David Rosenberg: Memories of a fine critic and a better friend

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By Karen Isaacs

The Connecticut (and New York) theater scene is poorer with the passing of David Rosenberg. His accomplishments and knowledge of theater was astonishing. But mainly, he was a kind and dear friend.

I met David when he and another Fairfield country critic, Irene Bakalanick, came up with the idea of forming a Connecticut Critics Circle; a place where critics could talk with each other, share opinions (usually differing) and discuss our mutual love – theater. My husband and I were among a group invited to the first meeting.

What struck us about David was his manner – gentle but firm. His opinions were based on his extensive knowledge of theater and his experience in theater. But he was always kind; he understood the enormous challenge of making theater and though he may have thought something poor or misguided, he was never mean.

He was that way with people. We, and later I, had many vigorous discussions about various productions. Sometimes we saw eye-to-eye about and other times we were on totally different pages. But he never demeaned your opinions not matter how much he may have privately thought they were incorrect.

As a leader of the Connecticut Critics Circle, he guided the group through its formative years and into its adulthood. He handled the disparate personalities with aplomb and kept the group focused on its goal – not only to provide a place where critics could meet but to also help support and promote the wonderful theater that Connecticut offered.

He was a cheerleader for theater, but he was also honest; not everything was “wonderful” or “worth seeing.”

Through his efforts and those of Irene and others, the group established first its awards program, and the Tom Killan Award which honored a Connecticut person for contributions to Connecticut theater. That award has honored everyone from artistic directors to major supporters to organizations.

But for me, David was also a friend. We bonded over our love of theater and our love of dogs. We consoled each other when we lost a dog and cheered when we got a new one.

His greatest contribution to me, was his empathy and understanding when my dear husband passed away. He was always concerned and seemed to intuitively know not only what I was feeling but the perfect words.

I will miss him.

Playbill Article

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