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.

 

COMING SOON!

Our next event is ATCA-NY18, a member gathering in New York happening November  2 - 4, 2018. Details and registration information is available here. Join us!


 

 

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

Saturday
May042013

Registration open for ATCA/2013 conference at CATF, Shepherdstown, W.V.

Check out the new conference brochure (download pdf).

Five plays, panels, speakers, dinners, a host of historical sites and more, plus transport, etc.

THE AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE, July 17-21 at the CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL IN HISTORIC SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.V.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 The venue: The theaters of Shepherd University.

 The dates: Wednesday, July 17 to Saturday, July 21, 2013.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr222013

NCI/O'Neill invites applications to 2013 'critic's boot camp'

The National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center in Formerly the Instant Theatre, now named after Edith Oliver.Waterford, Conn-ecticut, seeks critic fellows for its 2013 program, June 29-July 15. (NOTE that critic fellows can be young or old, experienced or novice.) Director Dan Sullivan (long-time theater critic at L.A. Times and Minneapolis Tribune) and associate director Mark Charney invite applications. Read on. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr072013

Robert Schenkkan wins 2013 Steinberg/ATCA Award, nation's largest 

(added much later) — Video clips of $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards at the 37th Humana Festival: Jim Steinberg of the Steinberg Charitable Trust; presentations by Bill Hirschman to winner Robert Schenkkan (“All the Way”) and citation winners Johnna Adams (“Gideon’s Knot”) and Lucas Hnath (“Death Tax”)


April 6, 2013— At tonight’s Humana Festival of New Plays,Robert Schenkkan ATCA named Robert Schenkkan’s meditation on power and pragmatism, All The Way, the recipient of the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing a script that premiered outside New York City during 2012. Schenkkan’s play about Lyndon Johnson’s dogged campaign to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 received the top award of $25,000.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Lucas Hnath for Death Tax and Johnna Adams for Gidion’s Knot. At a total of $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award focusing on regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr062013

HowlRound week on criticism

For HowlRound’s week on criticism, go here. Some of the contributions:
Wendy Rosenfield on really wanting to be a critic and what criticism’s for, here.
Jason Zinoman on the critic’s passion, here.
Rob Weinert-Kendt on the personal drive to criticism, here.
John Moore on the economics of reviewing as newspapers abandon the field, here.

Friday
Apr052013

Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and two Citations to be announced this Saturday at Humana Festival

On April 6 at Actors Theatre, during the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays, the evening show in the Pamela Brown Auditorium will be preceded by the announcement of the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered outside New York City during 2012 — the nation’s biggest such awards ($25,000, $7,500 and $7,500). The finalists are Johnna Adams, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Mia McCullough, Dan O’Neil and Robert Schenkkan. Stay tuned. (Click here for more details.)

Saturday
Mar232013

Tammy Ryan accepts Primus Prize

Friday night at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, playwright Tammy Ryan accepted the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize and shared a few thoughts on the value of prizes and critics.

“One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t control what other people think. You only control what you do and if you’re a writer, what and how you write. But what people think often comes into play on whether or not someone gets to participate in the American Theater. Someone has to say yes to produce your play, give you a grant or a prize.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar202013

ATCA gathers in Indianapolis

ATCA’s annual mini-conference brings several dozen of us to the mid-west this weekend, March 21-24, just in time for spring. Reports of the festivities and art will follow.

Tuesday
Mar192013

Six finalists named for Steinberg/ATCA, nation's largest new play award

ATCA has selected six finalists for 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 2012. 

The six are Johnna Adams, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Mia McCullough, Dan O’Neil and Robert Schenkkan (for the scripts specifically honored, see below). The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 6 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award of its kind.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar192013

Keri Healey wins 2013 Osborn Award

Keri Healey has won its 2013 Keri HealeyM. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award, give by ATCA each year to recognize the work of an emerging playwright who has not yet achieved national stature. The award specifically recognizes Healey’s play, Torso, which premiered in March 2012 at Printer’s Devil Theater in Seattle, directed by David Bennett. The award will be presented in April at the Humana New Plays Festival at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. Last year’s Osborn Award went to Darren Canady for Brothers of the Dust.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar052013

Critics in controversy

In the Winter 2013 Nieman Reports, in a collection of essays titled “Critical Condition,” John Lahr (former New Yorker drama critic) lambastes American theater critics in general and a couple of well-known ones in particular (but not by name). Under the heading “The Illumination Business,” he says, in part:

“The reviewer proclaims his ignorance, then blithely practices it. His chirpy tone is the voice not of a critic but of a ‘cricket’ … . The writer makes noise but not meaning. He’s full of energy but not information… . His article is not criticism; it’s bluffing.” Later, Lahr adds, “A drama critic has a historical and descriptive function; his job is to look at and look after the theater; a reviewer’s job is to look after the audience.”

One terse response has come from Charles McNulty (LA Times) on Facebook: “I always thought [Lahr] was part of the problem. His reviews rarely provided in-depth analysis of a production… . I lost all confidence in Lahr’s critical integrity. I would read his reviews and see his dinner parties.” If you are on Facebook, you can also see piling-on comments by Jason Zinoman (NY Times) and others.

But the best place to read McNulty’s comment is in George Hunka’s online journal, “Superfluities Redux,” where on March 3 (“John Lahr v. Charles McNulty: Round 1”) he discusses Lahr’s charges. As is often the case, the comments there add some substance and lots of fun. Hunka returns to the subject the next day with “A Modest Proposal,” which attracts comments of its own.

And the debate (brawl?) goes on.

Thursday
Feb212013

Regional Theater Tony Award: deadline March 1

The deadline for ATCA members to propose a theater for the Regional Theater Tony Award has been extended to March 1. Contact Chris Jones.

Saturday
Feb162013

Deadline March 15 for $10,000 Primus Prize for an emerging woman theater artist

The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging woman theater artist who has not yet achieved national prominence. The prize is made possible through the generosity of the

Francesca Ronnie PrimusFrancesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, which honors the writer, critic, performer and cherished ATCA member who died at 42 in 1992. 

Historically the award has been given to an outstanding woman playwright, but the committee also considers significant directors or artistic directors. The Primus Prize operates on an open submission basis—an applicant may submit herself or be nominated by another individual or organization. Recent winners have included Tammy Ryan, Caridad Svich, Michele Lowe and Victoria Stewart; before them, Lynn Nottage and Melanie Marnich.

For full information on criteria and method of submission, click here.

Friday
Feb152013

Just one month to go to ATCA in Indianapolis, March 21-24

More to the point, the deadline to get the ATCA rate at the brand new Alexander Hotel is just ahead, Feb. 19.

The conference fee of $99 for members, $135 for guests, includes events, lunches, Saturday dinner, receptions, and panels. Special $150 fee for non-members who join, includes one year of dues.

See below for the full schedule, including signup procedure. Or go directly to register here on our events page

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb092013

Practical criticism: "theater" or "theatre"?

Anthony Chase surveys the history (click here) of the great divide and, along with just about every other authority (AP style, for one), comes down firmly for the American form, “theater.” You don’t spell it “programme,” do you? Or “shoppe”? (NOTE: The ATCA site’s style is “theater” unless it’s a proper name that spells it, for whatever reason, “theatre” — like our own name. ATCA’s founder, Henry Hewes, used “re” in our name because he thought that was preferred by theater people, and critics are theater people themselves.)

Wednesday
Feb062013

Theater Hall of Fame ceremony: what they had to say

Inductee Sir Trevor Nunn walked around, star struck, looking up at the walls encrusted with names in raised gold Sam Waterston and family members (Aubrey Ruben photo)letters. Sam Waterston accepted induction by saying, “For me, from the start, the theater [as opposed to TV] has always been ‘it.’ … This honor is, as I take it, for sticking to it.” Kristine Nielsen, veteran of many Christopher Durang plays, inducted the absent playwright (laid low by an accident just suffered performing at Yale) with a catalog of all the bitchy, depressive, psychotic and wildly Playwrights Sara Ruhl (left) and Paula Vogel (Aubrey Ruben photo) funny characters he’s given her to play. And in posthumously inducting Martin Pakledinaz, fellow costume designer Susan Hilferty remembered him “at the flea markets, on his bicycle racing through New York.”  

For the fullest available account of the evening, click here.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb022013

Regional Theater Tony

The call is out to ATCA members to propose theaters to honor. Contact Chris Jones. Deadline Feb. 23.

Wednesday
Jan302013

Double Play: 2011, 2012 Hewes Design Awards

Two years of the Henry Hewes Design Awards, unique in taking into consideration all productions in New York’s five boroughs, whether on Broadway, Off or Off-Off, were presented on Monday, Jan. 28, at a luncheon in the midtown theater district. Honored for 2011 were John Lee Beatty, Jeff Croiter, William Ivey Long, David Rockwell, John Batwin and Robin Doe; for 2012, David Korins, Brian MacDevitt, Gregg Barnes and Daniel Kluger. The event was emceed by HHDA committee chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins; attending were Hewes’ widow, Jane, and two of their sons, Tucker and Havelock.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan272013

Hall of Fame induction tomorrow

The class of 2012, to be inducted tomorrow (Monday) at the Gershwin Theater, is Andre Bishop, Betty Buckley, Christopher Durang, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, Paula Vogel, Sam Waterston and the late Martin Pakledinaz. The Theater Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit organization founded in New York in 1971. ATCA members are just the bulk of the electorate. (More details here.) We’ll post a full report later this week.

Wednesday
Jan162013

ATCA gathers in Indy, March 21-24

HAVE WE GOT A DEAL FOR YOU!!

ATCA will gather in March for the first time in Indianapolis, and for good reason. Look what we have to offer. The $99 weekend features:

* Concert & chat with Michael Feinstein and Barbara Cook
* Tour of Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Archives
* Mainstage Equity productions of Indiana Repertory Theatre’s “The Whipping Man,” The Phoenix Theatre’s “The Lyons,” and Beef & Boards’ “9-to-5.” Plus a sample performance of Dance Kaleidoscope’s “Piaf”
Midwest Fringe Festivals panel and performances
* Reading of “Happy Birthday Wanda June” at Vonnegut Library
* Panels at Indiana History Center’s Cole Porter room, dinner show by Actors Theatre of Indiana and drinks and songs around Hoagy Carmichael’s piano at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club
* Plus much more

All this for just $99 for members. $135 for guests. Conference fee includes events, lunches, Saturday dinner, receptions, and panels. Special $150 fee for non-members who join, includes one year of dues.

Click below for much more, including signup procedure and detailed schedule. Or go directly to register here on our events page

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov272012

Seeking member proposals for Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn

With just a month to go in 2012, the odds are you’ve already seen what you might propose for the playwriting awards ATCA adjudicates. (If you need a refresher, click to read about the $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award or $1,000 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award for an emerging playwright.) Submissions go to new play award chair Bill Hirschman at muckrayk@aol.com or 954-478-1123. For the criteria, limitations and process involved …  

Click to read more ...