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 any writer who regularly publishes substantive pieces reviewing or otherwise critically covering theater.

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Join Us on Twitter: @theatre_critics and @atca_member
Member Blogroll
David Dow Bentley III is the thepeoplescritic.com, which can also be read at the Houston Chronicle and broadwaystars.com.

Nancy Bishop is editor and publisher of Third Coast Review, a Chicago-centric arts and culture website. You can read her reviews there and her pop culture writing here.

Lindsay Christians is a full-time arts and food writer for The Capitol Times in Madison, Wisconsin. She has written theater reviews there since 2008.

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

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.

Sandi Durell is publisher, editor, and a critic at Theater Pizzazz which covers Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater, including openings, red carpets events, and interviews.

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

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

Pam Harbaugh’s blog, Brevard Culture, offers reviews, commentary and links in arts and culture primarily for residents of Brevard County and the Orlando area.   

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

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

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

Aaron Krause is the editor of Theatrecriticism.com, founded by Alan Smason (Steppin’ Out, WYES-TV), which offers original theatre reviews and republishes current critical print works online.

David Lefkowitz publishes the theater website TotalTheater.com, co-publishes the theater journal Performing Arts Insider, and reviews on his weekly radio show, Dave’s Gone By.

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.

Christopher Rawson is the senior critic (part-time) for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and also appears regularly on KDKA-TV.

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.

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

 

 

 ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical repertory company in Spring Green, west of Madison, Wisconsin. ATCA members and guests can register here. 

There will be a 2018 New York Weekend Conference, Nov. 2 - 4, 2018. Details to follow.


 

 

For the full text of each Milestone, click on the name; for all these and previous Milestones together, CLICK HERE. They are listed in the order (latest on top) they appeared in the weekly ATCA UPDATE.

 

CHRIS RAWSON, Pittsburgh, PA, is hustling around the country playing catch-up, presenting the August Wilson American Century Cycle Award to theaters that have qualified.

RUSSELL WARNE
, Provo, UT, has just welcomed his second son into what he hopes will be a lifetime of loving theater.
 

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ERICA MINER, Edmonds, WA, has just published Murder in the Pit, a murder mystery at the Santa Fe Opera.

KAREN TOPHAM, Chicago, is actively seeking theatre critics from around the country to become part of the expanded edition of her website, ChicagoOnStage.com. Contact her here.

 

For full text of these and previous Milestones, CLICK HERE.

Do you have a Milestone to share? Member Milestones are generally for Transitions (new jobs, retirements), Achievements (awards, honors), Publications (books, TV specials) and Memorials (obituaries). Write a paragraph and send it here. Include a Twitter address in the paragraph so we can give it wider notice. 

 

 

After more than 33 years and (by her count) 13,000 reviews, the long-standing Chicago theater and arts critic Hedy Weiss has been let go by the Chicago Sun-Times. Reporting in the competing Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones writes that the sometimes controversial critic “fit into the decades-long Chicago tradition of powerful, hard-working and famously independent women writing about the arts, without compromise or apology.” Read Jones here. Here, the Chicago Business Journal reports. Weiss delivered ATCA’s 2015 Perspectives in Criticism talk in New Orleans: click for an audio recording.

As others see us: Amanda Peet on being devastated by a NY Times review and going cold turkey on reviews thereafter, click here.  

Martha Steketee’s accumulating interviews of critics for The Clyde Fitch Report (click for index).

   

 

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 (just [2017] handsomely redesigned) and its web journal, Critical Stages, where the current issue deals at length with Contemporary African Drama and Theatre.

 

 

 

 

The 2017 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to the Dallas Theater Center in Texas.
 
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.} 

I “believe in culture as a social justice and social change project, which requires not just looking at how ‘good’ a performance is, but at what it does in the world.” — Jill S. Dolan, critic for “The Feminist Spectator” (Princeton University, Dean of the College).

“The Internet allows an avalanche of opinion for infinite sources, many of them rubbish, mean-spirited and lazy. But there’s some terrific writing out there too, and best of all there are so many new ways of reviewing.” — Frank Rizzo, 33 years as Hartford Courant critic, now writes for Variety and many more.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE 


Past Conferences

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New York Weekend Conference, November 3, 4 and 5, 2017. Details. 

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San Francisco annual conference, 2017

  

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NYC weekend conference, 2016 (for reports and details, scroll down central column)



2016 annual conference in Philadelphia, April 6-10.

Some coverage: day one, day two, day three-A, day three-B, day four, day five. Full schedule here

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2015 NYC Weekend Conference
Sherry Eaker & Ira Bilowit, chairs

 

2015 New Orleans Conference 
Alan Smason, chair 

 

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

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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 event logos

 

 

(above) Sarasota, 2009. 

 

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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

Tuesday
Jul102018

2018 Executive Committee Election Results

Chris Jones, Wendy Rosenfield, and Martha Steketee have each been elected to a three-year term on the executive committee. They join six other elected members and will take office later this month at an organizational meeting to be held after this week’s conference in Spring Green.

We extend sincere thanks to candidates Brian Balduzzi, Cameron Kelsall, Mark Lowry, and Anne Siegel for offering to take on leadership roles for the organization and to retiring committee members Brad Hathaway and Ed Rubin for three years of exemplary service. ATCA is also grateful to Russell Warne for assiduously managing the election process.

Wednesday
Jul042018

Martyna Majok wins 2017 Primus Prize

Martyna Majok has been awarded the 2017 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Cost of Living. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Majok has received the $10,000 award check and will be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun302018

Wendi Winters [1953-2018]

The shooting at the Capital Gazette Reporter in Annapolis on June 28, 2018 claimed five lives including that of arts writer Wendi Winters, a contributor to DC Metro Theatre Arts and a colleague of ATCA member David Siegel, who shares the following reflection:

It is with utter sadness that I let my ATCA colleagues know of the death of Wendi Winters, a journalist with the Capital Gazette Reporter and DC Metro Theater Arts. Wendi was a full-time staff member of the Gazette and a long-time DCMTA theater reviewer. For DCMTA she covered the DC area arts scene writing with wit and keen observations. Beyond theater writing for DCMTA Wendi had also been a Helen Hayes Awards judge.

DCMTA Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Nicole Hertvik said, “We consider ourselves a family at DC Metro Theater Arts and Wendi was a part of that family. We are devastated to learn of her passing. We at DCMTA extend our sympathy and love to Winters’ family and friends.”
A recent review of a Kennedy Center production by Winters can be read here. An obituary from the Washington Post is available here.

 

Tuesday
Jun192018

Join the Discussion of Amending ATCA's Bylaws

Eight proposed amendments to ATCA’s Bylaws were submitted to the general membership for discussion in advance of the annual conference in Spring Green, Wisconsin next month.

The Executive Committee unanimously decided to foster full discussion and consideration using a combination of online and in-person exchanges. To begin, the eight suggestions were sent to the full membership via the ATCA Update on June 17. At the same time, a topic was established in the Member Forum of the ATCA website’s Members Only Area where the discussion has already begun with ten comments as of mid-day June 19.

There will be time set aside during the conference in Wisconsin for in-person discussions, summaries of which will be added to the Member Forum record so that those who cannot attend in person will still be able to follow the consideration. Following the conference, the Executive Committee will consider all the opinions expressed, adopt any changes to the proposals that seem prudent and submit the final versions to the entire membership for an electronic vote which will require a two thirds affirmative count of those responding for passage.

Members can view the eight proposals and the ensuing discussion and add their own views, comments or questions on the Member Forum. It can be accessed by clicking on the Members Only Area box at the top of the column on the right. 

Wednesday
Jun132018

TIME SENSITIVE: International Conference News

The 29th World Congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC), which was postponed when the host country withdrew its offer a few months ago due to lack of funding, will now be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dates are November 13 through 17, 2018 and will coincide with the festivities of the Europe Theatre Prize.

As the US section of IATC, ATCA will send two delegates. Those delegates should be members who have been active in ATCA matters over the past two years and ATCA provides underwriting of up to $1,000 per delegate for airfare and ground transportation. (Accommodations and most meals are paid by the conference.)

Due to the short deadline for American citizens to receive an appropriate visa to attend the event, ATCA members are requested to contact vice chair Brad Hathaway by this Sunday, June 17 to express interest in serving.

Our Russian counterparts need to receive our official visa application information which will include a registration form they have provided, a copy of the applicant’s passport, and other relevant information by June 30, 2018.

IMPORTANT: Applicants’ passports must have an expiration date of July 2019 or later. Passports expiring by June 30, 2019 will not be accepted.<

We apologize for the last-minute nature of this communication, necessitated by the earlier postponement of the World Congress and the exigencies of obtaining a visa to enter Russia for such an event.

Thursday
Jun072018

ATCA-WI18 Conference Schedule Published

The 2018 annual conference for the American Theatre Critics Association is coming up this July 11-15 in lovely Spring Green, Wisconsin at American Players Theatre (APT). Spring Green is a beautiful place, and American Players Theatre itself is quite special. Among the plays we’ll be seeing this year are the 1940s comedy “Born Yesterday,” Shakespeare’s pastoral “As You Like It,” Athol Fugard’s compelling and powerful “Blood Knot,” and George Farquhar’s late Restoration comedy “The Recruiting Officer.” “Exit the King,” Ionesco’s absurdist drama, rounds out the roster. Our Perspectives on Criticism this year speaker is Carrie Coon, a Tony-nominated actor (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) and APT alum who has recently had major roles in “Fargo,” “The Leftovers” and “Gone Girl.”

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun072018

Workshop for Young Critics in Stockholm

The International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) is organizing a workshop for young theatre critics which will take place from August 23 to 29, 2018 in Stockholm, within in the framework and with the support of the Ingmar Bergman International Festival. You can apply immediately, to be chosen as one of ten participants. The working language for this workshop will be English.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr302018

La Mama E.T.C. to receive 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award

Tony Awards to Broadcast Live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 10th

New York, NY (April 30, 2018) – The Tony Awards® Administration Committee has announced that, based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, La MaMa E.T.C. (Experimental Theatre Club) in New York City, will receive the 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The honor is accompanied by a grant of $25,000.Ellen Stewart in 2006 (Ruby Washington/NY Times)

La MaMa E.T.C. is one of the original theatres that gave birth to the Off-Off Broadway movement in the 1960s under the leadership of founder and artistic director, Ellen Stewart (1919-2011). Since its inception it has embodied the celebration of diversity and art by supporting more than 150,000 artists from over 70 countries. Well known artists such as Sam Shepard, Diane Lane, Lanford Wilson, Elizabeth Swados, Phillip Glass, Julie Taymor, Robert Wilson, Harvey Fierstein, Adrienne Kennedy and David and Amy Sedaris began their careers at La MaMa.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr172018

Glenn Meredith Loney (1928-2018)

Glenn Loney, a Renaissance man of arts journalism who interviewed hundreds of major artists of the 20th Century around the world and across genres, died April 16, at his home in New York City at age 89 after battling brain and lung cancer for a year.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr102018

ATCA names four finalists for the 2017 Francesca Primus Prize

April 10, 2018—The American Theatre Critics Association has announced the names of the four finalists for the 2017 Francesca Primus Prize. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize, which includes a cash award of $10,000, is given annually to an emerging woman playwright.

The four finalists are Laura Jacqmin for “Residence,” Martyna Majok for “Cost of Living,” Emily Schwend for  “Utility,” and Andrea Stolowitz for  “Berlin Diary.” The winner will be announced by the end of April.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr072018

Lauren Gunderson’s “The Book of Will” named 2018 Steinberg/ATCA Award Winner

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has selected Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will 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 2017.

Gunderson’s insightful and wry meditation on preserving artists’ legacy after their death, in this case Shakespeare, received the top award of $25,000 and a commemorative plaque during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville on April 7. The Book of Will had its world premiere at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out and Ike Holter’s The Wolf at the End of the Block, which had their world premieres respectively at the Humana Festival and by Teatro Vista at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr072018

Deadline: Regional Theater Tony

The new deadline is APRIL 10 to vote for a regional theater to be given ATCA’s recommendation to the Tony Administration Committee. ATCA members have received email links to cast their votes. If you haven’t yet voted, search your email and cast your vote NOW.

Thursday
Apr052018

Chelsea Marcantel’s “Airness" wins 2018 Osborn New Play Award

(April 5, 2018) ATCA has named Chelsea Marcantel winner of the 2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award recognizing an emerging playwright. The award will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 7.

The Osborn Award cites Marcantel’s Airnesswhich premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival for New American Plays. Airness concerns a woman entering her first air guitar competition. There she discovers there’s an art form at the center of what may seem on the surface like just people pretending to play instruments.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar192018

INTERNATIONAL YOUNG CRITICS WORKSHOP IN JUNE

The International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT–IATC) is organizing a workshop for young theatre critics scheduled to be held June 11–17, 2018, in Limoges, France. The program will be undertaken during the Festival International des Écoles de Théâtre, with support from the Théâtre de l’Union, Centre Dramatique National du Limousin. Potential participants are invited to apply, as soon as possible, to join one of two working groups of six participants maximum per group (one French-speaking group and one in English). Click here for further details including how to apply.

Applications will be accepted until May 8, 2018.

Monday
Mar192018

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR 2018 PRIMUS PRIZE

ATCA invites submissions for the 2018 Francesca Primus Prize, an annual $10,000 playwriting award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female playwright who has not yet achieved national prominence. The prize is made possible through the generosity of the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation and honors the writer, critic, performer, dramaturg, and cherished ATCA member who died at 42 of lung cancer in 1992.

The Primus Prize operates on an open submission basis. An applicant may submit herself or be nominated by another individual or organization. Members of ATCA may nominate applicants or provide letters of recommendation. To qualify for consideration, a playwright must have had a fully staged, professional production of her script within the calendar year 2017. It does not have to be the play’s world premiere. The committee also considers the applicant’s body of work going back several years.

The deadline is MAY 1, 2018.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar042018

ATCA SELECTS SIX FINALISTS FOR STEINBERG AWARD

WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED AT HUMANA FESTIVAL

After lengthy deliberation, the American Theatre Critics Association 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 2017.

The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented at the Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays on April 7. With $40,000 awarded each year, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind.

This year’s finalists are:

  • The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson
  • Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler
  • Linda Vista by Tracy Letts
  • The Minutes by Tracy Letts
  • Objects in the Mirror by Charles Smith
  • The Wolf at the End of the Block by Ike Holter

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb162018

How did drama critics and theater journalists fare in this year's Broadway audience survey?

Every year the Broadway League conducts a survey of Broadway audiences to determine, among other things, what motivates individual audience members to attend a particular show. They don’t ask the question the same way each year and respondents can choose more than one reason. Statisticians will tell you that these factors make it difficult to use the results to give precise quantities, but the results can reveal trends. In that way, they can be one indicator of the role of critics’ reviews and theater journalists’ articles in guiding the ticket-buyers’ choices

The news isn’t necessarily good for reviewers. Over the past five years, the percentage of respondents saying they chose a show because of a critic’s review has dropped significantly. Five years ago, it was 25.6% while the just released 2016-2017 season survey results show a depressing 11.8%. (The trend line was 25.6%, 29%, 16%, 21.2%, 11.8% over the five years.)

Adding theater journalist’s output in the form of articles and interviews, the total has also dropped. Five years ago, the total for reviews, interviews, and articles was 47% while the latest result came in at just 26.5%. (Again, the trend line was 44.7%, 54.9%, 33.1%, 44.8%, 26.5%.)

While the drop in respondents citing reviews, articles, and interviews is obvious, the growth in the internet and social media has been equally clear. Each year the questions relating to online activity have been different, so aggregation is clearly an inexact science, and  unfortunately no question isolates the role of critics’ online reviews. However, totaling up responses such as “Facebook,” “Yelp,” “Twitter,” “Social Media,” “Blog” or “Internet Listing” each year demonstrated growth from 8.7% five years ago to 26.2% last year. (The trend line was 8.7%, 10.1%, 9.7%, 16.1% and 26.2%.)

Monday
Feb122018

ATCA committees to strategize in Milwaukee

Thanks to a generous invitation from the Milwaukee Rep, members of our executive and newly formed diversity committees will convene in Wisconsin next month for some serious strategizing. The occasion will be the Rep’s Intersections Summit - a weekend gathering of over 130 artists, educators, and community engagement practitioners from 26 states and 76 organizations taking place March 23 to 25. The ATCA representatives will be full participants in the Summit, but will also be arriving a day early for their own meetings. Both committees will spend their time on strategy for the future rather than conducting routine business. It is a wonderful opportunity to refine our focus and determine both short-term and long-term goals. 

Tuesday
Feb062018

Hotel deadline for ATCA-OH18

The hotel discount for those wanting weekend accommodations for the upcoming Cincinnati event will expire Feb. 9: $119 per night including breakfast buffet at SpringHill Suites Midtown Cincinnati, close to all activities. Click here for reservation and click here to register to ATCA-OH18.

Friday
Feb022018

Membership Committee Membership Set

As previously announced, the ATCA membership services and membership recruitment committees have been merged under the leadership of co-chairs Mark Lowry of Dallas and J.W. Arnold of Fort Lauderdale. This was done to streamline and improve the application vetting process and design a major recruitment campaign for later this year. The co-chairs have assembled a full committee of twelve (including themselves) to work on the projects. Serving with Arnold and Lowry will be Nancy Bishop of Chicago, Russell Florence of Dayton, Charles Giuliano of Adams, Massachusetts, Jessica Goldman of Houston, Pam Harbaugh of Melbourne, Florida, Cameron Kelsall of Haddon Township, New Jersey, Jack Lyons of Desert Hot Springs, California, Kerry Reid of Chicago, Ed Rubin of New York and Maren Scriven of Layton, Utah.