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

Lindsay Christians is a full-time arts and food writer for The Capitol Times in Madison, Wis., where she has written theater reviews 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.

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, 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 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.

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

 

 

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

 

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

CHARLES GIULIANO, North Adams, MA, just published Gloucester Poems: Nugents of Rockport.

RICK PENDER, Cincinnati, OH, wom first place for Best Arts/Entertainment Critique, SPJ-Greater Cincinnati.

JAY HANDELMAN, Sarasota, FL, won first place for Beat Reporting-Arts, SPJ-Florida.

IRENE BACKALENICK, Bridgeport, CT, “on the cusp of 96,” is reviewing less but has two volumes of poetry.

LYNN ROSEN, Belingham, WA, and Steve Giordano published new book, Camping Washington.

JOHN ANGELL GRANT, Palo Alto, CA, published Women and Religion in the Modern Drawing Room Plays of T.S. Eliot.

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.


  


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. 

Critics in the news

New York Magazine names Sarah Holdren to the slot of theater critic vacated by Jesse Green. She’s been a freelance theater director and Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard.

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).


 

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.

“You go wanting to fall in love with a production and that is so rare. I wanted to be smart and reasonable in my writing, to steer people towards the truth, and also had a lot of empathy for artists. I knew pretty soon formal criticism wasn’t for me.” — Eliza Bent, playwright and arts writer, American Theatre, TDF Stages, etc

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE

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

 

Past Conferences

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NYC weekend, 2016 (for reports and details, scroll down on 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

 .

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

Wednesday
Aug162017

ATCA speaks on fair comment, theaters’ rights, diversity and cultural competency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2017

ATCA has closely followed the controversy sparked by a review of Pass Over by Chicago critic Hedy Weiss and referred members to articles about the controversy on our website. As the only nationwide organization of theater critics and journalists, we believe issues have been raised that go beyond this specific situation. The larger issues produced as intense an internal debate as many of us can recall, including:

1. Critics’ free speech and fair comment rights;
2. each group’s ultimate responsibilities to art, entertainment and the greater society;
3. increasing diversity among our ranks in ATCA and the profession at large;
4. and finally, questions about whether critics of any gender identification, age or ethnicity can fairly evaluate work produced by another group.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug162017

Honoring ATCA at the O'Neill

Foundation ATCA president Jay Handelman writes: The O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, where ATCA was founded in 1974 and many of us have attended the National Critics Institute, has started a fundraising drive for bricksThe copper beech at the O’Neill where ATCA was founded. that will be placed on the patio and walkway around Blue Gene’s Pub. We are asking ATCA members to make a contribution to help Foundation ATCA purchase as many bricks as possible to commemorate our founding and some of the key people who helped to get our organization started.

The bricks are $200 each, three for $500 and six for $1,000. No donation is too small or too large. We will purchase as many bricks as your contributions allow. There are two ways to contribute. You can donate online (see the small “pay” in the lower right) or send a check payable to Foundation ATCA (with a note for “O’Neill Bricks”) to: Tim Dodson, Administrator, Foundation ATCA, 1701 NE 115th Street - Suite 8A, Miami, FL  33181.

We would like to receive your contributions by the end of August, if possible. Thanks in advance for your support.

Saturday
Aug122017

Join us in New York City! . . . . ATCA-NY17 Conference, Friday through Sunday, November 3-5

The ATCA-NY17 Conference Chair Sherry Eaker and the NY Conference Committee invite all ATCA members to a New York City weekend meeting!

Register to take advantage of lower fees until Oct. 1.

Click for full program and details!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug012017

Read your email: new ATCA Update started, 2017-18 renewal news just out

ATCA’s new weekly Update began July 12, now with 3 issues — a real benefit of membership and one more reason to renew for 2017-18, as you are reminded in an email of Aug.1. 

For example, in the July 26 Update, there’s news of several international opportunities (as always, full info on the AICA International blog is at atcainternational.blogspot.com)… . And in the Aug. 2 Update, there’s info on a 10% discount for ATCA members from Broadway Records.

The Update also includes a new feature, MEMBER MILESTONES, which are also listed in this page’s right hand column and accumulated here.

 

Monday
Jul312017

Theater Hall of Fame ballots are in the mail; deadline Sept. 1

All ATCA members who voted for the Theater Hall of Fame in 2016, along with those who have joined in the year since, should receive a 2017 ballot this week. (ATCA members were informed last year they’d be dropped from the mailing list this year if they didn’t vote then.)

There are 43 names on this year’s ballot; you can vote for up to 10 (in preferential order: it’s a weighted ballot); 8 winners will be inducted at the Gershwin Theater on Nov. 13. Address any questions to Chris Rawson, ATCA’s liaison to the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday
Jul262017

Save this date: NYC, Nov. 3-5!

You may recognize the invitation! But Sherry Eaker’s committee really has its act together: the conference logo, in which we find the ATCA-Daumier critic looming Cohan-esque over Times Square, is in the column to the right.

Playwright-Critic Forum / Page to Stage with “A Band’s Visit” / Site visits to the Shubert Archive and Lincoln Center’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive / Sardi’s Celebrity Luncheon / Sondheim Vets Talk About Performing Sondheim / Broadway & Off Broadway Invitations … and more to come.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Foundation ATCA's Board of Directors selected in San Francisco

The governing body of The Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association consists of the nine members of ATCA’s Executive Committee plus additional members they select. At its meeting during last month’s ATCA conference in San Francisco, the following were selected: Jay Handelman, Chris Rawson, Barbara Bannon, Ellen Foreman, Scott Bennett and Lynn Rosen. The board then selected Handelman to continue as President with Kerry Reid as both Vice President and Treasurer and Rawson as Secretary. The Foundation is a public, not-for-profit, tax-exempt charitable corporation — organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code — that provides financial and other tangible support for scholarships, critics’ institutes, ATCA awards, educational talks and seminars and other eligible programs 

Wednesday
Jul122017

ATCA’s Executive Committee election results are in

The results of the first-ever email-based election of ATCA’s Executive Committee are in and the effort proved a great success. Previous elections were held at the Association’s annual conferences, where only those who could attend (or provided a proxy) could vote. That usually added up to less than 30% of the membership. This year? There were 132 ballots cast, over 55% of the membership. Thanks are due to Russell Warne who ran the process. Elected to new three-year terms were Lou Harry, Frank Rizzo and Charles Giuliano. Elected to fill out the remainder of the term that Susan Cohn resigned was Simon Saltzman.

Friday
Jul072017

ATCA conducts first-ever online election for the Executive Committee

This year’s election of the ATCA Executive Committee is being held online for the first time, rather than in person at the annual conference. While proxies were always allowed, generally only members who could attend the conference voted. The bylaws were amended last year to enfranchise the entire membership. Earlier this week, ATCA’s Russell Warne sent a link to the online voting system to all members in good standing. All votes should be cast before next Monday. Direct any questions to Russell. Any ATCA member who did not receive the email with the link should contact ATCA Operations Manager Robert Sokol.

Thursday
Jun292017

Furor over Chicago critic

Long-time Chicago Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss (ATCA’s 2015 Perspectives in Criticism speaker) has stirred up a hurricane (not for the first time) with a June 13 review of Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over,” a re-write of “WaitingHedy Weiss (Photo by Rich Hein/Sun-Times) for Godot” featuring two young African-Americans, now at Steppenwolf Theatre. An ad-hoc group of theater people called for her ostracism by Chicago theaters, or at least cancellation of her free reviewer’s tickets. Several thousand have signed their online petition, along with many theaters. Many issues are raised in the responses. Here are some of the documents, most containing further links, some with extensive comments.
* Hedy Weiss review; also her 2015 Perspectives talk.
* Chris Jones review in Chicago Tribune.
* Balanced report by Diep Tran for American Theatre (ATCA’s 2016 Perspectives speaker: transcript of her talk).
* Opinion piece in Columbia Journalism Review.
* Chicago Tribune editorial.
* Kris Vire column in Time Out – Chicago.
* Cameron Kelsall column in the (Philly) Broad Street Review.
* Deanna Isaacs column in Chicago Reader.
* Playwright Nwandu’s response

Tuesday
Jun272017

Foundation ATCA raises over $700 during San Francisco conference

As is traditional, the hat was passed - multiple times, as a matter of fact - during ATCASF17 to raise funds for the association’s 501(c)(3) charitable arm, Foundation ATCA. This not-for-profit, tax-exempt charitable corporation provides financial support for programs to benefit the American theater in general and the broader theater criticism community. During the conference, over $700 was collected according to Jay Handelman, President of the Foundation. Click here for more information on the Foundation … or to donate now. 

Thursday
Jun222017

ATCA ratifies updated Code of Conduct

ATCA’s Member Code of Conduct hadn’t been updated in twenty years. It was written before cell phones, social networks, internet sites and blogs became part of a critic’s life. That changed last week during the annual conference in San Francisco when an updated code developed by ATCA’s Ethical Standards Committee under the chairmanship of Victor Gluck was ratified. The updated code is now on the “About ATCA” page on this website. Read it here

Thursday
Jun152017

Opportunities for Workshops Overseas 

A number of workshops are in the planning stages - for young critics (usually defined as working critics under the age of 35) and for more established critics. They would be held under the auspices of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), membership in which is an automatic benefit of membership in ATCA. Final details and application processes have not yet been announced, but ATCA’s Executive Committee wanted to get the word to the membership ASAP so members who might be interested in attending any one of the workshops can check their schedules and watch for the formal announcements which will be posted on ATCA’s website as soon as they are made public. During its spring meeting in Norrköping, Sweden, IATC’s Executive Committee reviewed plans for young critics workshops in Wuzhen, China and Pune, India as well as possible programs in Romania and Georgia this fall (October or November). There was also discussion of an experienced critics program focusing on William Shakespeare in Limoges, France in June of 2018. 

Monday
Jun122017

Countdown: ATCA/SF/17 begins Thursday

Thursday
Jun082017

#ATCASF17 launches Twitter campaign!

The host committee of the ATCA annual conference in San Francisco is launching a Twitter campaign to promote the event and its participants and sponsors, and to enhance the overall ATCA social media presence.

All ATCA members registered for the conference are encouraged to participate beginning today, June 8. Just tweet your comments, photos, news, information, experiences and/or observations about the conference and its programming, San Francisco and its theatre scene, or anything else related to the event — before, during and immediately after — using the #ATCASF17 identifier.

As a “friendly competition” incentive, the host committee will pay the 2017-2018 ATCA dues (a $100 value) for the participating member who achieves the most re-tweets of their posts as measured by the Twitter website. 

Tweeting can begin immediately and the measurement window will continue until noon in San Francisco, Wed., June 21, when the winner will be announced by — you guessed it - a tweet from @Theatre_Critics, the official ATCA Twitter handle. Tweets can be about anything related to your participation in the conference and photos are highly encouraged! The conference host committee, members of the ATCA executive committee and campaign manager Jonathan Mandell may participate but are not eligible for the paid-dues prize. All questions will be decided by the host committee and campaign manager.

Questions? Email atca-sf17@americantheatrectics.org for a quick reply. So, bring your devices and make sure your app is downloaded and up to date. Ready? Set. Tweet! #ATCASF17.

Friday
Jun022017

Convention Hat flying westward . . .

The peripatetic Convention Hat is in the air fromAlan Smason, New Orleans 2015 (left) yields the hat to Howie Shapiro, Philadelphia 2016 (right), while chair Bill Hirschman chortles. Pennsylvania to San Francisco, eager for its annual moment in the photographic sun. Since it was invented by Bill Gale so long ago not even he can remember when, it has been encrusted with some item from each conference in turn, embarrassing the outgoing convention chair, who is forced to wear it, and terrifying the chair of the conference to come. A quick search turned up a few pictures. Please send me any others you have!Tim treanor, CATF 2013 (West Virginia) is crowned by Jonathan Abarbanel, Chicago 2012.

Chris Rawson, O’Neill 2010 (left) and Jay Handelman, Sarasota 2009.

Wednesday
May312017

Back to Manhattan; Excom election; dues going up . . .

* ATCA returns to NYC Nov 3-5, thanks to Sherry Eaker, Martha Steketee, Jonathan Mandell, Scott Bennett, Wendy Mathis Parker and others. Email Sherry with suggestions .

* Excom seats are up for election using the new system, combining in-person and mail (for description, click below).

* In July membership renewals, dues go up to $100 (equals just $19.14 in 1974, when ATCA was founded). See your May 31 eBlast for the reasoning.

* Videos of two panel discussions at the NY conference last fall have particular relevance to the current Tony nominations (see your eBlast). Note the panel on sound and projection design: coincidentally (or not?!) the sound design Tony returns next year.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May162017

ATCA ExCom minutes show decisions on the budget, dues increase and international meetings

ATCA’s Executive Committee met last Thursday to discuss conferences and the planned membership drive. The minutes of the previous meeting, now posted to the Members Only area of the website, show the 2017 budget based on dues set at $100 for the new membership year beginning July 1 (an increase from the 2016-17 dues of $75). The minutes report sending ExCom vice-chair Brad Hathaway to represent International Committee chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins at the International Association of Theatre Critics executive committee May meeting in Norrköping, Sweden, the need for a new webmistress in the wake of Leslie Torvik’s retirement from the post, and the success of using electronic texts for the New Plays Committee’s consideration for the Steinberg and Osborn prizes.

Tuesday
May092017

DC Theater Community recognizes critic "whose love of theater is an inspiration"

Each year participating DC area theaters select a member of their audience “whose love of theatre is an inspiration,”(l-r) Tim Treanor and Lorraine Treanor present DC Theatre Scene’s Gary Maker Award to Joel Markowitz with Bruce Markowitz ready to read Joel’s remarks (Photo: James T. Rorke) according to the wording on the Gary Lee Maker Award, named for a theater lover who could be found in a local theater audience almost every evening for decades and initiated in 2011 by DCTheatreScene. All professional theater companies in the Washington metropolitan area are asked to submit annual nominations. The latest recipient of what is really a lifetime achievement award is not just an audience member but theater critic Joel Markowitz, creator and editor of the web-based DC Metro Theater ArtsMarkowitz is battling ALS so his brother read his remarks. For more info on this unusual award, click here.

Tuesday
May022017

Dallas Theater Center wins Regional Tony®

New York, NY (May 1, 2017) – The Tony Awards®  Administration Committee has announced that based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, TX, will be the recipient of the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award. (For the history of this award and ATCA’s role in it, click here.)

Click to read more ...