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

Saturday
Mar312012

Yussef El Guindi wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2012; Ken LaZebnik and A. Rey Pamatmat also cited

Yussef El GuindiATCA has named Yussef El Guindi’s Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, a play about immigration and assimilation, winner of the $25,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2012. The Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts that premiered professionally the previous year outside New York City.

Ken LaZebnik’s On the Spectrum and A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them received Steinberg/ATCA citations and

$7,500 each. Checks and commemorative plaques were presented to all three at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, March 31.

The award was created by ATCA in 1977 to recognize excellence in playwriting by honoring the best new plays not yet produced in New York City. Since 2000, it has been generously funded by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, making the $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA the largest national new play award of its kind.

Both LaZebnik and Pamatmat are first-time new play award winners, while El Guindi won ATCA’s 2009 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for an emerging playwright.

The Steinberg Charitable Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg on behalf of himself and his late wife. Pursuing its primary mission to support the American theater, it has provided millions of dollars to encourage new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

“The long-standing partnership between the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the American Theatre Critics Association has recognized some of today’s greatest writers, and helped identify the great playwrights of tomorrow,” said trustee Jim Steinberg. “We’re delighted to help support the unique telling of tales on the American stage.”

El Guindi’s Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World is a gentle romantic comedy wrapped around a serious examination of issues facing immigrants today, much as they did in the past. An Egyptian immigrant who drives a cab strikes up a romance with a quirky American-born waitress, but the clash of cultures is only the hook El Guindi uses to explore the diversity of opinions even within ethnic groups in the struggle for assimilation and belief in the American Dream. It premiered June 17 at ACT - A Contemporary Theatre, in Seattle.

Born in Egypt, raised in London and now based in Seattle, El Guindi received a B.A. from American University in Cairo and a 1985 MFA in playwriting from Carnegie-Mellon University. He frequently examines the collision of ethnicities, cultures and politics that face Arab-Americans. He has had at least 16 plays produced since 2001 in regional theaters from Durham to Anchorage. At the same time, he has worked as resident playwright at Silk Road Theatre Project; literary manager for Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco; playwright in residence, dramaturg and lecturer at Duke University; and dramaturg for Eureka Theatre and reader for The Magic Theatre, both in San Francisco 

LaZebnik’s On the Spectrum depicts a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome passing as “typical” after years of mainstreaming and therapy. He connects with a woman who proudly champions her autism as a difference, not a disorder. Their love story reveals the contradictions between the desire for acceptance and for achievement. Among the choices: live in a fantastic world of the mind or join the more mundane society that typecasts you as your illness. The work premiered November 12 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them was first produced in a Rolling World Premiere by Actor’s Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival of New Plays, New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida, and Actor’s Express in Atlanta. This moving, bittersweet play portrays a very untraditional family of three young misfits: a brilliant 16-year-old and his precocious 12-year-old sister, abandoned by their widowed father, and the brother’s lover who runs from a family denying his nascent homosexuality. Their fanciful bonding against the challenges of the real world, their resilience and their realization of their limitations result in a meaningful comic drama infused with empathy and wry humor.

The 2012 Steinberg/ATCA award recipients were selected from 27 eligible scripts, submitted by ATCA members, by a committee of 12 theater critics led by chairman Wm. F. Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com. Other committee members are Misha Berson, Seattle Times; Bruce Burgun, Bloomington Herald Times and Back Stage; Michael Elkin, Jewish Exponent (Pa.); Pam Harbaugh, Florida Today (Melbourne); Elizabeth Keill, Independent Press (Morristown, N.J.); Jerry Kraft, aislesay.com (Port Angeles, Wash.) ; Julius “Jay” Novick, freelancer (New York City); Wendy Parker, The Village Mill (Midlothian, Va.); David Sheward, Back Stage (New York); Herb Simpson, totaltheater.com and capitalcriticscircle.com (Geneseo, NY); and Tim Treanor, DC Theater Scene (Washington, D.C.).

“Despite vanishing government support and faltering donations, America’s regional theaters have persevered and prevailed as this country’s preeminent crucible for vibrant and important new works,” said Hirschman. “This year’s submitted plays encompass a dizzying range of styles and themes, produced by a cadre of experienced and novice playwrights who are inarguable proof that theater remains a vital and relevant art form in the 21st century.”

Honorees since 1977 have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Jane Martin, Arthur Miller, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Horton Foote, Craig Lucas and Bill Cain. Each year’s winning plays are chronicled in The Best Plays Theater Yearbook, edited by Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, alongside the 10 best plays produced that year in New York City. For a complete list of Steinberg/ATCA plays, go to www.americantheatrecritics.org, under Awards.

ATCA was founded in 1974 and works to raise critical standards and public awareness of critics’ functions and responsibilities and to recognize excellence in the American theater. The only national association of professional theater critics, with several hundred members working for newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations and websites, ATCA is the U.S. national section of the International Association of Theatre Critics, a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.

ATCA also sponsors the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for an emerging playwright and administers the $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize, funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by a female artist who has not yet achieved national prominence. Annually ATCA makes a recommendation for the Regional Theater Tony Award presented by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League, and its members vote on inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame. For more information on ATCA, visit www.americantheatrecritics.org.