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.

Learn more

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.

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

.

Critics in the news

.
Why is Lyn Gardner sad?

Why is Lyn Gardner happy?
The first Lyn appeared in The Stage from London, March 14, with this story — Journalist and critic Lyn Gardner’s theatre blog for the Guardian had been cancelled.

… The second Lyn appeared in The Stage, March 16, with this followup: “More than 40 UK theatres, including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheffield Theatres and the Royal Exchange, have signed a letter to the Guardian calling on it to reinstate Lyn Gardner’s theatre blogs.”

.
And just previously, in N.Y… . we had 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

 .

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

.  
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

 .

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. 

 

.

 

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

Friday
Jul192013

Playwright Stephanie Zadravec receives $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize for 2013

Director Lear deBessonet also honored

Shepherdstown, WV, July 19, 2013—Today the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual Stefanie Zadravecconference, held at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, that playwright Stefanie Zadravec has been awarded the 2013 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Electric Baby. Zadravec will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference. 

Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman theater artist. Playwrights, artistic directors, and directors are eligible to apply.

The Electric Baby vividly portrays the power of myth, magic, and stories to transform our daily lives. When a miscellaneous group of Pittsburgh residents—an older childless couple, a lonely waiter, a young man with a stutter, and an angry young prostitute—are involved in a traffic accident, their lives intertwine and intersect with those of an African immigrant cabdriver, his Romanian wife, and their magical dying baby. The play’s intriguing fusion of the everyday realities of urban life with Romanian and Yoruba folklore and folktales subtly reinforces the importance of family and community in coming to terms with loss and grief.

In a strange illustration that life imitates art, Zadravec’s young son was diagnosed with a rare disease while she was writing the play. She became fascinated by “the irreversible sentences—a terminal diagnosis, a car accident, a sick child—that turn your world upside down, leaving you paralyzed and isolated while the outside world rushes past. I was interested in how some people manage to carve new lives from tragedy while others remain stuck.” The result is a lyrical play that is simultaneously mythic and tragic and illuminates the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The Electric Baby received its world premiere at Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh, had a subsequent production at Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, New Jersey, and is currently playing at the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in Chicago. It was named one of Pittsburgh’s top 10 shows of 2012 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and received the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition’s Collaboration Award. The Electric Baby was developed with support from Theater of the First Amendment’s First Light Discovery Program, Playwrights Realm, and the 2011 PlayPenn Conference.

Zadravec was selected from 20 award applicants by ATCA’s nationwide committee of critics, chaired by Barbara Bannon (Salt Lake City, UT) and composed of Julie York Coppens (Juneau, AK), Marianne Evett (Arlington, MA), Michael Howley (Montgomery, AL), Lynn Rosen (Bellingham, WA), and Herb Simpson (Geneseo, NY).

The committee also gives special commendation to director Lear deBessonet for her exceptional work in expanding the Lear deBessonet boundaries of conventional theater to include nontraditional actors; attract a new, broader audience; and involve the community in inventive ways into the dramatic process. The scale and vision of her productions mark her as one of the most brave and dynamic directors working in theater today.

“The Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation was established to recognize and support emerging women artists who are making a difference in the theater community in which they work,” observed Barry Primus, the foundation administrator. Founded in 1997 in memory of actress, critic and ATCA member Francesca Primus, the Primus Prize was originally administered by the Denver Center Theatre Company. ATCA began overseeing it in 2004.

ATCA is the nationwide organization of theater critics and an affiliate of the International Association of Theatre Critics. In addition to the Primus Prize, it administers two playwriting awards: the $50,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award. ATCA members also recommend a regional theater for the annual Tony Award and vote on induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Previous Winners of the Francesca Primus Prize

1997    Julia Jordan, playwright, Tatjana in Color

1998    Brooke Berman, playwright, Wonderland

1999    Melanie Marnich, playwright, Blur

2000    Brooke Berman, playwright, Playing House

2001    S. M. Shepard-Massat, playwright, Some Place Soft to Fall

2002    Alexandra Cunningham, playwright, Pavane

2004    Lynn Nottage, playwright, Intimate Apparel

2005    Michelle Hensley, artistic director of Ten Thousand Things Theatre Company, Minneapolis

2006    Karen Zacarias, playwright and founder/artistic director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, Washington, D.C., Mariela in the Desert

2007    Victoria Stewart, playwright, Hardball

2008    EM Lewis, playwright, Heads

2009    Jamie Pachino, playwright, Splitting Infinity

2010    Michele Lowe, playwright, Inana

2011    Caridad Svich, playwright, The House of the Spirits

2012    Tammy Ryan, playwright, Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods

 

— 30 —