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 ATCA

Join Us on Twitter: @theatre_critics and @atca_member
Member Blogroll

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

Lindsay Christians writes theatre reviews at 77 Square; also arts blog On the Aisle; The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, Madison.

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.

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.

 

 

San Francisco Annual Conference, June 15-18, 2017: The whole, mouth-watering experience is now available for your consideration. ATCA members click here! 

 

 

International

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 Theatre and State

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Critics in the news

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Jesse Green named NY Times “co-chief theater critic” with Ben Brantley, filling slot left empty by firing of Charles Isherwood. Read NYT announcement-justification-trumpeting here. Roundtable discussion of why this is a disappointment to many, here. Read substantial interview with Green, addressing all the issues, here.

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

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Scroll down or click here for the Charles Isherwood imbroglio, and the followup flap over a NYT “Big River” review.

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


 

      

The 2016 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.
 
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

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

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

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

2010 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.
Chris Rawson, Chair 

Playwright and critic

Playwright and two critics

Check out: ATCA Blog — scroll back for accounts of ATCA/Ashland, ATCA/O’Neill, more on the Pulitzer controversy, also from Humana and Denver festivals

 

 

Past event logos

 

 

(above) Sarasota, 2009. 

 

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Fun ‘n Games

Honest-to-Goodness Theater Geek Trivia Contest, Florida Theatre On Stage, Bill Hirschman, ed. (includes links to answers)

Round One.
Round Two

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 ...

Tuesday
Apr252017

Linda Winer steps down after 48 years a critic

The rank (not ranks, hardly even one rank) of woman criticsLinda Winer  takes a huge hit when, after 30 years at Newsday, she leaves on May 12. It’s all about 400-word (and less) limits and not wanting to be clickbait. Read her interview with American Theatre

Monday
Apr242017

Seven weeks to San Francisco

The early registration deadline is gone, but you can still register and book rooms at the Hilton Hotel Union Square. And two deadlines for new members remain in effect to May 1: those who joined ATCA since the 2016 Philadelphia conference may still request registration sponsorship courtesy of Foundation ATCA (to inquire, email here); and new member applications can still be filed in time for ATCA-SF17. Email Eddie Rubin if you want to share a room. And Extranomical Tours is offering many pre- and post-conference excursions at a discounted rate. Send us questions on any aspect of the conference.

Monday
Apr102017

2017 Pulitzer Prizes: Nottage wins for drama, New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als for criticism

April 10 — Announced today: Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat,” about the American working class, was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for drama (ATCA’s Wendy Rosenfield served on the drama jury). But the more unusual news is that New Yorker criticHilton Als Hilton Als won the prize for criticism, only the second theater critic ever to win the award, first given in 1970. (The NY Times’ Walter Kerr won in 1978; Margo Jefferson won in 1995, the year before she became the Times theater critic.)

The Pulitzer jury cited Als “for bold and original reviews that strove to put stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality and race.” He previously (2002-3) won the other major prize open to American theater critics, the George Jean Nathan Award. More about Als here.

Saturday
Apr082017

Michael Cristofer’s “Man in the Ring” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award; $7,500 citations go to Tracy Letts and David Rabe

April 8 —- ATCA has selected Michael Cristofer’s “Man in the Ring” as the winner of the 2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premieredMichael Cristofer professionally outside New York City during 2016.The awards were presented tonight by Jim Steinberg and ATCA’s Lou Harry and Bill Hirschman in a ceremony in Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Two citations that carry $7,500 awards were presented to Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” and David Rabe’s “Visiting Edna,” both of which premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the U.S.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr072017

Eppler wins 2017 Osborn Award

The American Theatre Critics Association is pleased to announce that Nate Eppler has won the 2017 M. ElizabethNate Eppler and Osborn plaque Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 8. The Osborn Award recognizes Eppler’s “The Ice Treatment,” which was premiered in July, 2016, presented by Actors Bridge Ensemble in partnership with Nashville Repertory Theatre.

(Click here for Nashville Arts Critic April 9 report of Eppler’s acceptance speech.) 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr032017

Taxes aren’t the only thing due this month

APRIL 3 —- Don’t let the Regional Theatre Tony Award recommendation ballot deadline pass you by. Your signed ballot must be received (either by mail or a scan via email) by April 19 to be counted for this year’s recommendation to the Tony Administration Committee. And remember that the process is strictly confidential and that the identity of the theaters being considered must not be shared outside the ATCA membership.

Thursday
Mar162017

Are you going to San Francisco?

JUNE 15-18, 2017 • SAN FRANCISCO •  #ATCA-SF17

The deadline for the discounted “early bird” registration rate has ended. Registration is now $245 for the full conference.

The full conference schedule will be published in May.
Tickets for select individual sessions and panels
will go on sale in May. 

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

ATCA-SF17 Registration - $245
Pleas enter registrant name below:



ATCA’s annual conference dovetails with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, so pack your tie-dye and put flowers in your hair for three days of theatre and mind-expanding sessions in the foggy City by the Bay! A lot has changed since ATCA last visited San Francisco in 2004. The big-ticket items include major new theater spaces, up to a dozen mouth-watering titles at the leading companies, and a half-dozen exciting panels, from new takes on Shakespeare to a new age in theater sound, along with a valuable CityPASS, great food, parties, networking … PLUS an incredible rate at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, right in the center of the theater district. Also SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS for those writing travel stories.

ATCA members click here for a more detailed description and info on how to register (early bird fee $195, April 15 deadline) and reserve a room. The official schedule runs from 5 pm, Thursday to Sunday noon, so a three-night stay will deliver the full conference experience. Email questions here and we’ll answer directly. The best questions will turn up in the weekly ATCA-SF17 newsletter.

3/27 Newsletter (click here): Broadway gets Bette, but we have a real matchmaker!

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3/19 Newsletter (click here): The early birdman of Alcatraz

Thursday
Mar162017

Boot camp: National Critics Institute at O'Neill Theater Center

Accepting applications March 15-25 for this summer’s session, July 1-15.

One of the O’Neill Theater Center’s oldest programs, NCI is a two-week residential workshop and conference, designed for arts writers and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. The Institute convenes concurrently with the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference. Director Chris Jones, critic and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, leads America’s leading boot camp for arts writers, offering an intensive course of study for writers of all experience levels, especially for those in mid-career. There’s a world-class faculty composed of America’s leading arts critics. There’s scholarship money, some courtesy of ATCA. And there’s a beach. Read more here.

Wednesday
Mar152017

Lauren Yee wins 2016 Primus Prize of $10,000; submissions being accepted for 2017

March 14, 2017 — Playwright Lauren Yee has been awarded the 2016 Francesca PrimusPlaywright Lauren Yee Prize for her play in a word. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Yee will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Yee was selected by an ATCA committee of six. led by Barbara Bannon, from seven finalists announced in January, who were in turn chosen from 26 playwrights submitted.

In a word is about the grief of a couple at the disappearance of their seven-year-old adopted son, but it is equally about language. “To me, the funny and the painful go hand in hand,” Yee says. Her play was developed in readings on both coasts, had a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere and is published by Samuel French. For a full press release with further details, click here.

Submissions are now being accepted through May 1 for the 2017 Primus Prize. Playwrights may self-submit. Click here for a description of the process.

Friday
Mar032017

Six finalists named for $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA new play award

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizes playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New YorkJim Steinberg City during 2016. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each will be presented April 8 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival.

The six finalists (alphabetically by playwright, with name of the theater where the play premiered) are: Michael Cristofer, Man in the Ring (Court Theatre, Chicago); Nate Eppler, The Ice Treatment (Actors Bridge Ensemble, Nashville); Tracy Letts, Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago); David Rabe, Visiting Edna (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago); R. Eric Thomas, Time Is On Our Side (Sympatico Theatre, Philadelphia); and Lauren Yee, in a word (National New Play Network).Lou Harry

The finalists were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members and evaluated by a committee of 17 ATCA members led by Lou Harry of the Indianapolis Business Journal/IBJ.com. Click here for the full press release, including brief descriptions of the plays. For the history of the award, click here.

Wednesday
Mar012017

A critical flap du jour: "Big River," NYT, critic, producer, editors . . . 

As a sort of pendant to the vacancy in the Times’ critic crew (scroll down three items) — because otherwise Isherwood would presumably have reviewed the Encores! “Big River,” Feb. 8-12 — artistic director Jack Viertel wrote a crushingly condescending response to the review by Laura Collins-Hughes. Most admirably, the Times editors spoke up in her defense. Read the review first, then Playbill tells the story. Finally, give yourself the treat of a wry British view. Perhaps A. Pope (not a pope) sums it all up best, “to crush a butterfly upon a wheel.”