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.

 

   

  

 

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

 

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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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

Sunday
Apr072013

Robert Schenkkan wins 2013 Steinberg/ATCA Award, nation's largest 

(added much later) — Video clips of $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards at the 37th Humana Festival: Jim Steinberg of the Steinberg Charitable Trust; presentations by Bill Hirschman to winner Robert Schenkkan (“All the Way”) and citation winners Johnna Adams (“Gideon’s Knot”) and Lucas Hnath (“Death Tax”)


April 6, 2013— At tonight’s Humana Festival of New Plays,Robert Schenkkan ATCA named Robert Schenkkan’s meditation on power and pragmatism, All The Way, the recipient of the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing a script that premiered outside New York City during 2012. Schenkkan’s play about Lyndon Johnson’s dogged campaign to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 received the top award of $25,000.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Lucas Hnath for Death Tax and Johnna Adams for Gidion’s Knot. At a total of $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award focusing on regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

All The Way was described by ATCA’s judges as an engrossing, epic depiction of Johnson’s struggle to get the Civil Rights Act passed through a recalcitrant Congress while simultaneously balancing an imminent election campaign. 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 flawed hero who is complex, obscene, brilliant and ruthless and committed to using his power in a pivotal moment in this country’s social evolution.

All the Way premiered July 25 as part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions commission program and has already been picked up for future productions including opening American Repertory Theatre’s season in September.

Presenting the awards was Wm. F. Hirschman of FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, chair of ATCA’s New Play committee. In 1977, ATCA began to honor new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City, where there are many awards. Since 2000, the award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. 

Schenkkan won the Pulitzer Prize for 1991’s The Kentucky Cycle, the first time a work won the honor without having premiered in New York. The Seattle-based writer is the author of 12 full-length plays, two full length musicals, screenplays and a collection of short plays.

Gidion’s Knot, by Johnna Adams, is a complex 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. The play received its world premiere in July at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Death Tax, by Lucas Hnath, is a tough-minded drama about dying in America in the 21st Century. 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. The play bowed last spring at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival.

The winners were selected from a record-setting 42 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, 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, follow this link.

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 hundreds of  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.

The same night, ATCA also presented the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, which recognizes emerging playwrights, to Keri Healey of Seattle for her play Torso (more details here). 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.