In his excellent piece about the success of "Doubt," a current smash hit on Broadway ["For 'Doubt,' a Certain Magic," July 10], Peter Marks mentions one of the vagaries of the legitimate theater that affects even the most accomplished playwrights. As mentioned, "Doubt" in an initial production at the Pasadena (Calif.) Playhouse drew a mixed review from the Los Angeles Times -- often the death knell for a play to transfer to other theaters, much less to Broadway.

At least when a play finally reaches Broadway or Off-Broadway, there are a sufficient number of critics to offset one unfavorable review. However, it would have been a pity if a single reviewer in Los Angeles had brought the production of "Doubt" to an abrupt halt, aborting its future Pulitzer and Tony Award and depriving theater audiences of the pleasure of viewing it.

Unfortunately many plays of merit have met an early demise at the hands of a single critic away from New York with a scathing review that has buried the play without any opportunity of reaching the New York stage or elsewhere.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

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