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.

 

 

 ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical repertory company in Spring Green, west of Madison, Wisconsin. ATCA members and guests can register here. 

There will be a 2018 New York Weekend Conference, Nov. 2 - 4, 2018. Details to follow.


 

 

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.
 

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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

Thursday
Jul252013

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Clara Hieronymus turns 100 today


July 25, 2013 — A founder of the Clara, a few years agoAmerican Theatre Critics Association, Clara was one of the legendary crew who gathered in 1974 beneath a spreading Copper Beech tree at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul252013

Critical controversy

Lily Janiak, a young critic on HowlRound, writes “Whose America? … Whose theater?,” a review/commentary on California Shakespeare Theatre, and starts a kerfuflle: read it here, with many combatants chiming in.

Tuesday
Jul232013

Panel on 'Monetizing Your Website'

To follow up the well-attended session at ATCA/CATF, Mark Lowry, Lorraine Treanor and Bill Hirschman (all here linked to their sites) put together a page on Mark’s site with tips for boosting your online presence.

Monday
Jul222013

Jason Zinoman, Perspectives in Criticism

Jason ZinomanYou had to be there, of course — which was one of his themes. This is all about live theater, after all, and in performance, Jason’s talk was animated and funny, full of impromptu sidebars. But for the basic speech, with its mix of autobiography and challenge …

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul212013

Concluding, and the Convention Hat

Shepherdstown, WV, July 21 — Yesterday was packed. In Schwarzwald Haus, one part of the extensive Bavarian Inn, where most ATCAns stayed.addition to the Perspectives in Criticism talk by Jason Zinoman and the reorganization of the ATCA executive committee and the Foundation board, we saw two more plays, including what is conclusively CATF’s strongest, H20 by Jane Martin. At night there was a farewell party, including nice words from producing director Ed Herendeen and board Looking up German St. in the center of town.president Jenny Ewing Allen and the presentation to them of a signed copy of Under the Copper Beach: Conversations with American Theatre Critics (a history of ATCA and theater criticism). Finally, conference chair Tim Treanor was presented with a necktie emblazoned withRawson (right) and Abarbanel. the WV Mountaineer/Daumier logo. 

That completed Tim’s formal conference wear, because earlier in the day there was the passing of the Convention Hat. It’s a sturdy job festooned with memorabilia ofTreanor (left) and Abarbanel conferences going back into the mists of ATCA history – 20 years, at least. First Chris Rawson, chair of the 2011 conference at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, passed it to Jonathan Abarbanel, chair of the 2012 Chicago conference. Then after a few pictures, Jonathan presented it to Tim, with whom it will rest until next year’s conference at the Humana Festival.

Saturday
Jul202013

ATCA elects new leadership

There were no barricades in the streets. With the sweetnessJonathan Abarbanel of demeanor for which theater critics are famed, the ATCA executive committee elected Jonathan Abarbanel (Chicago, duelingcritics.net) its new chair. Then the overlapping board of Jay HandelmanFoundation ATCA elected Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) its new president. More info on brief press release to come.  

Saturday
Jul202013

More conference notes

Shepherdstown, WV, July 20 — It’s hard for even a conscientious note-taker to keep up as the conference barrels along. Thursday there was a workshop on “Monetizing your Website,” with Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Mark Lowry and Lorraine Treanor. Yesterday we had a morning panel on “The Effect of Criticism on Zinoman, Pressly, Boland, Handelman, Butler, McKowenTheater,” moderated by critic Jason Zinoman (N.Y. Times), with CATF’s Kathleen Butler and Peggy McKowen, critics Nelson Pressley (Washington Post) and Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), and Maggie Boland (managing director, Signature Theatre).

Then today came what is in effect our keynote address, Jason Zinoman as the Perspectives in CriticismJason Zinoman talks: you had to be there, but the basic text is linked at left. speaker, the 32nd in a series of distinguished critics. It was a lively talk – autobiographical, smart, funny, challenging, optimistic – just what we envisioned when we invited Clive Barnes to start the series in 1992. (See list of speakers here.) But don’t take our word for it: read it here.

Aside from all this, there have been some interesting shows! But you can read about them best as our members write about them — for which, follow the twitter feeds on the top left of our home page.

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.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul192013

The Daumier goes to W.V.

By popular demand, here’s the unofficial logo of this year’s conference. The caricature on the left is of a mountaineer (like the WVU mascot); the one on the right is of Daumier’s caricature of a self-important critic (ATCA’s logo). Here, the two seem mutually unsure of each other, but ATCA and CATF are actually getting along very well: we are being taken care of well beyond our deserts.

Friday
Jul192013

Now for something completely different

Well, not completely different, since coffee is (some) critics’ best friend. So here’s a word on the three coffee shops in Shepherdstown, home of CATF, host of ATCA’s annual conference. I’m still high on the three-shot Wet Dog (one of the great coffee drinks anywhere), so until I come back down I can’t fairly report on the other two.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul182013

New members

Thursday, July 18, Shepherdstown, WV —
New ATCA members at the annual conference at CATFinclude (left to right), Bob Schneider, New Haven, CT; Russell Warne, Salt Lake City; Mark Dewey, Bluemont, VA; Erin Keane, Louisville; and Steven McKnight, Falls Church, VA. Missing: Alan Smason, New Orleans. Welcome aboard to all!

Thursday
Jul182013

Excom works all day; 'Modern Terrorism' at night

Wednesday evening, July 17 —
The ATCA executive committee put in a long day on reports, ATCA ExCom Idiscussion and debate, as these snapshots testify. The results will show up at membership meetings the next few days.

But tonight, the conference proper began with a welcoming dinner at Byrd Hall, ATCA ExCom IIShepherd University, with remarks especially by Suzanne Shipley,  president of Shepherd University, and Ed Herendeen of CATF. Then came a production of Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them by Jon Kern, directed by Ed Herendeen, featuring Mahira Kakkar, Omar Maskati, Kohler McKenzie and Royce Johnson. A lively audience discussion followed. Check your local media outlet for a review. (And if your local critic wasn’t here to review it, why not?)

Wednesday
Jul172013

ATCA/CATF gets underway

Wednesday noon, July 17 — Bill Hirschman sizes up the Yellow Brick Bank restaurant.
ATCA arrives in the very eastern panhandle of West Virginia for its annual meeting, hosted by the Contemporary American Theatre Festival (CATF). Tuesday night, early arrivals were treated to an accomplished reading of The Few, by Samuel D. Hunter, author of last season’s The Whale. Kudos to actors Alex Podulke, Cassie Beck and Omar Maskati.

Wednesday
Jul172013

O'Neill ATCA scholarships

Catching up: Recipients of ATCA financial scholarships forEugene, critic and friend (call it two critics) this year’s National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center were Paul Hyde of the Greenville (S.C.) News and Andrew McGibbon of West Milford, N.J., who has his own theater site, TheAndyGram.com. Congratulations. 

Saturday
Jul132013

ATCA packing its bags

ATCAns are preparing to gather next week at CATF, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, W.V. Watch for reports here.

Tuesday
Jul092013

ATCA's Daumier on new book

A new book on theater criticism, Refereeing the Muses by Bob Abelman and Creryl Kushner, has the good taste to use ATCA’s old friend on its cover. The 1865 caricature “Promenade of an Influential Critic” by Honore Daumier has served as ATCA’s official logo since 1974.

Appearances so dramatically notwithstanding, the book has no connection to ATCA. But some ATCAns have given it praise. It says it examines “the skill set associated with being a critic and arts journalist” and “explores the history, evolution, and future of the profession in the United States.” It may take a place on a critic’s (or teacher’s) bookshelf beside such standards as Irving Wardle’s 1992 Theatre Criticism.

Refereeing the Muses is published this month by Peter Lang Publishing.

Friday
Jul052013

New definition of Regional Theater Tony

After 38 years of recognizing outstanding regional theaters outside NYC with its Tony Award for a Regional Theater (see list), the Tony administration has changed the award going forward to include non-Broadway theaters within the city. According to its June 13, 2013 press release, “The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced that starting with the 2013-2014 season, New York-based theatre companies can now be eligible to receive the Regional Theatre Award.”

The award belongs exclusively to the Tonys, of course. However, it was begun in 1976 at the instigation of ATCA members, from the start ATCA was given the responsibility of making a recommendation, and it has always gone to the theater recommended by ATCA after its confidential selection process. In recognition of this, there was some informal advance discussion of the change between Tony and ATCA leaders, who expressed conflicting points of view, but ATCA was never approached formally.

The press release continues: “ ‘The Regional Theatre Award honors artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally,’ said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League & Heather Hitchens, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing.  ‘New York has some of the most prestigious and creative theatre groups in the country and we are thrilled to include the New York theatre community in this category.’ ”

There is a bit more information in the resulting New York Times article (take a look), but there is no mention there of how the awardee is chosen or of ATCA’s key function. A more comprehensive article appeared in Playbill, June 28. The ATCA executive committee expects discussion on this subject at the West Virginia conference, July 17-21, by which time there may be more instruction from the League and Wing on the new parameters for the award.

Saturday
Jun082013

Earlybird deadline June 8 for July conference

The registration page for the ATCA conference at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival now acknowledges the extended early bird registration rates of $180 for members and $200 for guests. The price goes up on Sunday to $200 (members) and $225 (guests). You can register online here or by sending a check to our administrator Barry Gaines at 12809 Northern Sky NE, Albuquerque NM 87111-8089.

(Scroll down for more details and handsome conference brochure.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun082013

O'Neill NCI scholarships awarded

Paul Hyde of the Greenville (S.C.) News and Andrew McGibbon of TheAndyGram.com have been awarded the scholships ATCA funds at the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May222013

Anthony Del Valle, Las Vegas critic

Las Vegas Review-Journal critic Anthony Del Valle, 60, passed away May 21. He co-chaired ATCA’s very successful 2007 Las Vegas conference. “He seemed to be friends with everyone.” Obituaries: Review-Journal; CityLife.