Authors at Opening Night in a surreal celebration of classic literature with lighting effects creating a unique virtual world. Digital art by Edward Kliszus
A surreal celebration of classic literature with lighting effects creating a unique virtual world. Digital Art by Edward Kliszus

Our New York City based Critics at Opening Night review theater, music, movies, travel, books, and restaurants. They then share their discoveries with you. For more information, visit Reviews and Welcome to Opening Night!

Check out some our readers’ favorite posts like Sondheim Unplugged at 54 Below,  A Trip to Beautiful CyprusA Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, or The Kat Dave Show at MPAC, 

Passionate Authors

Indeed, it takes a truly dedicated and passionate individual to become a critic. Undoubtedly, these individuals possess an immense love for the subject matter they critique. Indeed, their work reflects a deep dedication to their craft. They hone their skills to attain objectivity, insight, and rigor through study and reflection. 

Clarity and Precision

Authors at opening night strive to analyze, synthesize, and communicate complex ideas with clarity and precision. These reviewers are driven by a desire to share their knowledge and expertise with the world. Consequently, they ignite a spark of interest and enthusiasm in their audience. 

Commentary and Insights

Passion and commitment result in invaluable commentary and insights, enriching and enhancing audiences’ experiences. Let us celebrate the authors at Opening Night who work tirelessly to share their love of the arts. Thus, they inspire us to embrace new forms of creative expression.

Knowledge and Experience

Being a critic is not an easy job and requires a lot of preparation. Anyone who wants to review various topics such as theatre, music, books, restaurants, and travel needs a strong knowledge base. Likewise, they need experience in that area, achievable through studying and working in the field.

Insightful Observations

It is not enough to provide one’s opinion, as authors at opening night are expected to go above that and provide insightful observations and analyses. They conduct research and investigate the venues they review. For instance, critics listen to an artist’s discography before writing a review about their latest album.

Fair and Thoughtful

Likewise, critics carefully read the book they want to critique to convey valuable insights that help readers distinguish what worked and what didn’t. Therefore, to become a great critic, one must be fair and thoughtful and continuously keep learning, researching, and analyzing.

More Information

We welcome you to enjoy Opening Night Reviews. Be sure to also visit our friends at The Front Row Center and A New Yorker’s Point of View.

Picture of Valerie Blanchard

Valerie Blanchard

Valérie Blanchard possesses a passion for theater, music, fine wines, dining, travel, and literature with a focus on poetry. An admirer of the symbolism of André Gide and the literary grandeur of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, Blanchard enjoys sensual and evocative prose, often exploring themes of love, desire, and the complexities of human relationships. Her critical insights are well-informed and reveal an ability to identify emerging trends in the arts.

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Picture of Victoria L. Dammer

Victoria L. Dammer

Graduate of Harvard with a Master of Journalism, Victoria Dammer is a brilliant writer, world traveler, entrepreneur, sportswriter, and freelance photographer. For five years, she has written the Jets Fan Chatter column for TapInto.net, an online franchised newspaper with over 15 million readers. Her travel pieces will transport you to exotic and exciting places. Her food articles will make you hungry, and her photography inspire. She is a member of New York's The Players Club and enjoys reading and writing literary reviews. She recently started writing Broadway and Off-Broadway reviews for The Front Row Center. In addition, she is working on two books, a women's adult fiction novel and a children's book.

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Picture of Elizabeth Ann Foster

Elizabeth Ann Foster

Harvard-educated journalist and native New Yorker Elizabeth Ann Foster is a master chef and founder of the Natural Epicurean Culinary School based in Austin Texas. She managed and trained natural foods' chefs at Casa De Luz community macrobiotic center serving downtown Austin and is a certified Chef from the Kushi Institute and Vega Center in holistic healing and vegetarian-based culinary cuisine. A world traveler with an international perspective and diverse interests, for nearly a decade she has written reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre for The Front Row Center and the New York Theatre Guide. She currently resides in both Manhattan and beautiful Southwestern Florida. Foster is a member of the New York and Naples, Fl. chapters of the Harvard Club, and The Players Club in Manhattan.

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Picture of Holli Harms

Holli Harms

Holli is a playwright and screenwriter. She is a Dramatists Guild Fellow recipient, Terence G Hall Fellowship recipient and EST/Sloan Foundation recipient for her play about the first death in space. She is a member of Dramatist Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre, on the board of Women In the Arts and Media Coalition and a contributing writer with Verbal Supply Company http://www.verbalsupplycompany.com. She lives in Manhattan's West Village with her husband, daughter and dog, Arlo Guthrie Marshmallow.

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Timothy Harty

World traveler Timothy Harty is a gifted photographer artist known for his travelogues, landscapes, and nature portraiture. His particularly keen, insightful visions of nature's beauty and mystery come alive in his work, delivering to the viewer unique and memorable perspectives. His work is breathtaking! Instagram @tsharty. Please note that if you use one of his photos you must include the full attribution in the caption as follows (Photo credit: Timothy Harty)

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Melissa Heche

Melissa Heche, Au.D is dually certified as a Doctor of Audiology and a Certified Speech Pathologist. She is the Director of New York Speech and Hearing, Inc. – a private practice based in NYC that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus, and voice disorders. She completed her Doctorate of Audiology at Salus University and earned dual Master’s degrees (Speech Pathology/Audiology) at Hofstra University. She holds a CAOHC certificate as a Professional Supervisor in Hearing Conservation; she works with special populations in hearing conservation and is a specialist in musician’s hearing healthcare. She is active with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) organization, with whom she participates in lobbying events promoting music education and early hearing conservation. Certified Sound Engineer with particular experience in live music venue sound systems. This experience has made her a resource for hearing healthcare in the music industry.

Dr. Heche provides informational seminars on topics including vocal health practices, public speaking, musicians’ hearing healthcare issues, general communication, and business practices. She has been published in national trade journals, discussing increased access to audiological services, noise-induced hearing loss, and musician’s hearing healthcare.

She is a stage performer and musician with a presence in both the cabaret/theatre and rock music circuits. She holds a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and performance and continues to step onstage in the metro NY area for small concerts and show runs.

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Picture of Tulis McCall

Tulis McCall

For my money, the theatre is up there in the ten top reasons to be human. I leave my home and go sit in a dark room with complete strangers and watch actors do their stuff because I want to be inspired. I’m asking to be involved. I’m volunteering to be led down any old path they choose as long as they don’t let go of my hand. And if I see a show, and it is NOT so very good – I will try to divert you, because I don’t want you to come to the temple when the preaching isn’t up to snuff. I will bar the door, I will swing from rafters, I will yell FIRE just to set your feet on a path that does not lead to disappointment. Do something different with your evening I will say. Save your money for dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in months because you are too frigging busy. Go take a walk with your dog or your child or your significant other. Go to bed early, I will say. Don’t come to the theatre when it is less than it can be. I’m an usher snob, and that’s all there is to it.

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Picture of Edward A. Kliszus

Edward A. Kliszus

Edward Kliszus is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the International Association of Theatre Critics, The Players Club in Manhattan, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802. He studied trumpet performance and music education at the Manhattan School of Music and was a student of Mel Broiles, principal trumpet of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He is the former music director and conductor of the New Jersey-based Union Symphony Orchestra. He currently focuses his artistic and creative endeavors on writing, music composition, piano jazz, and as a critic for TheFrontRowCenter.com, and OpeningNight.Online. Ph.D. New York University, M.M. Manhattan School of Music, and B.M. Nyack College.

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Sora Vernikoff

Insightful author, journalist, blogger, world traveler, and Best-Selling and Award-Winning Author of Eat What You Want! Stop When You Want! found at A No-Diet, Weight-Loss Program at www.nodieting.net or Amazon. She has taught hundreds of unhappy dieters to use her eat and stop yourself weight-loss program to lose weight and find peace with food. Sora Vernikoff holds two Master’s Degrees, the first in Teaching and the second in English as a Second Language. She taught in the New York City Public School System in East New York, Brooklyn for 30 years and has traveled the globe. For many years she was also the New York City Charity writer for Examiner.com. An avid blogger, her own www.anewyorkerspointofview.com shares all things fun and entertaining in New York City while posting her interesting trips under the blog’s Travel tab. She is currently immersed in writing her next book, which teaches a Positivity Program letting you immediately zap negative or self-doubting thoughts in one session with but one question.

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