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
David Dow Bentley III is the thepeoplescritic.com, which can also be read at the Houston Chronicle and broadwaystars.com.

Nancy Bishop is editor and publisher of Third Coast Review, a Chicago-centric arts and culture website. You can read her reviews there and her pop culture writing here.

Lindsay Christians is a full-time arts and food writer for The Capitol Times in Madison, Wisconsin. She has written theater reviews there 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 is the senior critic (part-time) for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and also appears regularly on KDKA-TV.

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.

 


 

 

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.

CHRIS RAWSON, Pittsburgh, PA, is hustling around the country playing catch-up, presenting the August Wilson American Century Cycle Award to theaters that have qualified.

RUSSELL WARNE
, Provo, UT, has just welcomed his second son into what he hopes will be a lifetime of loving theater.
 

ERICA MINER, Edmonds, WA, has just published Murder in the Pit, a murder mystery at the Santa Fe Opera.

KAREN TOPHAM, Chicago, is actively seeking theatre critics from around the country to become part of the expanded edition of her website, ChicagoOnStage.com. Contact her here.

 

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. 

 

 

After more than 33 years and (by her count) 13,000 reviews, the long-standing Chicago theater and arts critic Hedy Weiss has been let go by the Chicago Sun-Times. Reporting in the competing Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones writes that the sometimes controversial critic “fit into the decades-long Chicago tradition of powerful, hard-working and famously independent women writing about the arts, without compromise or apology.” Read Jones here. Here, the Chicago Business Journal reports. Weiss delivered ATCA’s 2015 Perspectives in Criticism talk in New Orleans: click for an audio recording.

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).

   

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE 


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 conference, 2016 (for reports and details, scroll down 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

Wednesday
Oct172018

Barbara Bannon [1939 – 2018]

Barbara M. Bannon, the longtime secretary of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) executive commitee, who reviewed theatre in Utah for more than four decades, died on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at the Huntsman Cancer Institute following a protracted battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 79.

Bannon was a writer and theatre critic for several publications, most notably The Salt Lake Tribune since 2004. In addition to her writing, she was an editor and proofreader for Utah State University and taught grammar, punctuation, editing and proofreading courses at the University of Utah. She was the owner of Hither and Yon Editing and Publishing Services and was a freelance editor for Peregrine Smith Books.

Bannon enjoyed writing about the arts and in addition to her love of theatre frequently wrote about film. Her keen eye and skills in editing and proofreading led her to be hired as the editor of the Sundance Film Festival program for the past 26 years.

In its obituary of Bannon, The Salt Lake Tribune cited Ellen Weist, an editor and one of her colleagues, as remembering that Bannon would specifically write her reviews in longhand before editing them over computer.

Bannon was enormously supportive of the many budding actors she met throughout her years of reviewing theatre and whose performances caught her attentive eye. Following the announcement of her death, a number of them reminisced over social media that her confidence served as a source of inspiration for them to more actively pursue careers in theatre.

Because of her close friendship to the late theatre critic Francesca Primus, Bannon was the founder and leading advocate for the Francesca Primus Prize, a $10,000 annual prize administered by ATCA and given to an emerging female playwright. It was one of her proudest achievements.

Bannon was a mainstay on the ATCA executive committee and wrote detailed and extensive notes for her minutes as secretary. Although she maintained her own opinions, she was careful not to inject much subjective thought into many of their detailed discussions.

She relished gathering in various cities with her fellow ATCA members at the annual conferences and frequently attended the mini-conferences held in New York, rarely missing one, even after she received news of her cancer diagnosis. Bannon had designated the schedule of her treatments be spread around so they would not interfere with her review work. She was an attendee at the most recent ATCA conference in Spring Green, Wisconsin held in mid-July.

Born on Jan. 3, 1939, in Stamford, Connecticut, Bannon graduated from Trinity College in 1960 and earned her master’s degree in speech and drama from Catholic University in Washington, DC in 1963.

Following her obtaining a teaching certificate from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, she went on to become an English teacher at Regina High School in Hyattsville, MD. According to The Washington Post, one of the students she inspired was Mercedes Ruehl, who went on to win the 1991 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and the 1992 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Bannon moved to Utah in 1968, finding work initially at the ski resort town of Alta. Eventually she was hired to work as a writer for Utah Holiday Magazine in 1977, where she rose over time to become managing editor.

After that publication was shuttered in 1993, Bannon continued to work in the Salt Lake City area as a freelance theatre critic and became a member of ATCA during this period.

A lifelong Catholic, Bannon was a proud lay Dominican and attended worship services at St. Catherine of Sienna Newman Center, where she was a member of the choir.

Bannon is survived by her brother, Michael Bannon of Bartlett, NH. A prayer service will be conducted at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center, 170 S. University Street in Salt Lake City on Friday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 6:30 p.m. A celebration of her life follows the burial.

- Alan Smason

 

Some Personal Reflections
From Barbara’s Colleagues

Her affect on Utah theater was significant, said playwright Julie Jensen. “Her life was an inspiration. As a reviewer and advocate for playwrights, new plays, and good work, her contribution to the Salt Lake City arts scene was large, deep, wide and incomparably important. Her writing was always informed, incisive, and sometimes even inspiring. There was never a person with a more important voice, fresher ideas, or more solid sense of the theatre. That we will miss her is an understatement. She is irreplaceable in every sense.”

Russell Warne, who wrote eloquently about how she took him under her wing, said on a broader canvas, “I will always remember Barbara Bannon as the matriarch of arts journalism and criticism in Utah. When she was forced into retirement from the Salt Lake Tribune, it was a devastating blow to the arts in Utah. Barbara believed in the arts and their power to enrich the lives of all people. She wanted to like every show she attended, and that hope for a good experience taught me how to approach plays that I review. Barbara leaves a heritage of appreciation for the arts that I will work to keep alive for many years. She had high standards for thinking and writing about the arts that I will strive to live up to.”

In an organization known for its socially-awkward and shy members, Bannon had a nurturing ability to make newcomers and old friends feel welcome appreciated, greeting many of us with hugs. Scores of colleagues expressed their gratitude in their tributes.

“I am glad I was able to give her gentle hugs at our meeting in Spring Green,” wrote Martha Wade Steketee. “Her quiet wit and gentle corralling of our boisterous barely containable critic souls is already missed.”

Lynn Rosen added, “She was truly a rudder of not only criticism at large, but of the ATCA organization as a whole. That “she will be missed” only exhibits a paucity of words to express the enormous cavern left in her wake.

“We have lost our ever so gentle “Grandma Bear” of ATCA,” wrote Jack Lyons. “Barbara was beloved and a quiet force for following the rules of ‘engagement’ when it came to creating sense amid chaos and hyper insanity, when writers and critic’s egos collided. She was a rock of an ATCA members who went above and beyond for the organization. We were so lucky to have her as long as we did.”