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

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.

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.

 

See ATCA International for news of the International Association of Theatre Critics from the ATCA members who represent us there.


* “Jan Kott Our Contemporary” is the IATC’s Feb. 19, 2015, conference celebrating his seminal Shakespeare Our Contemporary (1961) and the 100th anniversary of his birth. (Proposals for papers due by Dec. 5.)

 
* See also the IATC’s own site and its web journal, Critical Stages (Oct. 2014)

OBITUARIES 
Jerry Tallmer, 93, inaugural Village Voice critic, creator of the Obies (N.Y.Times obit)

Peter Vaughan, 77, Minneapolis StarTribune critic, 1977-97 (StarTrib obit)

 

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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)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM for regional critics’ awards.

2015 annual conference planned for New Orleans, March 25-29, Alan Smason, chair: stay tuned! 

2016 annual conference planned for 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. 

Click here for video clips of last year’s $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards at the 37th Humana Festival, including Jim Steinberg, Bill Hirschman and winners Robert Schenkkan, Johnna Adams and Lucas Hnath. NOTE that Schenkkan’s winning play is now on Broadway.  
NOTE that the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA winners will be announced April 5 at Humana. See six finalists here.

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.


2013 Critics’ Circle Awards 

 * N.Y. Drama Critics Circle, 78th awards.

* Outer Critics Circle (N.Y.) 63rd awards.

* Chicago, Jeff Awards.
* Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle, 44th Awards.
* Philadelphia: Barrymore Awards, 2013 Winners.
* San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, 2012 awards.

* Index to other regional theater awards, click here.

* FOUR DOZEN 2013 “BESTS,” city by city

  
REVIEW round-ups:

* Chicago (23 publications)
 

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
Jan192015

Register now for New Orleans conference, March 25-29

Laissez les bontemps rouler at ATCA’s first-ever Annual Conference in New Orleans, one of America’s truly legendary cities.

Come for the theatre and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and stay for the voodoo and jazz, French Quarter streets paved with beignets and Sazeracs, vast Mardi Gras warehouses and side trips into history.

The conference begins early Wednesday evening, March 25, but that afternoon offers the National World War II Museum and its Stage Door Canteen, with period hits a la the Andrews Sisters.

The three days that follow begin with important ATCA general membership meetings (with breakfast) at our hotel, the Astor Crowne Plaza French Quarter, and matinee or evening performances at Rivertown Theatre, Southern Repertory Theatre and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. We’ll take in Williams readings and his Hotel Plays at the historic Hermann-Grima House. Included are panel discussions featuring playwrights John Patrick Shanleyand Martin Sherman, plus distinguished critic John Lahr, author of The Mad Man’s Pilgrimage of the Flesh, a biographical study of Williams.

Online registration is open NOW. EARLY BIRD RATES CLOSE FEB. 22, which is also the cut-off date for our block of hotel rooms. 

Just click this link to register.

To make your hotel reservation, call the Astor Crowne Plaza (French QuarterHotel, 877-270-1393 or 504-962-0500. Use our group code “ATZ” for our SPECIAL RATE of $159 per night (plus taxes and fees), an extraordinary deal for high season in New Orleans.

Click here for more details from conference chair Alan Smason.  Note also that the conference is supported by a generous grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association.

Click here for a fuller invitation from ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel.

Click here to visit the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau’s ATCA conference microsite. It has loads of videos, FAQs, graphics, information about the airport, and more to help you plan and enjoy your visit.

 

Wednesday
Jan142015

Proposals due for Regional Theater Tony

Jan. 31 is the deadline to propose theaters for the CONFIDENTIAL annual process by which ATCA recommends a regional theater to the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League for the special Tony award given annually to an outstanding non-profit theater. ATCA members were just sent the necessary guidelines, as explained by Chris Jones, who chairs this process. Please give it your prompt attention. If you have further questions, contact Chris Jones (click for email); if you just want the guidelines sent again, contact Chris Rawson.

Wednesday
Jan142015

LAST CALL!: Nominations due for Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn Awards

Last call for members to propose plays for the Steinberg/ATCA Award and the Osborn Award for an emerging playwright. Both competitions reward excellence in playwriting, not production. The play must have had its world premiere in a full professional production during calendar 2014, but must not have appeared in the five boroughs of New York City during that time. If you have any questions or recommendations, please contact Bill Hirschman at muckrayk@aol.comor (954) 478-1123 asap — within the next ten days.

Wednesday
Jan072015

ATCA/New Orleans

Conference chair Alan Smason has unveiled the emblem/logo for ATCA’s New Orleans conference (March 25-29). Watch this space (and your mailbox) for details about hotel, registration, schedule, etc.

Monday
Dec082014

"Arts writer" brags about regularly leaving shows at intermission

You’ve probably caught up with this story about a Wall Street Journal arts writer on social media. If not, click here.

Friday
Nov282014

NY conference pix coming soon


Rob McClure & Wendy RosenfieldJonathan Abarbanel

 

More pix here; more on the way. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday
Nov102014

NY conference packed with panels, people, plays

For a packet of snippets from the Sardi’s Lunch with theBlythe Danner at Sardi’s Stars, watch this video of excerpts by Sandi Durell. Here, Tony Danza talks about boxing, teaching and Arthur Miller. And here, playwright Doug Wright talks about making characters out of real people.
 
The chief Twitter thread is #ATCA14; good individual Tweeters include Frank Rizzo (Hartford Courant), Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), Paul Hyde (Greenville News), Jonathan MandellPerspectives in Criticism: playwrights Kopit, Hwang, Wright and Howe; moderator Rawson (NewYorkTheater) and Wendy Rosenfield (Philadelphia Inquirer) — for each, scroll back to Nov. 9.
 
Some favorite quotes: “All plays are Jewish, because they all proceed from the question, ‘why is this night unlike any other night?’” — Arthur Kopit, during his playwriting-for-critics workshop.Road producers Lauren Reid, (moderator Jonathan Abarbanel), Albert Nocciolino, Jeffrey Seller and Kristin Caskey … Another: “Rave reviews are like crack cocaine” — David Henry Hwang, during the Perspectives in Criticism panel of four playwrights… . And given long preview periods and the freedom of social media, “everybody gets to be a critic except the critics” — Howard Shapiro (WHYY-FM, Philadelphia).
 
More to come (send links for posting), including an album of photos by Fast Eddy Rubin. And kudos to conference producers, Sherry Eaker and Ira Bilowit.

 

Monday
Nov102014

Stefanie Zadravec at Sardi's

Stefanie Zadravec (at left, Barbara Bannon)Receiving her 2013 Primus Prize plaque at last (she had received the $10,000 check long ago) for her play, “The Electric Baby,” Stefanie Zadravec spoke briefly but with passion about the recognition (and lack thereof) of female playwrights, citing the “50-50 in 2020” campaign, and she reminded us of the value of awards, especially “to help create momentum in the year you are writing the next play.” She was introduced to the ATCA audience by Primus Committee chair Barbara Bannon as part of the Lunch with the Stars at Sardi’s.

Friday
Oct242014

Updates on NY Meeting, Nov. 7-9

It’s not a law firm: It’s Mark Linn Baker, Blythe Danner, Tony Danza, Julie Halston, Cady Huffman, Elizabeth Ashley, Tina Howe, Doug Wright (and more) who will join ATCA members for brunch at Sardi’s on Saturday, Nov. 8, a highlight of the New York Weekend. Also joining us will be Arthur Kopit, who will function as a lynchpin of the Nov. 7-9 meeting, conducting a playwriting workshop and appearing on our Perspectives in Criticism panel of playwrights, which also includes David Henry Hwang, Howe and Wright. See the schedule here.

ALREADY REGISTERED? Great, well-done. You should have received a message (if not, contact Barry Gaines) about your brief playwriting exercise — do it now!

NOT YET REGISTERED? Do it today! Members $165, guests $175, INCLUDES BRUNCH at SARDIS. REGISTER TODAY.

Late news: The Nederlander Organization will host us for cocktails and light nibbles in the lobby of the Minskoff Theatre, Friday, Nov. 7, 5PM. Registered guests should enter through the Marriott Marquis Hotel, 45th Street at Broadway, and find the escalator up to the lobby.

Thursday
Oct232014

U.S. retains seat on IATC Executive Committee

ATCA excom chair Jonathan Abarbanel reports: The United States was easily re-elected to the ExecutiveHandelman and Abarbanel in front of an old theatre stage in Duan Village, a tiny rural town in Yunnan Province. Committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) at the recently-concluded 27th  IATC World Congress, held in Beijing Oct. 15-19. The American Section—which is us, ATCA—tied with Serbia for the highest vote total—approximately 90% of votes cast—the best-ever showing by the United States. The balloting elected 10 nations to  the most diverse ExCom in the IATC’s 58 year history, with Japan, India, China and Nigeria elected along with France, Finland, Great Britain and Poland, Serbia.   

Margareta Sorenson of Sweden was elected the first IATC female president, after the Congress bid an emotional farewell to outgoing president Yun-Cheol Kim of South Korea who stepped down after six years. Additionally, ATCA member Jeffrey Eric Jenkins was elected one of the IATC’s three vice-presidents for a two-year term.

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct202014

NY conference Nov. 7-9 extends Early Bird registration to Oct. 31

Early Bird registration at $165 (members) and $175 (guests), which includes Brunch with the Stars at Sardi’s on Saturday morning, has been extended through Oct. 31, then goes up $20. Brunch alone for member or guest is $65. More here.

Saturday
Oct182014

Beijing World Congress

At the 37th World Congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics, meeting in Beijing, China, Oct. 15-20, ATCA was represented by three chairs: Jonathan Abarbanel (ATCA excom), Jay HandelmanL-R: Handelman, Jenkins, Abarbanel (Foundation ATCA) and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (ATCA International Committee). For the congress symposium on “A New World: The Profession of Criticism in the Internet Era,” Abarbanel delivered a paper entitled, “Tweet this: We’re not in charge anymore.”Abarbanel with Turkish delegate Zeynep Oral with student Peking Opera performers

The IATC’s fifth Thalia Prize for critical writing (previous winners: Eric Bentley, Richard Schechner, Jean-Pierre Sarrazac and Kapila Vatsyayan) was presented to Eugenio Barba (pictured at right) an early colleague of Grotowski who founded the Odin Theatret in Denmark. Read more about Barba here.

Thursday
Oct022014

Theatre Hall of Fame announces eight for class of 2014

The eight 2014 inductees into the Theater Hall of Fame include actor F. Murray Abraham (currently in It’s Only A Play), legendary actor Alvin Epstein (original N.Y. cast ofAlvin Epstein Waiting for Godot), Tony-winning actor Blythe Danner (now in The Country House), director Marshall Mason, former N.Y. Times theater critic Frank Rich, chairman of the Shubert Organization Philip J. Smith, Tony-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers) and Tony-winning playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy). The 44th annual induction will take place January 26, 2015, at the Gershwin Theatre, where membership in the Hall is recorded on the walls in raised gold letters. The electorate of over 300 includes members of the Hall and of ATCA. Click here for more on the Hall and previous inductees.

Friday
Sep262014

Playwright Jennifer Haley wins $10,000 Primus Prize for 2014

Playwright Jennifer Haley has been awarded the 2014 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Nether. Haley will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright.

[For a history of the Primus Prize, click here.]

The Nether is set in a futuristic world where virtual reality has become more seductive and engrossing than daily life. An admitted pedophile, Sims, has set up a Victorian site called the Hideaway … .

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep202014

ATCA excom protests "Spamalot" cancelation

The ATCA executive committee has joined the protest over the cancelation of a scheduled production of Spamalot at the South Williamsport Junior/Senior High School in Williamsport, Pa., because of, according to principal, Jesse Smith, its “homosexual themes.”

In a Sept. 19 letter to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Stamm and School Board President John Engel, the excom expressed its opposition, saying, “As journalists, we support your students’ First Amendment right to exercise free speech, which does not stop at the doorways of our public schools.” Further, the action misunderstands the artistic and social purposes of satire, musical comedy and education itself.

The letter (click below for full text) was signed by all nine excom members on behalf of ATCA’s nationwide membership of professional print, broadcast and internet theater critics.

In explaining the letter, excom chair Jonathan Abarbanel commented that the South Williamsport school officials “do not seem to understand either the musical or literary purposes of musical comedy, and certainly have failed to recognize the nature of satire, which is central to Spamalot. Yes, the show features two men who marry each other, but at the same time it satirizes gay stereotypes. It also is highly irreverent about disco music, Arthurian legend, armed combat, maiming, the Bubonic Plague, kingship, horsemanship, the preponderance of Broadway producers who are Jews, and God, who is an unseen but often-heard character in Spamalot. ATCA is pleased to join the Dramatists Guild of America in protesting the South Williamsport decision and calling attention to the illogic of it.”

Click to read more ...