The NY Times article points toward how/where this controversy began.
“The review came to the attention of a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Jeffrey Sweet, who alerted other guild members.”
What’s not so well known is that Jeffrey Sweet had an agenda here. As playwright he does not like the way Hedy Weiss reviews his plays. So Jeff has been trying to pick a public fight with Hedy for sometime now. Here’s his Letter to the Editor from six months ago trying to instigate that debate.
Also being a critic, Jeff has access to the media, including writing for The Dramatists (published by The Dramatists’ Guild). So no surprise the scandal should begin here with their letter. He also writes the blog for Back Stage where he did this little piece of investigative journalism.
“I spoke to Joan Mazzonelli, the executive director, and she confirmed to me that Ms. Weiss was explicitly told that these presentations were not for review.”
Joan Mazzonelli told the New York Times something much different.
“Ms. Mazzonelli has distanced herself from the Dramatists Guild, acknowledging that she had not made the festival’s policy clear to Ms. Weiss, whom she had encouraged to attend, along with other members of the press.”
As with many scandals, this may also come down to “he said/she said.” Either Jeffrey Sweet or Joan Mazzonelli is not being honest here.
The celebrity this scandal provokes will of course serve Jeffrey Sweet in many ways. Just by instigating the controversy he already achieved much of his primary agenda of a public debate with Hedy Weiss. But scandals tend to be double-edged sword. If I were a playwright in the Dramatists’ Guild I think I would be annoyed by the exploitative use of their collective authority for such a transparent personal agenda. I might even write a letter.
“Irresponsible” – Edward Albee.
“Ignorant” – Stephen Schwartz.
“Incapable of understanding standards of professional and ethical conduct” – Tony Kushner.