ATCA

The American Theatre Critics Association, Inc. is the only national association of professional theatre critics. Our members work for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and on-line services across the United States. Membership is open to all who review theatre professionally, regularly and with substance for print, electronic or digital media.

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Member Blogroll

Nancy Bishop reviews Chicago theater for gapersblock.com and for her own blog.

 Gail Burns in Gail Sez writes about theatre in the Berkshires of western Mass and adjacent areas of Vermont and NY.

Lindsay Christians writes theatre reviews at 77 Square; also arts blog On the Aisle; The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, Madison.

Mike and Laura Clark edit ShowBizRadio.net covering all types of theatre in Washington DC, Baltimore, and St. Louis including reviews, interviews, as well as audition and performance calendars.

David Cote blogs, reports on theater and reviews Broadway, Off and Off-Off productions for Time Out New York and davidcote.com.

Christine Dolen writes a theater critic’s notes in Drama Queen; and Miami Herald reviews and previews.

Karen D’Souza writes reviews, features and blog for the San Jose Mercury News.

Harry Duke covers theatre throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His essays and reviews can be found on the For All Events website and in the Sonoma County Gazette.

Randy Gener blogs on arts, culture and world theater in In the Theater of One World.

Michael Grossberg  writes on theater, comedy and the arts in Theater Talk, for the Columbus Dispatch.

Melissa Hall writes theatre reviews for the blog Stage Write. She mainly attends Indianapolis events, but also covers other Midwestern venues when possible.

Jay Handelman writes  News, reviews and opinion for the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Pam Harbaugh’s blog Extreme Culture offers reviews, commentary and links, in the Gannett daily Florida Today.

Lou Harry  writes Lou Harry’s A&E: opinion, debate and discussion on arts and entertainment for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Brad Hathaway’s “Theater Shelf: CDs, DVDs and Books for the Theater Lover” runs on multiple websites each week. You can find the latest column here: BradHathaway.Com

Bill Hirschman is editor, chief critic and reporter for Florida Theater On Stage.

Damien Jaques writes about theatre for OnMilwaukee.com, Milwaukee.

Chris Jones writes reviews, interviews and commentary for Theater Loop at the Chicago Tribune.

Jack Lyons covers the theatre scene for the Desert Local News. Jack is based in Desert Hot Springs and covers the entire Coachella Valley and the rest of Southern California including select productions in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and San Diego.

Katherine Luck writes news and reviews of theatre in Seattle, Portland, and around the Puget Sound at Pacific NW Theatre.

Jonathan Mandell reviews Broadway, Off-Broadway and independent theater productions, and covers theater for a variety of publications, including Playbill and American Theatre Magazine.  He blogs at New York Theater and Tweets as @NewYorkTheater.

Andrew McGibbon writes Theatre Opinion, News and Information in TheAndyGram, based in NYC.

Kathryn Osenlund reviews Philadelphia theater productions and some New York theater festivals for www.curtainup.com. She also writes for www.Phindie.com —independent coverage of Philadelphia and arts, and tweets as @theatrendorphin.

Rick Pender edits   The Sondheim Review, a quarterly dedicated to the musical theatre’s foremost composer and lyricist.

Joe and Ann Pollack write  St. Lous Eats and Drinks with Joe and Ann Pollack: food, wine, shops, travel, reading, movies and theater in St. Louis.

Christopher Rawson contributes to OnStage Journal and OnStage podcasts and reviews in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Wendy Rosenfield covers drama, onstage and off, in Drama Queen and the Philadelphia Inquirer

Michelle F. Solomon is a critic, reviewing professional theater and professional touring productions, for Florida Theater On Stage and miamiartzine.com.

Martha Wade Steketee writes reviews, interviews, and commentary on Broadway, Off Broadway, regional theatre, and film for Urban Excavations in New York City.
Steve Treacy is the primary theatre critic for The Port Townsend Leader. Find his reviews of Pacific Northwest shows at ptleader.com.

Tim Treanor  is the Senior Reviewer for DC Theatre Scene, Washington, D.C.

Lauren Yarger  reviews Broadway and OB for Reflections in the Light and reports on pro theatre and arts in Connecticut Arts Connection.

 

IATC
The 15th International Symposium of Theatre Critics and Theatre Scholars: The Critic is Present, 
or, Towards an Embodied Criticism.” NOTE: ONE WEEK TO DEADLINE.
     Fuller info here.

Organisers:
Sterijino Pozorje, Novi Sad / International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) / Bitef, Belgrade. At Novi Sad (Sept. 16-18) and Belgrade, Serbia (Sept. 18-20). 


     Does the critic have a body? Is he/she present? Is his activity an embodied (performing) practice? Is he/she just a voice coming from above and spreading “the truth”? Interested colleagues are invited to send a resume of up to 500 words (in English, French or Serbian) to ivan.medenica@gmail.com and dusana.todorovic@gmail.com by 20th June, 2015

See ATCA International for news of the International Association of Theatre Critics from the ATCA members who represent us there. See also the IATC’s own site and its web journal, Critical Stages (Oct. 2014)

 

 

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The Clyde Fitch Report 
interviews critics (mainly ATCA members): Misha BersonTerry Teachout; Peter MarksLauren Yarger; Wendy Rosenfield 

HowlRound criticism archive: NYT surveys response to critics, Jason Zinoman on the happy masochism of critics, etc.

Wendy Rosenfield, “Diversity Onstage: A Critical Issue” (Broad Street Review, Feb. 19, 2014)

Possible 2016 annual conference in Philadelphia (TBA), Howie Shapiro, chair.

 

     


The 2014 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to New York’s Signature Theatre — the first time the award has gone to a NYC theater. 

Elsewhere (off)site: for the website of the Drama section of the (British) Critics’ Circle, click here.

 

{For collected Pull Quotes going back to July, 2012, CLICK HERE.} 

More metaphors, please:
“…he falls on this succulent, puffed-up role as if it were a chocolate eclair… . This is not life imitating art. This is art going to bed with life and staying there for the rest of the afternoon. — Anthony Lane, New Yorker review of “The French Minister.”
“Now is the winter of our Discount Tents” — sign in the window of Richard III Camping Goods, somewhere in Leicester.”

“[C]riticism, which by now should have evolved from a one-sided conversation … to a full-fledged back-and-forth between audience and critic, still drags its knuckles. Over in the online sports section of my particular newspaper, the threads are lively, angry, and impassioned. In the political and local sections, they’re horrific cesspools of blatant racism and sexism that continue for pages. But here on the performing arts page, save for the occasional response from someone associated with a production that received a negative review, they’re empty.” — Wendy Rosenfield in HowlRound, Apr. 1, 2013.

Hooray for The Onion: “Continuing in its mission to support excellence across a range of artistic disciplines, the National Endowment for the Arts announced Friday a new initiative allocating $80 million to discourage no-talent hacks from engaging in creative endeavors.” Read it here.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE. 

ATCA members: Send us material for the Members’ Milestones page.


Past Conferences

2014 Weekend Conference
New York City
 

2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Humana Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville, April 2-6
; chair, Jonathan Abarbanel.


2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE, CATF, Shepherdstown, WV, July 17-21 — Details here; Tim Treanor, Chair

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

2013 WEEKEND CONFERENCE
Indianapolis, Indiana
March 21-24, 2013
Lou Harry, Chair
 

2012 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Chicago, June 13-17, 2012
Jonathan Abarbanel, Chair
See ATCA BLOG for short takes

 

Milwaukee Add-On
Anne Siegel, Chair
June 17-20, 2012

2012 WEEKEND MEETING
Colorado New Play Summit
Denver Center Theatre Company, Feb 10-12, 2012

2011 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Ashland, Oregon July 6-10, 2011
Chris Rawson, Chair 

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

2010 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.
Chris Rawson, Chair 

Playwright and critic

Playwright and two critics

Check out: ATCA Blog — scroll back for accounts of ATCA/Ashland, ATCA/O’Neill, more on the Pulitzer controversy, also from Humana and Denver festivals

 

 

Past logos


 

Fun ‘n Games

Honest-to-Goodness Theater Geek Trivia Contest, Florida Theatre On Stage, Bill Hirschman, ed. (includes links to answers)

Round One.
Round Two

Monday
Jun222015

ATCA member update, June 21

In an email, excom chair Bill Hirschman gives a comprehensive report on actions taken and contemplated by the new excom elected at the New Orleans conference. Included are calls for recommendations for the Steinberg and Osborn awards, plus news on electronic voting, the Bitter Lemons controversy, printed directory, a call for volunteers, and plans for future conferences in Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco. The full report follows.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun152015

Bitter Lemons raises basic issues, and hackles, too

The website Bitter Lemons now allows theaters to pay to be reviewed. You can get an overview on the commentary in the LA Times and an account in opposition in the LA Weekly. 

Speaking for the ATCA excom, chair Bill Hirschman has said:

“The American Theatre Critics’ Association, the only national organization of professional theater critics, is concerned with the model started by Bitter Lemons. While it does not guarantee a favorable review or allow theater companies to choose the reviewer, this pay-for-play arrangement creates a clear appearance of a conflict of interest. That appearance, even if spurious, undermines the crucial credibility of not only Bitter Lemons’ critics, but all critics.
“Our profession has fought for decades to preserve the image of independence. When our work is put out for sale to those we cover, we are concerned not just for the criticism itself but for the bypassing of editorial judgment in deciding what and what not to cover.”

Follow the active responses @Theatre_Critics (orange section, left-hand column).

Wednesday
May202015

ATCA elects new leadership; Bill Hirschman new Excom chair

ATCA members at the New Orleans conference in March took time between beignets to elect new members to the Executive Committee, and the Excom elected new officers:Bill Hirschman, Excom chair Bill Hirschman, chair; Brad Hathaway, vice-chair; Barbara Bannon, secretary (continuing); and Mark Lowry, treasurer.

Elected to three-year Excom terms were:
* Brad Hathaway, former Excom member and treasurer, a pioneering cyber journalist, currently working as a freelancer in Sausalito, Calif.
* Edward “Eddy” Rubin, also a former Excom member, currently a freelancer in New York City writing about theater and the fine arts.
* Martha Steketee, general editor at Chance Magazine in New York City and a contributor to HowlRound, TDF Stages, Dramatics and other outlets.
* Filling the remaining term of Myrna Petlicki, who stepped down, is Charles Giuliano, founder, publisher and editor of Berkshirefinearts.com based in Adams, Mass.

Hirschman said, “Our profound gratitude is due departing Excom members Tim Treanor, Michael Howley and Myrna Petlicki, whose loss will be keenly felt because of their extensive behind the scenes service and insightful advice. We sincerely hope they will remain intimately involved with the leadership.”

Barry Gaines cycled off the Excom but remains as administrator. For a full list of ATCA committees and leaders, click here. For brief bios of ATCA leadership, click here.

Thursday
May072015

Theatre Hall of Fame inducts 8

The 2014 class of the Theatre Hall of Fame was finallyProducer Tom Kirdahy, Hall member Terrence McNally and Hall inductee F. Murray Abraham. (Photo by Aubrey Reuben) induced Monday, May 4, at the Gershwin Theatre. Chosen in 2014 by an electorate made up primarily of ATCA, plus members of the Hall, the ceremony originally scheduled for Jan. 26 had to be postponed because of a Broadway-closing blizzard. The only changes were that the original emcee, Jim Dale, wasn’t available, so had to be replaced by a very capable Pia Lindstrom, and inductee Alvin Epstein couldn’t make the trip, but was Frank Rich and Chris Rawsoninducted by Cherry Jones. The other seven inductees: F. Murray Abraham (presented by Brian Kulick), Blythe Danner (Lynne Meadow), Frank Rich (Rocco Landesman), Susan Stroman (Andre Bishop), Marshall W. Mason (John Lee Beatty), Philip J. Smith (Robert Wankel, pinch-hitting for Bernadette Peters) and Alfred Uhry (Dana Ivey). The audience of some 125 was replete with industry notables.

For a full account of the ceremony, click here

Monday
Apr272015

ATCA recommendation lands 2015 Regional Theater Tony© Award for Cleveland Play House

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has ratified ATCA’s recommendation of the 100 year-old Cleveland Play House for the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, to be conferred during the Tony Awards on June 7. Cleveland Play House’s Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square

For the Cleveland Plain Dealer coverage, click here. For the description on the ATCA ballot that garnered the recommendation, click below.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr172015

New Orleans conference chair issues thanks (and tells you what you missed)

Alan Smason takes a deserved victiory lap in these reminiscences about ATCA’s New Orleans Conference, March 25-29. Click here. 

Monday
Apr132015

Rebecca Gilman's "Luna Gale" wins 2015 Steinberg/ATCA Award

Additional citations to Lucas Hnath and Nathan Alan Davis

 
M. Elizabeth Osborn Award to Tom Coash

ATCA has selected Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale as the recipient of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2014. Gilman’s shattering play about the moral dilemma facing a social worker received the top award of $25,000 and a commemorative plaque during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Two Steinberg/ATCA citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Lucas Hnath’s The Christians and Nathan Alan Davis’ Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

ATCA also presented the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, which recognizes emerging playwrights, to Tom Coash’s Veils. For more about these awards, click here.

Saturday
Mar282015

ATCA freshens its excom, chooses San Francisco for 2017

NEW ORLEANS - Brad Hathaway (San Francisco Bay area), Martha Steketee (NYC) and Ed Rubin (NYC) wereGiuliano, Hathaway, Steketee, Rubin today elected to three-year terms on the ATCA executive committee, and Charles Giuliano to a one-year term. Rubin and Hathaway have been on the excom before; Seketee and Giuliano are newcomers. Welcome aboard!

Coincidentally, on a proposal by Robert Sokol, San Francisco was selected the site for the annual conference in 2017, following Philadelphia in 2016.

Saturday
Mar282015

ATCA honors past leadership

NEW ORLEANS - Barry Gaines completed two termsAlan wears the conference hat with pride. Doubtless it won’t seem out of the ordinary in New Orleans on the executive committee (he continues as ATCA administrator) and was honored with a bust of the supposed author of the plays by the man from Stratford (about whom Barry writes in his day job as an academic). Then New Orleans conference chair Alan Smason was honored with the Conference Hat, encrusted with souvenirs of conferences past, to which he had already added a New Orleans voodoo doll for good luck. He gets to pass it on next year to the chair of the 2016 Philadelphia conference.

Saturday
Mar282015

Hedy Weiss delivers Perspectives in Criticism talk

NEW ORLEANS - Often-controversial Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy WeissHedy Weiss, live and feisty delivered this year’s Perspectives in Criticism lecture, the latest noted speaker in a series going back to 1992 (see the distinguished roster). Lo and behold, she turned out to be a 24x7 workaholic, passionate about her work (like most of us), but a critic whose view of her controversies in a city of passionate opinions is naturally far more anodyne than those who have objected. Her talk was part autobiographical sketch, part a brief discussion of those controversies, which certainly remain lively to an audience of critics who struggle all the time with matters of tone and content. Listen to her here:

Thursday
Mar262015

Artistic directors talk post-Katrina

NEW ORLEANS - That’s the great divison in New Orleans    — post Andrew Jackson, post Civil War, but especially post-Katrina. There’s only one full Equity theater in town, but there’s a active semi-pro (which we’d call it where many of us come from) theater scene, or call it community theater with professional standards, represented with spirit this afternoon by a panel of five: (from left in the picture) Dennis Assaf, A.J. Allegra, Aimee Hayes, moderator Allan Smason, Jim Fitzmorris and Gary Rucker.

NOTE: More about ATCA/New Orleans on Twitter at #ATCA2015 or FB at ATCA American Theatre Critics Association.

Thursday
Mar262015

Haley receives 2014 Primus Prize

NEW ORLEANS — Amid gracious thanks and her incisive, humorous remarksBarbara Bannon (left, chair of the Primus committee) presents the 2014 Primus plaque to Jennifer Haley about the playwriting process and some of her own specific experiences, especially on the development of The Nether, Jennifer Haley received the 2014 Primus Prize plaque (she received the $10,000 check last year, when the prize was announced) at this morning’s membership meeting at the ATCA/New Orleans conference. Our congratulations! Her presence here is a gift to us.

(NOTE that the deadline for nominations for the 2015 Primus Prize — self-nominations included — is April 30.)

Thursday
Mar262015

New Orleans conference opens with food, music, Hirschfield exhibit and even theater

The 2015 ATCA conference opened yesterday with food,Tennessee himself was on hand to welcome us all music, a Hirschfield exhibit, the swirl of the French Quarter and, oh yes, even some warm-hearted theater (all after a day of travel for most of us), and your correspondent, who ended up in the wee hours with the traditional beignets and coffee, is now trying to drag himself down to the morning ATCA meeting. More to come! (You might also check the FB page.)

Sunday
Mar222015

ATCA names six finalists for nation's largest new play award

ATCA has selected six finalists for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2014. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 11 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind.

The finalists, alphabetically by playwright: Tom Coash, Veils; Nathan Alan Davis, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea; Rebecca Gilman, Luna Gale; Lucas Hnath, The Christians; Caitlin Parrish, The Downpour; Richard Strand, Butler.

For fuller descriptions of the plays and the history of the Steinberg/ATCA Award, click below.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar122015

New Orleans conference schedule

Click here for the fullest schedule.

Click to read more ...