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

Thursday
Sep282017

What ATCA is and should be: ATCA chair summarizes the many advantages of membership

We are in the middle of our membership renewal drive, andBill Hirschman while this Harold Hill spiel is, indeed, aimed at enticing those who haven’t put renewals high on their “to do” list, this is really a contemplation of what ATCA is and what it should be. Because, really, why should you renew? What do you get out of it? What should you get out of it? What does it offer someone starting out? Should you renew if you no longer have a regular outlet for your work?

Beyond the professional development and networking, ATCA’s key worth is that it can provide you with a way to have some say, some influence, some power in how the profession and the organization evolve. 

Over the past few years, ATCA has been reinventing itself to determine how to address the all too obvious challenges. Those range from the loss of publishing venues, to the eroding commitment of the venues that remain, to the changing character of what constitutes a critic, to the lack of diversity among our ranks and that of the profession, and especially how to locate, empower and develop a new generation of responsible critics and arts journalists.
How is ATCA facing these challenges?
  • We have widened our doors to welcome critics working online and to theater arts journalists in general.
  • We are designing campaigns for next year to recruit younger and more diverse practitioners and to encourage young people interested in joining the profession.
  • The content of our conferences has deepened and become more reflective of the current real world of the profession.
  • We are creating events across the country such as the one in Seattle last February, one in Cincinnati coming this winter, and perhaps more activity in the San Francisco Bay Area later this year. We do this so that ATCA events are coming to the members instead of members having to fly halfway across the country for professional development and networking. Additionally, a move is underway to evaluate whether to create local chapters to provide services closer to your home.
  • On the international front, membership in ATCA provides automatic membership in the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). There are opportunities to participate in international events, make contact with critics from other countries, and if you travel, you will find many theaters, museums, and cultural activities accept the IATC membership card for complimentary press admission.
  • Our communications efforts have ratcheted up significantly. The website is frequently updated with news about the organization, milestones about our members’ accomplishments, and stories about issues affecting theatre journalism across the country. In addition, an increasingly robust Facebook and Twitter presence includes links to members’ articles, and this weekly ATCA UPDATE newsletter delivers a wide range of information such as how our members in Texas and Florida fared during the recent hurricanes.
  • We have increased our profile as a voice in the theater community and beyond, weighing in for our membership with public statements about controversies such as our widely-disseminated statement about the rights of critics in their relationship with theaters, sparked by the Hedy Weiss controversy in Chicago. Our members and officers are proactively joining n online dialogues about such topics as the cultural competency of critics and alternative paradigms for getting our work to the public. We are participating in other groups’ panels and committees ensuring there is a critic’s voice present, such as serving on a Dramatists Guild’s committee.
  • We are also actively expanding our committees structure to address diversity, recruiting, program development and much more.
I think it is important to acknowledge that some people are not renewing because they currently don’t have a regular writing outlet. They feel adrift and frightened about an uncertain future. However, being an arts journalist is like being a member of the Mafia or the Girl Scouts: Once in, never out. Many of your colleagues here who were in similar straits ﹣ this writer included ﹣ have found ways to reinvent themselves. We want to spread the word of how we did that and help you develop your own opportunities. We also want to solicit your advice and activism on the many subjects outlined above. 

ATCA also offers a way to stay active in the organization and the profession even if your current situation lacks a venue to provide clips. The associate membership is not a second-class membership. It has all the benefits of the traditional model ﹣ voting, attendance at conferences ﹣ with sole the exception that you cannot stand for election to the Executive Committee. We are all trying to find our footing as the model we knew shifts and evolves, but this group is an affirmation of a future that we in ATCA can forge for ourselves. Indeed, as veteran journalists, you have a larger stake than others in shaping the future of the profession you have spent your lives establishing.

Finally, if you’re a younger, emerging arts journalist wondering whether to ally yourself with a group founded before the Internet was science fiction, ATCA is morphing into a mentoring organization that can help you not just navigate these times but mold them.


End of commercial. Thanks for reading.

Bill Hirschman
chair - executive committee

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