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, which can also be read at the Houston Chronicle and

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

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, 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, 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 She also writes for —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

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

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.

, 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, 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


New York Weekend Conference, November 3, 4 and 5, 2017. Details. 


San Francisco annual conference, 2017



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

2015 NYC Weekend Conference
Sherry Eaker & Ira Bilowit, chairs


2015 New Orleans Conference 
Alan Smason, chair 


2014 Weekend Conference
New York City

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

Indianapolis, Indiana
March 21-24, 2013
Lou Harry, Chair 


Chicago, June 13-17, 2012
Jonathan Abarbanel, Chair
See ATCA BLOG for short takes

Milwaukee Add-On
Anne Siegel, Chair
June 17-20, 2012


Colorado New Play Summit
Denver Center Theatre Company, Feb 10-12, 2012

Ashland, Oregon July 6-10, 2011
Chris Rawson, Chair 

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

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. 




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


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.)


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 ...


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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.


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.


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 ...


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.)


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 ...


Regional Theater Tony

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


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 ...


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.


ATCA gathers in Indy, March 21-24


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 ...


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 or 954-478-1123. For the criteria, limitations and process involved …  

Click to read more ...


Oskar Eustis, Theater Hall of Fame induction speech by Tony Kushner, Nov. 13, 2017

(Click here for an account of the full 2017 Hall of Fame induction of which this was a part; click here for reports on previous Hall of fame inductions back to 1998.)

I always scold Oskar for using superlatives when speaking in public. Oskar is maybe the most enthusiastic person I know, or rather I should say he’s the most enthusiastic serious person I know; what he loves he loves whole-heartedly, voraciously, all-consumingly – not in the sense of wanting to consume that which he loves but rather wanting to be consumed by it, in the sense of wanting to be ravished by what he loves; Oskar is available for ravishment.

He’s not a cheap date, he can’t be had for the price of a cocktail like a salted peanut! But he yearns to be swept off his feet, by a new play, a new musical, a song, a directorial moment, a night in the theater during which mysteries are deepened and/or illuminated and the world in which, in spite of his immensely ethical, scrupulously rational self, Oskar lives in a condition of voluptuous intellect and synthesizing, meaning-generating sensual delight.Oskar Eustis and Tony Kushner

He is, in other words, one of the great romantics, he is a miracle of rare device, a sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice, Oskar is in love with the world, the wicked and tragic and enduring and sometimes noble and splendid and beautiful intricately interwoven world. This is what makes time in Oskar’s company so electrifying, so exhilarating, occasionally so alarming: He is fully an inhabitant of the world, and he has made sufficient space inside himself for the world to inhabit, to inhere in him. Oskar is what Ezra Pound called “a serious character.”

And he has, as I said, serious enthusiasms, and as must be true of everyone who works in theater, who loves theater as much as Oskar loves it, he enjoys, from time to time, the dramatic effect of announcing superlatives, for nothing but superlatives can express the fullness of any given moment’s joy. I scold Oskar from time to time about using superlatives. The most lavish praise a public person can afford to employ is comparative praise, I tell him: only ever say that you think “no one is better than person X” & never say that “no one is as good as person X”, because person Y, person Z and persons A-W will hear what you’ve said and be offended. Sometimes Oskar remembers my advice, and sometimes he doesn’t.

Tonight, Oskar, I’m hoist by my own petard – a petard, by the way, is a smidgen of gunpowder, not, as I’d always assumed, some sort of early iteration of the leotard. Tonight you’re being inducted into the Theater Hall Of Fame, and if one isn’t allowed to bring forth and play with one’s superlatives on a night like this, then they never can be trotted out, and what’s the point of even having superlatives if they have to stay in the closet? I’ve already said you’re the most enthusiastic serious person I know, Oskar, and that’s a superlative. Here are some others:Laurie and Oskar Eustis

You’re the bravest man I know.

You’re the strongest man I know.

You take pleasure in responsibility, in shouldering communal burdens, more than anyone I know.

You take more pleasure than anyone I know in building things – plays, institutions, relationships.

You take more pleasure and often have more success than anyone I know at attempting to articulate in public why theater matters to the world, and why the world needs theater artists who want to matter to the world.

You’re married to Laurie Eustis, who’s a class of superlative unto herself.

You’re stepfather of Kyle Brown, another super superlative.

You’re my best friend.

I was going to say you’re the smartest man I know, Oskar, and very often you are, but smart is measurable only in context and circumstance, so there are no superlatives when it comes to measuring smart, and also sometimes you don’t agree with me, and I’ve had to take points off for that. But Oskar, you’re certainly one of the five smartest people I know, and your erudition, retention, critical capabilities and curiosity are among the world’s true wonders.

When they write the history of the theater of our time, Oskar, you’ll be at the center of it; because of the electrifying, tough-minded, social-minded productions you’ve directed; because of the great theatrical institutions that you’ve created and nurtured, whose cultural impact you’ve assiduously cultivated and curated; and more than anything else, I think, the playwrights who are indebted to you.

If the works of Suzan-Lori Parks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Rinne Groffe, Richard Nelson, Michael J. Friedman Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, to name only a few, survive - and we have reason to hope that if our species manages to survive the many dangers that threaten it, their work likely will survive along with it – since you supplied the fertile common ground for a great deal of what American theater has produced, the history of the theater of our time will look very much like the history of the theater of your time.

So as long as the Gershwin Theater stands, Oskar, your name will be emblazoned here, along with the names of so many illustrious others, at least until someone decides to repaint the lobby. If that happens, Oskar, I don’t worry that you’ll be bitter or despair. You do what you do not for fame, but for justice, love of the world and desire to help build the future, the city on the hill. I feel certain I can speak for the whole theater community, and I’m absolutely speaking for myself: Your life is a great blessing and a generative gift, comrade. More work, more life, long live the Revolution, on to the Midterms!

(For a view of the Eustis-Kushner friendship from the other side, and some background about how it originated and their collaboration on “Angels in America,” click here for a piece by Oskar Eustis — as told to Boris Kachka — in “Vulture,” which originally appeared in New York magazine.)


Lahr steps down at New Yorker

After 20 years, John Lahr is stepping down as chief theater critic for the New Yorker, where he won the George Jean Nathan Award in 1994 (he had previously won it in 1969 for reviews in the Evergreen Review and Village Voice). Living mainly in London, he had been reviewing only about half the time; his colleague, Hilton Als (who himself won the Nathan Award for New Yorker reviews in 2003), will now have the job to himself. More.


March 21-24, 2013: ATCA weekend conference in Indianapolis

Conference organizer Lou Harry bids us welcome to Indianapolis, “the home of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and the place that gave the world Kurt Vonnegut and David Letterman. Conference offerings will include the Midwest premiere of Nicky Silver’s “The Lyons” at the Phoenix Theatre, a performance of Lou Harry is at the Indianapolis Business Journal ( Lopez’s “The Whipping Man” at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, a trip to the new $118 million Center for the Performing Arts for a concert by Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein and a visit to Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Archives, plus lots more… .

Click to read more ...


Frankenstorm pause . . .

The storm has played havoc with ATCA’s Twitter/Facebook juggernaut, but we expect to be back in the saddle shortly. (NOTE: We were, and are.)