we tackle).

Plus, there are a couple of theater-related projects I’ve been talking about for a handful of years that might finally get some traction – and I’m working on a brand NEW theater-related project that might be of interest to you, which COULD be announced sometime over the next month or so. Keep watching my blog for more information (http://crankycritic2.blogspot.com). (A few details still need to be worked out.)

Then there’s The Wilde Awards. Although it wasn’t publicly announced, I decided last year to step away as producer and host of the annual ceremony because I believe it’s time for others to step in and reinvigorate the show. And so David took on the full producing responsibilities this year, while this was my last as writer and host.

However, since I feel it’s important that consistent management should be maintained to ensure the integrity of the process that determines each year’s nominations and winners, David has appointed me executive director of The Wilde Awards. My sole functions will be to manage the nominations process (a year-long responsibility), oversee the event’s media relations, and maintain the awards’ history, which we’ll begin posting on EncoreMichigan.com and my blog over the next several weeks.

And although I don’t plan to review shows for EncoreMichigan.com in the near future (except to help out when schedule conflicts occur), I’ve also agreed to serve as a “second set of eyes” on shows the critics or others believe may deserve a potential Wilde Awards nomination. (You’ll hear more about that soon.)

Obviously, then, my departure from the media company side of the business doesn’t mean you’ll finally be rid of me. (No such luck!) However, I do want to publicly acknowledge at this time the fact that I’ve enjoyed working with all of you in my editorial capacity. Although our community can at times be a fractious one, our theaters are managed and staffed by amazing individuals who all have one common goal – and that’s to produce great theater. And they do. Consistently.

And so it’s been my pleasure to work with you to help spread the good news as far and wide as I possibly could. And I look forward to continuing our relationship as my future endeavors (and second eye visits) cause us to cross paths yet again down the road.



  1. Great wishes to you on your new adventure and thank you for all of the time, talent and experience you've devoted to the theatre community throughout the years. We can still do lunch, right? :)))

  2. Dear Don,
    You are terrible at retiring, I am glad you can come enjoy shows sitting next to me now, instead of telling me to move away from you, and I hope you have a lot of fun "resting".

    All my love,
    Elaine (Hendriks) Smith

    1. Yes, I an indeed terrible at it. Practice makes perfect, however!!! And thanks!