Ben BrantleyBenjamin D. "Ben" Brantley (born October 26, 1954) is an American theater critic, journalist, editor, publisher and writer. He is currently the co-chief theater critic for The New York Times.
Life and careerBorn in Durham, North Carolina, Brantley received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1977, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Brantley began his journalism career as a summer intern at the Winston-Salem Sentinel and, in 1975, became an editorial assistant at The Village Voice. At Women's Wear Daily, he was a reporter and then editor (1978-January 1983), and later became the European editor, publisher, and Paris bureau chief until June 1985.
For the next eighteen months, Brantley freelanced, writing regularly for Elle, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker before joining The New York Times as a Drama Critic (August 1993). He was elevated to Chief Theater Critic three years later.
Brantley is the editor of The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century, a compilation of 125 reviews published by St. Martin's Press in 2001. He received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 1996-1997. He is the subject of the website, DidHeLikeIt.com, that uses a "Ben-Ometer" to translate current Broadway show reviews. The website also has reviews from Newsday, New York Daily News, AmNY, Variety, USA Today, and other major publications.
Brantley has been dubbed a "celebrity underminer". In an article in The New York Times, published on January 3, 2010, he expressed his ambivalence about the "unprecedented heights" of "star worship on Broadway during the past 10 years".
In July 2018, Brantley was widely criticized for his review of the musical Head Over Heels. Many considered the review to be transphobic and read it as misgendering the principal character played by Peppermint. To address the criticism, the Times edited the review and Brantley apologized for it, writing that he had tried to "reflect the light tone of the show".