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.

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.

 

   

  

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

ANGELICA JENSEN, Houston, lets us know the sad news that Bob Brown, her husband of thirty years, died last month, age 87.

WEI-HUAN CHEN, Houston, was just honored for coverage of Nixon in China in China.

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.

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.


  


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

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San Francisco, annual conference, 2017

  

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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

Wednesday
Nov212012

Oskar Eustis, Theater Hall of Fame induction speech by Tony Kushner, Nov. 13, 2017

(Click here for an account of the full 2017 Hall of Fame induction of which this was a part; click here for reports on previous Hall of fame inductions back to 1998.)

I always scold Oskar for using superlatives when speaking in public. Oskar is maybe the most enthusiastic person I know, or rather I should say he’s the most enthusiastic serious person I know; what he loves he loves whole-heartedly, voraciously, all-consumingly – not in the sense of wanting to consume that which he loves but rather wanting to be consumed by it, in the sense of wanting to be ravished by what he loves; Oskar is available for ravishment.

He’s not a cheap date, he can’t be had for the price of a cocktail like a salted peanut! But he yearns to be swept off his feet, by a new play, a new musical, a song, a directorial moment, a night in the theater during which mysteries are deepened and/or illuminated and the world in which, in spite of his immensely ethical, scrupulously rational self, Oskar lives in a condition of voluptuous intellect and synthesizing, meaning-generating sensual delight.Oskar Eustis and Tony Kushner

He is, in other words, one of the great romantics, he is a miracle of rare device, a sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice, Oskar is in love with the world, the wicked and tragic and enduring and sometimes noble and splendid and beautiful intricately interwoven world. This is what makes time in Oskar’s company so electrifying, so exhilarating, occasionally so alarming: He is fully an inhabitant of the world, and he has made sufficient space inside himself for the world to inhabit, to inhere in him. Oskar is what Ezra Pound called “a serious character.”

And he has, as I said, serious enthusiasms, and as must be true of everyone who works in theater, who loves theater as much as Oskar loves it, he enjoys, from time to time, the dramatic effect of announcing superlatives, for nothing but superlatives can express the fullness of any given moment’s joy. I scold Oskar from time to time about using superlatives. The most lavish praise a public person can afford to employ is comparative praise, I tell him: only ever say that you think “no one is better than person X” & never say that “no one is as good as person X”, because person Y, person Z and persons A-W will hear what you’ve said and be offended. Sometimes Oskar remembers my advice, and sometimes he doesn’t.

Tonight, Oskar, I’m hoist by my own petard – a petard, by the way, is a smidgen of gunpowder, not, as I’d always assumed, some sort of early iteration of the leotard. Tonight you’re being inducted into the Theater Hall Of Fame, and if one isn’t allowed to bring forth and play with one’s superlatives on a night like this, then they never can be trotted out, and what’s the point of even having superlatives if they have to stay in the closet? I’ve already said you’re the most enthusiastic serious person I know, Oskar, and that’s a superlative. Here are some others:Laurie and Oskar Eustis

You’re the bravest man I know.

You’re the strongest man I know.

You take pleasure in responsibility, in shouldering communal burdens, more than anyone I know.

You take more pleasure than anyone I know in building things – plays, institutions, relationships.

You take more pleasure and often have more success than anyone I know at attempting to articulate in public why theater matters to the world, and why the world needs theater artists who want to matter to the world.

You’re married to Laurie Eustis, who’s a class of superlative unto herself.

You’re stepfather of Kyle Brown, another super superlative.

You’re my best friend.

I was going to say you’re the smartest man I know, Oskar, and very often you are, but smart is measurable only in context and circumstance, so there are no superlatives when it comes to measuring smart, and also sometimes you don’t agree with me, and I’ve had to take points off for that. But Oskar, you’re certainly one of the five smartest people I know, and your erudition, retention, critical capabilities and curiosity are among the world’s true wonders.

When they write the history of the theater of our time, Oskar, you’ll be at the center of it; because of the electrifying, tough-minded, social-minded productions you’ve directed; because of the great theatrical institutions that you’ve created and nurtured, whose cultural impact you’ve assiduously cultivated and curated; and more than anything else, I think, the playwrights who are indebted to you.

If the works of Suzan-Lori Parks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Rinne Groffe, Richard Nelson, Michael J. Friedman Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, to name only a few, survive - and we have reason to hope that if our species manages to survive the many dangers that threaten it, their work likely will survive along with it – since you supplied the fertile common ground for a great deal of what American theater has produced, the history of the theater of our time will look very much like the history of the theater of your time.

So as long as the Gershwin Theater stands, Oskar, your name will be emblazoned here, along with the names of so many illustrious others, at least until someone decides to repaint the lobby. If that happens, Oskar, I don’t worry that you’ll be bitter or despair. You do what you do not for fame, but for justice, love of the world and desire to help build the future, the city on the hill. I feel certain I can speak for the whole theater community, and I’m absolutely speaking for myself: Your life is a great blessing and a generative gift, comrade. More work, more life, long live the Revolution, on to the Midterms!

(For a view of the Eustis-Kushner friendship from the other side, and some background about how it originated and their collaboration on “Angels in America,” click here for a piece by Oskar Eustis — as told to Boris Kachka — in “Vulture,” which originally appeared in New York magazine.)