This performance is currently sold out. Please select another performance from the calendar, or check back later.

Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen (USA)


The Public: Martinson Hall

Friday, January 5 - Monday, January 15

Running Time: 1 Hour and 25 Minutes

Members and Partners: $20
Full: $25 + fees

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Gonzo journalist, America’s greatest rock critic and inventor of the word “punk,” legendary music writer Lester Bangs was an American icon. Outsized, manic, chaotic, and impossibly creative, Bangs traveled with some of the most mythologized musical figures of the 20th century: The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed­—peeling away the veneer between star and audience and exposing the greats as flawed human beings. As the ragged, rebel ethos of the 70s gave way to the corporate pop of the 80s, Bangs lost the myth he’d built a life around and died of a drug overdose in 1982.

This solo play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (award-winning writers of The Exonerated and Aftermath) adapts Bangs' writing to chart the life, work and death of one of the 20th century’s most ground-breaking, risk-taking, pioneering voices.

play_circle_outline Open Video

HOW TO BE A ROCK CRITIC was developed with generous support from Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA, and was developed in association with ArtsEmerson: World On Stage, and was developed in association with La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series.

THE PHILIP AND JANICE LEVIN FOUNDATION provides support for The Public’s access and engagement programming.

All orders subject to $3 per ticket service fee and $1.50 per ticket facility fee. Service fees for single tickets are waived at the Box Office window. All fees are waived for Public Theater Members and Partners. Plays, titles, actors, directors, and performance dates and times are subject to change. All sales are final, no refunds or cancellations.

Based on the Writings of Lester Bangs
By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Performed by Erik Jensen
Directed by Jessica Blank
Produced by Arktype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann


Scenic Design by Richard Hoover
Lighting Design by Lap Chi Chu
Sound Design by David Robbins
Dramaturgy by P. Carl
Production Stage Manager Pamela Salling
Production Manager & Associate Design by Justin A. Partier
Consultants John Morthland and Billy Altman

Join us for two panel discussions moderated by Andrew Kircher, Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Associate Dramaturg, Devised Theater.

Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

Panel 1: Janek Turkowski (Margarete) and Dickie Beau (Re-Member Me)

Saturday, January 13, 11:00am
Newman Theater

Panel 2: Erik Jensen, Jessica Blank, and Tommy Kriegsmann (How To Be A Rock Critic) and Roger Guenveur Smith and Travis Preston (The Hendrix Project)
Sunday, January 14, 11:00am
Martinson Hall

 Post-Show Discussions - Members of the cast and creative team will take questions from the audience about the show and their process