Sylviane Gold was born on Feb. 17, 1948, in Paris, France. Her parents emigrated the following year, and she was raised in a trilingual household in the Bronx, where her friends and siblings spoke English, her parents French and her grandparents Yiddish. Educated in the public schools of New York City, she got her first taste of journalism on the newspapers of the Bronx High School of Science and Queens College. Her professional career began with a part-time summer job at the Village Voice during her college years. In 1970, she joined the arts and entertainment department of Dorothy Schiff’s New York Post; in 1977, when she left to become the arts editor of the Boston Phoenix, she was writing regularly on theater, dance, and film, as well as editing the paper’s weekend arts pages.
Missing both New York and writing, she left Boston and the Phoenix in 1980 to freelance in New York. Over the next nine years, her byline appeared atop culture stories in a variety of newspapers and magazines, and on reviews of film, dance, books, theater and art in The SoHo Weekly News, The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Elle, Vanity Fair and the Boston Phoenix. Her Phoenix reviews of Broadway shows won the 1982 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. And from 1982 to 1989, she was the regular off-Broadway theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, and a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle.
She turned to editing again in 1989, when she was named entertainment editor of New York Newsday, overseeing culture coverage for that newspaper, and subsequently for Newsday as well. In 1995, when the New York edition was eliminated, she took up writing once again. Her freelance articles have since appeared in the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times, the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times, American Theater magazine, and other publications. From 1996 to 2004, she reviewed dance regularly for Newsday. Since 1999, she has written the monthly “On Broadway” column for Dance Magazine. Since 2007, she has been contributing regular theater criticism and art reviews to The New York Times. A member of the Best Plays editorial board, she writes the Off Off Broadway chapter for the annual yearbooks.
From 1990 until 2007, when it was discontinued, she chaired Newsday’s George Oppenheimer Award committee, which each year honored the best New York-area debut by an American playwright. In 2009, The New York Times filled the void with a new prize, the Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and she again serves as chair of the selection committee. She is also chair of the committee that votes on the annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards for the best dance on Broadway and in the movies.
Over the years, her assignments have taken her from hotel-room meetings with Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock to backstage encounters with Meryl Streep and Mikhail Baryshnikov. She’s interviewed John Belushi, Whoopi Goldberg and Twyla Tharp, and visited movie sets, rehearsal halls and dance studios.
She lives in the Riverdale section of the Bronx with her husband and soulmate, Larry Simonberg, a retired public relations executive. Whenever they can, they repair to Otis, Mass., where they own a pondside cottage.