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 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.

 

SAVE THE DATE

ATCA/National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, July 31-August 4 (details on this page; scroll down and click links).

ATCA in New York City, Nov. 1-3, including professional panels, plenty of plays and the traditional brunch with the stars at Sardi’s. Watch for info.


 

 

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.

SHARON EBERSON, Pittsburgh: The theater critic and pop culture writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette came in second in the Pennsylvania News Association’s 2019 Keystone Press Awards in the new category, Diversity, for a series of theater-related stories (e.g., undeniably offensive classics; artists’ response to Tree of Life shootings; and Denzel Washington raising $5 million for August Wilson House). She and the first-place winner, PG classical music critic Jeremy Reynolds, are both alumni of the O’Neill Center’s National Critics Institute. (April 16 UPDATE)


NEW MEMBERS: For four weeks in a row, we welcomed a new member (and there may be more when ATCA UPDATE resumes later this month). Welcome Ramona Harper, Steve Capra, Kim Campbell and Jack Gohn. Read more about them here.

STUART BROWN, West Hartford, CT. Stuart has just launched  a 24/7 online Broadway music radio station, “Sounds of Broadway” (www.SoundsofBroadway.com), which offers wide-ranging music from the Off-Broadway, Broadway, and London stages. Thousands of songs from hundreds of cast recordings are in rotation, with dozens of new shows being added weekly. (March 26 UPDATE)

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. 

 

 

George Jean Nathan Award

The Nathan is the highest American award for theater criticism — the Pulitzer for Criticism ranks higher, but it rarely goes to a theater critic. Cornell University’s Department of English, which administers the award for excellence in dramatic criticism endowed by Cornell alumnus, the late George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), has announced two recipients for 2019: the University of Chicago’s John H. Muse and arts journalist Helen Shaw.

Muze, author of Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time, is assistant professor of English and the director of Chicago’s Graduate Studies in Theater and Performance Studies.

Shaw, who writes for 4Columns, ArtForum and Art in America has been theater critic for Time Out New York for 14 years. She also teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a nominator or voter for the Drama Desk, the Lucille Lortel and the Hewes Design awards and is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle. 

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

Saturday
Apr062019

Lauren Yee wins Steinberg/ATCA Award for "Cambodian Rock Band"

Cambodian Rock Band” by Lauren Yee has been named the winner of 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 2018. Presented April 6 at the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the award carries a $25,000 prize. 

“Cambodian Rock Band” had its world premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California. Previously, Yee won ATCA’s Francesca Primus Award in 2016 for her play “in a word.”

Two citations, with prizes of $7,500 each, were awarded to Noah Haidlefor his play “Birthday Candles” and to Jen Silverman for her play “Witch.”

Adjudicators on the ATCA New Plays Committee had these comments to make about “Cambodian Rock Band.” It offers “a very involving story about war, selfishness, atrocity, betrayal, revenge, retribution, and guilt-laden survival.” “The notion of exploring the Cambodian holocaust through contemporary investigation, past survivor memories, and rock and roll is absolutely inspired, and to execute it with such unexpected humor and supple time shifts is a real accomplishment.” “It’s refreshing to see a playwright move so deftly between three eras. The transitions felt seamless.” “This play felt at once fresh and deeply grounded in history.”

The ATCA adjudicators assessed that “Birthday Candles,” which chronicles a woman’s life while she makes an onstage cake, “somehow bakes up the simple and the cosmic into a profound experience.” “Far from a gimmick play. It’s a beautiful one that walks a fine line that stays specific while occupying the universal.”  Birthday Candles” had its world premiere at Detroit Public Theatre.

According to panelists, “Witch” is “a beautifully balanced play” centered on “a silver-tongued Devil, and a gutsy unpopular woman with a great head on her shoulders.” “I’ve never seen a ‘deal with the devil’ concept blow away my expectations the way this one did.” “Witch” had its world premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois.

At $40,000, the Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind. ATCA began honoring new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City in 1977. Plays receiving a production in New York City during the award cycle are not eligible for consideration. The Steinberg/ATCA award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust since 2000.

 “Short of having an unlimited travel account, there’s no better way to get a sense of the vibrancy of theater across America than serving on the Steinberg judging panel,” said committee chair Lou Harry. “Once again, the wealth of offerings prompted fierce, thoughtful debate leading not only to a set of deserving honorees but also to a renewed hope for the future of American theater. Thanks to the Steinbergs, these plays will have extra light shining on them.”

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, Moises Kaufman, Craig Lucas, and Robert Schenkkan. Last year’s honoree was The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson. Click here for a full list of previous winners and finalists.

This year’s six finalists included the three awardees andDownstateby Bruce Norris (premiered atSteppenwolf Theatre in Chicago), Lettieby Boo Killebrew(Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago), and Plainclothesby Spenser Davis (Broken Nose Theatre, also in Chicago, recently announced as winner of ATCA’s Osborn Award.

The winner, citation winners and other finalists were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country.  They were evaluated by a committee of theater critics, led by Lou Harry of louharry.com and the podcast “Lou Harry Gets Real.” Other participants included Nancy Bishop (Chicago), Lindsay Christians (Madison, WI), Mike Fischer (Milwaukee), Amanda Finn (Chicago), Melissa Hall (Indianapolis), Pam Harbaugh (Indialantic, FL), Mark Lowry (Dallas), Jonathan Mandell (New York), Julius Novick (New York), Marjorie Oberlander (New York), Kathryn Osenlund (Philadelphia), Wendy Parker (Midlothian, VA), Wendy Rosenfield (Philadelphia), Martha Wade Steketee (New York), Perry Tannenbaum (Charlotte, NC) and Bob Verini (Boston).

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 public awareness of the role of theatre critics and to raise critical standards within the profession. It is the only national association of professional theater critics, with over two hundred members working in print, broadcast, and online media. ATCA is a section of the International Association of Theatre Critics / Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (IATC-AICT), a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.
Other playwriting awards presented by ATCA include:  

* The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, honoring emerging playwrights.

* The Francesca Primus Prize, bestowing an annual $10,000 award funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, to honor outstanding contributions to the American theatre by female artists who have not yet achieved national prominence. 

Additionally, ATCA members recommend candidates for the Tony Award for Regional Theatre presented annually by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League, and also vote on the annual inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.

CONTACTS:

Lou Harry, ATCA New Plays Chair, louharrywriter@gmail.com

Wm. F. Hirschman, ATCA Chair, atcachair@americantheatrecritics.org