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 all who review theatre professionally, regularly and with substance for print, electronic or digital media.

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Member Blogroll

Gail Burns in Gail Sez writes about theatre in the Berkshires of western Mass and adjacent areas of Vermont and NY.

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

Mike and Laura Clark edit ShowBizRadio.net covering all types of theatre in Washington DC, Baltimore, and St. Louis including reviews, interviews, as well as audition and performance calendars.

David Cote blogs, reports on theater and reviews Broadway, Off and Off-Off productions for Time Out New York and davidcote.com.

Christine Dolen writes a theater critic’s notes in Drama Queen; and Miami Herald reviews and previews.

Karen D’Souza writes reviews, features and blog for the San Jose Mercury News.

Randy Gener blogs on arts, culture and world theater in In the Theater of One World.

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 Extreme Culture offers reviews, commentary and links, in the Gannett daily Florida Today.

Lou Harry  writes Lou Harry’s A&E: opinion, debate and discussion on arts and entertainment for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Brad Hathaway’s “Theater Shelf: CDs, DVDs and Books for the Theater Lover” runs on multiple websites each week. You can find the latest column here: BradHathaway.Com

Bill Hirschman is editor, chief critic and reporter for Florida Theater On Stage.

Damien Jaques writes about theatre for OnMilwaukee.com, Milwaukee.

Chris Jones writes reviews, interviews and commentary for Theater Loop at the Chicago Tribune.

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.

Joe and Ann Pollack write  St. Lous Eats and Drinks with Joe and Ann Pollack: food, wine, shops, travel, reading, movies and theater in St. Louis.

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.

Tim Treanor  is the Senior Reviewer for DC Theatre Scene, Washington, D.C.

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

 

ATCA/Humana: visit @ATCA2014

The Clyde Fitch Report interviews critics (mainly ATCA members):
Terry Teachout
Peter Marks 
Lauren Yarger
Wendy Rosenfield 

BALLOTS for Regional Tony recommendation must be returned to arrive by April 18.

HowlRound criticism archive: NYT surveys response to critics, Jason Zinoman on the happy masochism of critics, Wendy Rosenfield on criticism’s significance, etc.

SUSAN SMITH BLACKBURN PRIZE announces ten 2013-14 finalists — 3 U.S., 5 U.K., 2 Australia. Full info here.

ATCA’s Brad Hathawayaddresses the IATC Symposium in Kerala, India, Jan. 30, 2014.

SCROLL TO BOTTOM for regional critics’ awards.

 
2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Humana Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville, April 2-6
; chair, Jonathan Abarbanel.


     


Click here for video clips of last year’s $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards at the 37th Humana Festival, including Jim Steinberg, Bill Hirschman and winners Robert Schenkkan, Johnna Adams and Lucas Hnath. NOTE that Schenkkan’s winning play is now on Broadway.
NOTE that the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA winners will be announced April 5 at Humana. See six finalists here.

Elsewhere (off)site: for the website of the Drama section of the (British) Critics’ Circle, click here.

ATCA’s recommendation of Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company was accepted and it was awarded the 2013 Regional Theater Tony Award. For background on the award, click here. But this year, the field broadens to include New York City non-profits (click here). ATCA members will receive ballots soon.

 

{For collected Pull Quotes going back to July, 2012, CLICK HERE.} 

More metaphors, please:
“…he falls on this succulent, puffed-up role as if it were a chocolate eclair… . This is not life imitating art. This is art going to bed with life and staying there for the rest of the afternoon. — Anthony Lane, New Yorker review of “The French Minister.”
“Now is the winter of our Discount Tents” — sign in the window of Richard III Camping Goods, somewhere in Leicester.”

“[C]riticism, which by now should have evolved from a one-sided conversation … to a full-fledged back-and-forth between audience and critic, still drags its knuckles. Over in the online sports section of my particular newspaper, the threads are lively, angry, and impassioned. In the political and local sections, they’re horrific cesspools of blatant racism and sexism that continue for pages. But here on the performing arts page, save for the occasional response from someone associated with a production that received a negative review, they’re empty.” — Wendy Rosenfield in HowlRound, Apr. 1, 2013.

Hooray for The Onion: “Continuing in its mission to support excellence across a range of artistic disciplines, the National Endowment for the Arts announced Friday a new initiative allocating $80 million to discourage no-talent hacks from engaging in creative endeavors.” Read it here.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE. 

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


2013 Critics’ Circle Awards 

 * N.Y. Drama Critics Circle, 78th awards.

* Outer Critics Circle (N.Y.) 63rd awards.

* Chicago, Jeff Awards.
* Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle, 44th Awards.
* Philadelphia: Barrymore Awards, 2013 Winners.
* San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, 2012 awards.

* Index to other regional theater awards, click here.

* FOUR DOZEN 2013 “BESTS,” city by city

  
REVIEW round-ups:

* Chicago (23 publications)
 

Past Conferences

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 logos


 

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

Tuesday
Mar192013

Six finalists named for Steinberg/ATCA, nation's largest new play award

ATCA 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 2012. 

The six are Johnna Adams, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Mia McCullough, Dan O’Neil and Robert Schenkkan (for the scripts specifically honored, see below). The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 6 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award of its kind.

In 1977, ATCA began to honor new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City, where there are many awards. No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year. Since 2000, the award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

The finalists, alphabetically by playwright:

“Gidion’s Knot,” by Johnna Adams, is a complex, powerful and gripping drama in which the mother of a dead student visits his teacher seeking the backstory behind his death – with each woman discovering profound secrets as layers of truth are exposed. Described by judges as “a perfect piece of theater” that is both exhilarating and devastating, the play puts in direct conflict two cherished values — freedom of expression and the safety of our children. Adams’ script includes numerous Pinteresque pauses that eloquently stand-in for very specific but unspoken thoughts as two human beings realize that words are an insufficient venue of communication. The play received its world premiere in July at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“The Invisible Hand,” by Ayad Akhtar, is a taut and unsentimental political thriller with economic overtones that is rooted in the real and artificial barriers to human connections. It posits an international banker kidnapped by terrorists in Pakistan and forced to earn his own ransom by helping his captors manipulate and master the world commodities and currency markets. The evolving, almost intimate relationship between the banker and his chief interrogator raises what one judge called “morally queasy” questions about how all societies are forever imprisoned in the system of global economics in which financial measures are ultimately meaningless.  The work bowed last March at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

 “Death Tax,” by Lucas Hnath, is a tough-minded drama about dying in America in the 21st Century. Set in a nursing home, an elderly woman is convinced that her daughter wants her to die quickly enough to take advantage of an inheritance tax loophole and tries to bribe a nurse to prevent her murder. Without positing easy answers, the play dissects greed, dysfunctional human relationships and the potential implications of a medical paradigm that can keep people alive indefinitely. Hnath’s heightened language, using the rhythm of repetitive phrases in lengthy monologues, was mesmerizing when the play bowed last spring at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival.

“Impenetrable,” by Mia McCullough, is a multi-angled rumination on the price and social cost of our obsession with youth and beauty. A Middle-Eastern fashion model’s body is splayed on an enormous billboard with arrows pointing to the “imperfections” that a spa could help customers correct. In revolt at how her image was used, she ultimately decides to wear a hijab, sparking a complex range of reactions from the world around her. It examines our complicity buying into standards of attractiveness that are impossible to meet. Judges were moved and intrigued by a work they saw as authentic and compelling. The play was first seen in September at Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago.

“The Wind Farmer” by Dan O’Neil, nearly resembles a fable set in the middle of nowhere on a nearly lifeless farm inhabited by an old man and his daughter. The only living thing remaining on the land is the ceaseless wind and a city man, Leo, has come to make them an offer on taking that away for a corporation. The issue of wind energy as an alternative energy source is secondary to larger issues about the durability of such values of holding on to property, family and history in a mercilessly pragmatic world. The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va. developed the play for its premiere in October.

“All The Way,” by Robert Schenkkan, is an engrossing, epic depiction of Lyndon Johnson’s struggle to get the Civil Rights Act passed through Congress. This masterfully constructed tale is an unblinking look at the gritty nature of compromise and pragmatism in a good cause that thrusts us into the deepest, darkest corners of a political firestorm. Schenkkan creates a hero who is complex, obscene, brilliant and ruthless. It premiered July 25 as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions commission program. 

These six finalists were selected from a record-setting 43 eligible scripts submitted by ATCA members. They were evaluated by a committee of 15 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 (Ind.); Lindsay Christians, The Capital Times (Madison, Wisc.);  Mark Cofta, Philadelphia City Paper; Michael Elkin, Jewish Exponent (Pa.); Pam Harbaugh, Florida Today (Melbourne); Michael P. Howley, theatremontgomery.blogspot.com; Elizabeth Keill, Independent Press (Morristown, N.J.); Jerry Kraft, www.SeattleActor.com, (Port Angeles, Wash.); Julius Novick, veteran critic and professor (New York City);  Kathryn Osenlund, Curtain Up (Philadelphia); Wendy Parker, The Village Mill (Midlothian, Va.); David Sheward, Back Stage (New York); Herb Simpson, totaltheater.com (Geneseo, N.Y.) and Tim Treanor, DC Theater Scene (Washington, D.C.)  

Hirschman said this year’s entries validated the future of a vibrant 21st Century theater. “Despite renewed concerns about the prognosis for theater as a relevant and popularly embraced art form, the stunning array and high quality of scripts we read confirmed the enduring commitment of regional theaters and a dazzling diversity of playwrights to be the primary standard-bearers for new works,” he said. “Far from disconnected and elitist, the plays reflected themes and settings ranging from the economic challenges faced by real people in this country to the moral questions created by American involvement on the world stage.

Since the inception of ATCA’s New Play Award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman and Craig Lucas. Last year’s honoree was Yussef  El Guindi for “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World.” For a full list of 36 years of winners and runners-up, go to www.americantheatrecritics.org and click on Steinberg-ATCA under Awards.

The Harold and Mimi 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 grants totaling millions of dollars for new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

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

ATCA also presents the $1,000 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, honoring emerging playwrights.  It also administers the $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize, funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by female artists who have 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 votes on inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.

For more information on the Steinberg/ATCA Award, contact Wm. F. Hirschman, chair of the ATCA New Play Committee, at muckrayk@aol.com or 954-478-1123; Jay Handelman, ATCA chair, at criticjay@gmail.com,or 941-361-4931; or Christopher Rawson, ATCA communications chair, at cchr@pitt.edu or 412-216-1944.