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.

Learn more

Join ATCA

  

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.

 

SAVE THE DATE

ATCA/National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, July 31-August 4 (details on this page; scroll down and click links).

ATCA in New York City, Nov. 1-3, including professional panels, plenty of plays and the traditional brunch with the stars at Sardi’s. Watch for info.


 

 

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.

SHARON EBERSON, Pittsburgh: The theater critic and pop culture writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette came in second in the Pennsylvania News Association’s 2019 Keystone Press Awards in the new category, Diversity, for a series of theater-related stories (e.g., undeniably offensive classics; artists’ response to Tree of Life shootings; and Denzel Washington raising $5 million for August Wilson House). She and the first-place winner, PG classical music critic Jeremy Reynolds, are both alumni of the O’Neill Center’s National Critics Institute. (April 16 UPDATE)


NEW MEMBERS: For four weeks in a row, we welcomed a new member (and there may be more when ATCA UPDATE resumes later this month). Welcome Ramona Harper, Steve Capra, Kim Campbell and Jack Gohn. Read more about them here.

STUART BROWN, West Hartford, CT. Stuart has just launched  a 24/7 online Broadway music radio station, “Sounds of Broadway” (www.SoundsofBroadway.com), which offers wide-ranging music from the Off-Broadway, Broadway, and London stages. Thousands of songs from hundreds of cast recordings are in rotation, with dozens of new shows being added weekly. (March 26 UPDATE)

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. 

 

 

George Jean Nathan Award

The Nathan is the highest American award for theater criticism — the Pulitzer for Criticism ranks higher, but it rarely goes to a theater critic. Cornell University’s Department of English, which administers the award for excellence in dramatic criticism endowed by Cornell alumnus, the late George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), has announced two recipients for 2019: the University of Chicago’s John H. Muse and arts journalist Helen Shaw.

Muze, author of Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time, is assistant professor of English and the director of Chicago’s Graduate Studies in Theater and Performance Studies.

Shaw, who writes for 4Columns, ArtForum and Art in America has been theater critic for Time Out New York for 14 years. She also teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a nominator or voter for the Drama Desk, the Lucille Lortel and the Hewes Design awards and is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle. 

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

.

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

.

San Francisco annual conference, 2017

  

 .

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

.  
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

 .

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. 

 

.

 

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

Sunday
Sep222019

ATCA visits National Black Theatre Festival

This summer, the top black theater companies from around the world convened in Winston-Salem, N.C. for the 16th National Black Theatre Festival. Along with them was a small contingent of American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) members to cover experience the biennial event for the first time.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep102019

2019 Theater Hall of Fame to induct DeShields, Feingold, Katz, Mann, McKechnie, Meehan, Price, Reinking 

Sept. 10, 2019 – The Theater Hall of Fame announced today that the 2019 inductees will be actor Andre De Shields, critic Michael Feingold, lighting designer Natasha Katz, artistic director-playwright Emily Mann, actor Donna McKechnie, playwright Thomas Meehan (deceased), producer-artistic director Michael Price and actor-choreographer Ann Reinking.

They will be inducted on Nov. 18 in the upper lobby of Gershwin Theatre, where the walls are encrusted in gold with the names of the 560 members inducted since the Hall was founded in 1971. 

The Hall electorate of 300-plus is made up of members of the Hall of Fame and American Theatre Critics Association. Eight theater notables are inducted each year; the minimum requirements are a career of at least 25 years and at least five major credits, on Broadway or elsewhere.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep012019

Leah Nanako Winkler wins 2018 Francesca Primus Prize

Leah Nanako Winkler has won the 2018 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Two Mile Hollow. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Leah Nanako WinklerFoundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright in recognition of a play presented the previous year. Playwrights nominate themselves. To qualify for the 2018 award, presented in 2019, plays must have had a full production in 2018.

Named in honor of Francesca Primus, a playwright, dramaturg, theater critic, and ATCA member who died of cancer in 1992, the Primus Prize has been adjudicated by ATCA since 2002. The award includes a $10,000 honorarium given through the generosity of the Primus Foundation. 

Winkler was one of three finalists, previously announced. For the first time in the history of the prize, all the 2018 Primus finalists were women of color. The other finalists were Nambi E. Kelley for Jazz (adapted from the novel by the late Toni Morrison) and Jiehae Park for Hannah and the Dread Gazebo

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug012019

ATCA is in N.C. at last!

Those ATCA members lucky enough to have signed up (lucky, since hardly any of us had been here before) are now in Winston-Salem, N.C. being swept up in the engaging hurlyburly of the National Black Theatre Festival, an every-other-year production of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. The Festival started Monday; our conference started Wednesday, although some came early, including conference chair, Jay Handelman; no matter who came when, we have all been scattering hither and yon to see our individual selections of 25 full productions, 4 fringe shows and innumerable readings and late-night events in the halls and byways of the headquarters hotel.

The ATCA contingent is small for an annual conference: a follow-up survey will attempt to figure out why, and then we’ll debate to what extent probable attendance should determine the selection of future conference sites. But for now, those attending are ebullient with their sense of discovery. And ss one member said, “if there’s a national black theater festival, and there is, then of course ATCA should be at it!”

Friday
Jul192019

ATCA elects new leadership

The ATCA executive committee just selected Martha Wade Steketee as its new chair, succeeding Bill Hirschman (chair for four years), and Frank Rizzo as vice chair, succeeding Steketee. Robert Sokol was re-appointed secretary-treasurer. David Chávez, Mark Lowry and Kelundra Smith are the new executive committee members, joining other continuing members Charles Giuliano, Lou Harry, Chris Jones, and Wendy Rosenfield. Coming to the end of their terms were Hirschman, Kerry Reid and Simon Saltzman, to whom ATCA expresses deep gratitude for their years of service.

Thursday
Jun132019

ATCA names three finalists for Primus Prize

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has selected three finalists for the 2018 Francesca Primus Prize, sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation. The award, presented annually since 1997, recognizes the best work by an emerging woman playwright who has not yet achieved national prominence.

This year’s finalists, in alphabetical order, are Nambi E. Kelley for Jazz (adapted from the novel by Toni Morrison), Jiehae Park for Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, and Leah Nanako Winkler for Two Mile Hollow.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May252019

ATCA gathers at National Black Theatre Festival, July 31-Aug. 4 -- register now!

Registration is now open for ATCA-WS19, our 2019 conference at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. This biennial festival draws thousands of attendees and participants from around the country. As previously announced, the conference dates are July 31 to August 4, 2019

Conference activities begin late afternoon on Wednesday, July 31, and the conference will end by noon Sunday, August 4. It’s going to be an exciting and stimulating few days, and we hope you’ll join us.

Conference chair Jay Handelman provides all the necessary information (accommodations, performances, meals, ATCA events, meals, transportation, registration, etc.) on our members only page. If you’re not yet an ATCA member, contact operations@americantheatrecritics.org.

Tuesday
May072019

Theater critic longevity (insert your own witticism here)

Who is the longest-serving theater critic? Queried in March by Ada Tseng of the LA Times, we replied that ATCAMichael Billington (no, just joking: really Daumier’s caricature of a self-important critic) doesn’t keep statistics, but we cited Michael Billington, who’s been reviewing for The Guardian in England for 48 years and reviewed for smaller papers for 10 years before that – so 58 years and still going strong. 

Then we asked in the ATCA UPDATE who is there on this side of the pond? We got these responses and are eager to hear from anyone else with 30 or more years and still counting….

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr292019

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley to Receive 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award

Tony Awards to Broadcast Live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 9th    

April 29 — The Tony Awards® Administration Committee has announced that based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), TheatreWorks Silicon Valley will be the recipient of the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award. Accompanied by a grant of $25,000, the award is made possible by City National Bank’s generous support of the Creative Arts Awards.

“We are thrilled to present the 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing.  “The work they produce celebrates the human spirit, they have helped develop hundreds of vibrant  new plays and musicals that are now being performed in theaters across America, and they  have pioneered education programs that inspire thousands of students each year, creating future generations of creative artists and  enthusiastic audiences.”

“I am deeply honored to accept the Regional Theatre Tony Award for TheatreWorks Silicon Valley,” said the company’s Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley,  who is launching his 50th and final season as artistic director of the company he created as a new Stanford graduate, concluding one of the longest tenures of any professional regional theater.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr062019

Lauren Yee wins Steinberg/ATCA Award for "Cambodian Rock Band"

Cambodian Rock Band” by Lauren Yee has been named the winner of 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 2018. Presented April 6 at the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the award carries a $25,000 prize. 

“Cambodian Rock Band” had its world premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California. Previously, Yee won ATCA’s Francesca Primus Award in 2016 for her play “in a word.”

Two citations, with prizes of $7,500 each, were awarded to Noah Haidlefor his play “Birthday Candles” and to Jen Silverman for her play “Witch.”

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar312019

ATCA picks Spenser Davis’ “Plainclothes” as 2019 Osborn New Play Award Winner

The American Theatre Critics Association is pleased to announce that Spenser Davis has won the 2019 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emergingSpenser Davis playwright. The Osborn Award recognizes Davis’ “Plainclothes,” which premiered at The Den Theatre in Chicago. The award will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 6. 

“Plainclothes” had its world premiere at Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater in Chicago where Davis serves as Director of Programming. He’s also an ensemble member of The Factory Theater and a series writer, director, and co-creator of the short-form comedy series SQUID, available on Amazon Prime.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar052019

ATCA Names 2019 Steinberg/ATCA Finalists

The American Theatre Critics Association (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 in 2018.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov292018

ATCA Re-Elected to IATC Executive Committee

The American Theatre Critics Association, the United States national section of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC), was re-elected to the Executive Committee of IATC at the General Assembly during the association’s World Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, on November 15. The congress was held in conjunction with the 17th Europe Theatre Prize/Premio Europa per il Teatro. Attending the congress were Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, IATC Vice President and Chair of ATCA’s International Committee, and Brad Hathaway, immediate past Vice Chair of the ATCA Executive Committee. The vote in the General Assembly resulted in the selection of ten national sections that will serve as the voting Executive Committee for the next two years: China, France, Georgia, India, Japan, Nigeria, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and the United States. The USA section received 85 percent of the possible votes.

The General Assembly also re-elected Sweden’s Margareta Sörenson to another term as President which, due to term limits, will be her last. Michel Vaïs was re-elected Secretary General, marking twenty years in that position. Further, the General Assembly confirmed that the 30th AICT-IATC World Congress will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia in early May 2020. Jenkins noted, “It is deeply gratifying that our international colleagues are so supportive of keeping our section engaged in this time of global uncertainty for the arts and for humanity.”

Saturday
Nov172018

2018 Theater Hall of Fame

The annual induction of eight new members of the Theater Hall of Fame, for which the ATCA membership is the primary electorate, took place Nov 12. Shown is the ATCA page in the Hall of Fame program. For Chris Rawson’s lengthy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette account of the induction speeches, click here. (For photo coverage, go to Martha Wade Steketee’s FB page.) In due course, a video of the evening will be available at the Performing Arts Collection at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.

The following was a page in the induction program.


Saturday
Nov172018

ATCA in NY: panels, Sardi's luncheon, NCI and more

At Sardi’s: Eric Marciano (representing Barry Primus) and Primus Prize winner Martyna MajokATCA’s traditional gathering in NYC, Nov 2-4, was one of the best, with an array of useful, stimulating panels on Friday and Sunday and the always-entertaining brunch with the stars at Sardi’s on Saturday — not to mention opportunities to see old friends and make new ones — all arranged by Sherry Eaker and her capable crew. In addition, Martyna Majok received her 2018 Primus Prize plaque, and the O’Neill Theater Center threw an anniversary party for the National Critics Institute, at which NCI chief Chris Jones unveiled his new book, “Rise Up! Broadway and American Socity from ‘Angels in America’ to ‘Hamilton’.” And, oh yeah, we saw a few plays, as well.

For Charles Giuliano’s fine accounts of the panels on diversity, click here, and the festivities at Sardi’s, click here. Watch the ATCA Twitter feeds for other reports.

Wednesday
Oct172018

Barbara Bannon [1939 – 2018]

Barbara M. Bannon, the longtime secretary of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) executive committee, who reviewed theatre in Utah for more than four decades, died on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at the Huntsman Cancer Institute following a protracted battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 79.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep172018

Eight 2018 honorees announced for Theater Hall of Fame

Acting, directing and playwriting are equally honored in the just announced 2018 inductees to the Theater Hall of Fame. The playwrights are Adrienne Kennedy and David Henry Hwang, plus Maria Irene Fornes, influential as much as an innovative director as playwright. The actors are Cicely Tyson (oldest of the inductees, in her 90s), Christine Baranski, and Rene AuberjonoisJoe Mantello  (the youngest, in his 50s) began as an actor, became a Tony-winning director and still acts on occasion. To be inducted posthumously is James Houghton (1958-2016), founder and artistic director of the playwright-centered Signature Theatre.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug252018

Hilton Als inducted into LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame


Award-winning theatre critic, writer and educator Hilton Als is among the 2018 inductees to the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame as annouced by NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. The induction will take place on September 8 during NLGJA’s National Convention in Palm Springs, CA. [ Read More ]

Monday
Aug202018

ATCA-NY18 Schedule Announced

The schedule for our upcoming conference in New York has been announced. Click here to read more.

Monday
Aug062018

2018 Theater Hall of Fame ballots due September 1

ATCA members are privileged to be a major part of the electorate, but it’s also a responsibility, so please vote. The deadline is September 1. You can find the full list of inductees here, and you can read accounts of twenty years of inductions here