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, which can also be read at the Houston Chronicle and

Nancy Bishop reviews Chicago theater for 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

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, 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, 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 She also writes for —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

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

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 rep company west of Madison, Wisconsin. More here, and more to come. 



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.

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

ALAN SMASON, New Orleans, has launched a new website, seeks to post reviews from legitimate critics country-wide.

JOEL MARKOWITZ received a moving radio tribute Dec. 21.

RICK PENDER, Cincinnati, OH, has signed a contract to assemble The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia, a comprehensive reference anticipated to be completed in late 2019.

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

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



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.



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.

A submission must take the form of a full digital copy of the play to be considered and a portfolio of no more than twenty single-sided pages. It should include a letter recommending the candidate, a synopsis of her body of work, and supporting materials sufficient to familiarize the committee with her achievements, possibly including reviews and/or a statement of the artist’s philosophy. Only one play may be submitted per candidate, but excerpts from or reviews of others may be submitted as part of the portfolio. Portfolios will not be returned.

(NOTE: In some previous years, theater artists other than playwrights were invited to apply. For 2018, only playwrights will be considered, although other theater work may be described as part of the applicant’s body of work.)

The committee selects several finalists for the award and then chooses a winner from among them. After receiving the check, the recipient is invited to a subsequent ATCA conference for a small recognition ceremony.

To apply, applicants should send an e-mail with their portfolio as a single attachment (PDF file preferred) and the produced playscript as a separate attachment to Robert Sokol at Be sure and include Primus Prize Submission in the subject line. Upon receipt of the submission you will be invoiced electronically for a $25 processing fee. If you don’t have the portfolio or the script in electronic form, send a printed copy of both to:

Robert Sokol, Operations Manager
584 Castro Street - #119
San Francisco, CA 94114

If you have questions about the application process, call Robert at 415.964.8040 or contact him via email. Send any other inquiries regarding the Primus Prize chair Barbara Bannon via email.

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2018.




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 ...


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%.)


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. 


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.


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.


ATCA confers Emeritus honor on Dan Sullivan, critic, mentor, friend

The ATCA Executive Committee voted this week to confer lifetime Emeritus Membership – one of its highest honors – on Dan Sullivan, the veteran critic, educator, mentor and co-founder of ATCA.

Emeritus standing is awarded only to a small cadre of members and former members who have established outstanding careers, furthered the future of the profession and significantly contributed to the organization itself.Dan Sullivan (right) in a familiar scene: gently mentoring at the National Critics Institute

Sullivan, 82, of Minneapolis, served as general assignment reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, theater critic for the Minneapolis Tribune (1961-64), the off-Broadway critic for The New York Times (1966-69), and high-profile critic for The Los Angeles Times from 1969-1991, where he was renowned for his insight and wit.

Click to read more ...


Regional Theater Tony Award

ATCA members should note the Jan. 31 deadline to propose a regional theater for ATCA’s recommendation to the Tony Administration Committee.

Remember that everything about this process must remain confidential, including the names of the theaters proposed.

For the proper procedure, check your Dec. 27 issue of ATCA UPDATE. 


A new ATCA program: ATCA-OH18

We’re thrilled to invite ATCA members and their guests to a regional ATCA weekend in Cincinnati, March 10 (or 9-11).Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park It is designed to offer a more intimate and immersive experience than the national conferences, with a lesser cost, travel, and time commitment. It is ideal for those whose work schedules and budgets are tight but who want to engage with fellow ATCA members, expand their professional horizons, see some terrific theatre, and have fun in the process.

The program is open to twenty members and their guests.

Click to read more ...


Foundation ATCA launches annual appeal to help it do good 

In a recent email appeal, Foundation president Jay Handelman notes its many good works, including scholarships and travel funds for critics, support for new ATCA members, subsidies of mini-conferences, the Osborn Prize for emerging playwrights, etc. This is the time of year for a tax deductible contribution, especially in 2017, with deductions at the whim of a cut-and-paste tax bill. Click to read for Jay’s full letter and how to give.  

Click to read more ...


Save this date: July 10-15 for ATCA 2018 in Wisconsin

ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical repertory company in the hills along the Wisconsin River, about 40 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin.

Early conference plans include four plays with a fifth optional at both the outdoor Hill amphitheater and indoor Touchstone space; preview the varied season here. We will have several educationalAPT, Hill Theatre (Saina Bashir, The Cap Times) opportunities, including panels. There will be options for tours at House on the Rock, an eclectic museum with architectural and historic appeal, and Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studios. We’ll have a welcoming reception at White Oak Savannah, a beautifully restored event space on a farm, and take a trip into MadisonMidsummer Night’s Dream, 2017 (Liz Lauren) to see the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country and Overture Center for the Arts. 

We plan to have an 80-person chartered bus for the conference. A block of 60 rooms is reserved at The House on the Rock Resort across from American Players Theatre. The resort has two pools, tennis courts, a spa and is adjacent to a 27-hole golf course.

Much more info to come! 


Ernie Schier inducted into Theater Hall of Fame

Ernie Schier (1918-99), ATCA co-founder, director of the National Critics Institute, “Schier of the Inquirer,” dramaturg and mentor, was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame on Nov. 13, along with an induction class of actors Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie and Matthew Broderick, playwrights Tina Howe and Arthur Kopit and producers Oskar Eustis and Daryl Roth. Ernie’s induction speech was by George White of the O’Neill Theater Center. Click here for a comprehensive story on the event.

For a treat, click here for Tony Kushner’s speech inducting Eustis that wowed the audience. 


A few pix from Nov. 2-3 in NYC

Paul Hyde (center) with two actors from the very funny “The Play That Goes Wrong”As the ATCA gathering in NY ended, everyoneSharon Wheatley from “Come from Away” headed home to tend to theater there. Columns, blogs and pictures, plus Facebook and Twitter, recorded the panels, interviews and shows in NYC. Here are a few pix (mainly from the Sardi’s gathering) to add to those previous posted (scroll down to see). 

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez talk about their stage version of “Frozen”

Originators of roles in Sondheim, moderated of course by Rick Pender of The Sondheim Review: left to right, Kurt Peterson, Harvey Evans, Teri Ralston, Pamela Myers and Len Cariou


NY conference leaves all exhausted, exhilarated

More pictures coming (though you can see some now on Twitter at #atcaNY17). But first, here’s Lauren Yee (left), receiving her plaque for the $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize from Primus Prize chair Barbara Bannon (center) and Patsy Kahn, representing Barry Primus and the Primus Foundation. The presentation was at Sardi’s, at the traditional lunch mixing critics and Broadway stars.


N.Y. conference under way

Follow all the action on Twitter at #atcaNY17

For one thing, there’s a tweet-post competition under way, so posts proliferate. And that’s where you’ll find pictures like the following explained.

Tony, Tony, who’s got the Tony (at the League of Broadway Theatre office)


 Panel, panel … .


Just 10 days to go


Critical debate du jour: The dynamics of a request not to review

A small Philadelphia theater asked critics not to review a short run of a new play that had been fully publicized. Wendy Rosenfield of the Broad Street Review responded; the responses to her increase the interest of all this to theater critics elsewhere.


'Regional Saturday Conference' to debut in Cincinnati, March 10, 2018

In its continuing effort to create vibrant programming beyond its outstanding national conferences, ATCA is happy to announce its first Regional Saturday Conference in Cincinnati on March 10, with optional bookend theatre opportunities on March 9 and 11, 2018.
The intimate, low-cost event will be limited to twenty attendees, with the first window of ticketing available to those in Ohio or within 200 miles of Cincinnati. Registration will begin in late October for those members and in mid-November for the general membership (if space is still available).
ATCA members Rick Pender and Lou Harry have put together a dynamic program that includes up to four theater productions, expert-packed panels, and an interactive presentation addressing ethics issues for both theaters and arts journalists. Attendees can come for the day or the weekend.


What ATCA is and should be: ATCA chair summarizes the many advantages of membership

We are in the middle of our membership renewal drive, andBill Hirschman while this Harold Hill spiel is, indeed, aimed at enticing those who haven’t put renewals high on their “to do” list, this is really a contemplation of what ATCA is and what it should be.

Click to read more ...