NY Times Theater Critic Ben Brantley to Step Down After 24 Years

“This pandemic pause in the great, energizing party that is the theater seemed to me like a good moment to slip out the door,” he says

New York Times co-chief theater critic Ben Brantley is stepping down after 24 years in the top role, the Times confirmed Thursday.

His last day on the job will be Oct. 15. The other co-chief theater critic, Jesse Green, will remain in his role and the Times is seeking to replace Brantley.

In a statement included in an internal email to staff, Brantley said, “This pandemic pause in the great, energizing party that is the theater seemed to me like a good moment to slip out the door. But when the theater returns, I hope to be there — as a writer, an audience member and, above all, the stark raving fan I have been since I was a child.”

He joined the Times in 1993 and moved into the top critic spot in 1996, remaining there for nearly a quarter of a century.

Times theater reporter Michael Paulson wrote on Twitter that Brantley’s departure marks the “end of an era.” In the staff email sent internally Thursday, culture editor Gilbert Cruz and theater editor Scott Heller called Brantley a “cultural omnivore” and praised the way “his wonderfully wide-ranging knowledge is there in every piece he writes.”

“New York Times readers will miss Ben’s regular presence. But between our co-chief critic, Jesse Green, and our corps of regular contributors, they are in expert hands. The Times remains committed to robust theater coverage, and we plan to take our time during this pause selecting Ben’s full-time successor,” they wrote.