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 reviews Chicago theater for and for her own blog.

Lindsay Christians is a full-time arts and food writer for The Capitol Times in Madison, Wis., where she has written theater reviews 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.




“Regional Saturday Conference” in Cincinnati, March 9, 2018, with add-ons March 9-11. Full info here.
ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical rep company west of Madison, Wisconsin. More here, and more to come. 


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.

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.

ALAN SMASON, New Orleans, has launched a new website, seeks to post reviews from legitimate critics country-wide.

JOEL MARKOWITZ received a moving radio tribute Dec. 21.

RICK PENDER, Cincinnati, OH, has signed a contract to assemble The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia, a comprehensive reference anticipated to be completed in late 2019.

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.


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. 

Critics in the news

New York Magazine names Sarah Holdren to the slot of theater critic vacated by Jesse Green. She’s been a freelance theater director and Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard.

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).


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.

“You go wanting to fall in love with a production and that is so rare. I wanted to be smart and reasonable in my writing, to steer people towards the truth, and also had a lot of empathy for artists. I knew pretty soon formal criticism wasn’t for me.” — Eliza Bent, playwright and arts writer, American Theatre, TDF Stages, etc

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE

ATCA members: Send us material for the Members’ Milestones page.


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


ATCA welcomes International Association of Theater Critics to Windy City

Chicago, Oct. 11 — And that’s the news: ATCA welcomes the executive committee of the IATC, meeting now in the Windy City at the same time (but separate from) ATCA’s own executive committee. IATC elected representatives attending are Mark Brown (UK), Jean-Pierre Han (France), Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (USA), Yun-Cheol Kim (Korea), Ivan Mendenica (Serbia), Don Rubin (English Canada), Margareta Sorenson (Sweden), Akiko Tachiki (Japan), Michel Vais (French Canada) and Xian Zhang (China).


Philadelphia Inquirer sheds theater critic Howie Shapiro

The Philadelphia Inquirer, the leading paper in the country’s fifth largest city, which has helped nurture a vibrant theater scene (some 50 professional companies) and maintained a long heritage of regular Broadway coverage, has decided to do without a full-time theater writer/critic. On Oct. 1, its critic ofHowie Shapiro 10 years, Howie Shapiro, was reassigned to the paper’s South Jersey bureau. Whatever he was going to cover there is now moot, because after 42 years with the paper as an arts and travel editor and theater critic, Shapiro has just decided to take a buyout.

(For comments Shapiro sent to a critic colleague, click below and scroll to the end of this story.)

More than Shapiro are involved in what the Inquirer represents as reallocation of resources but many see as major cost- and coverage-cutting.

Click to read more ...


Eight announced for Theater Hall of Fame, class of 2012

Andre Bishop, Betty Buckley, Christopher Durang, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, Paula Vogel, Sam Waterston and the late Martin Pakledinaz form the 2012 class of the Theater Hall of Fame, announced yesterday by Hall producer, Terry Hodge Taylor. That’s a pair each of actors, directors and playwrights plus a producer and costume designer, chosen from a slate of 51 nominees by an electorate made up of the ATCA members and previously elected members of the Hall of Fame.

The 42nd annual induction ceremony will be held Jan. 28, 2013, at 7:30 PM in the North Rotunda of the Gershwin Theatre, where the names of Hall of Fame members are inscribed on the walls in raised gold letters. (For the fullest list of members, go to the Hall’s website,

Click to read more ...


Theater Hall of Fame deadline extended slightly

The balloting has gone slowly, and with a small electorate, every vote counts. The deadline for the ballots to arrive in New York has been extended to Monday, Sept. 17, 5 pm. If you mislaid your ballot, email Chris Rawson. This is one of the perks of membership. Vote now!


Hall of Fame Ballots due Sept. 15

Don’t miss your chance to vote. If you have questions or have misplaced your ballot, email Chris Rawson.


How (Not?) to Be a Critic

There’s been a spate of recent comments on criticism as chastisement and/or advertising (mainly of books, but we see the connections). For links to pieces by Richard Brody (, Jacob Silverman (, David Streitfield (, J. Robert Lennon ( and Dwight Garner (, click below. Here’s a teaser from Brody’s “How to Be a Critic”:

It’s as silly to deplore nasty criticism as it is to deplore snark or wit or sarcasm or just plain crankiness. It’s how we are—it’s how I am—and nastiness is as inseparable from criticism as it is from family life, from politics, from business, from the playground, and, for that matter, from art itself. One of the defining qualities of art is its implacability—its representation of violent and dangerous emotions, its ardor for and even embodiment of the negative, the destructive, the repugnant. Art is a place of maximal danger; it endangers the soul of the artist no less than the soul of the reader or viewer or listener. Exaltation comes at a price; sublimity, after all, involves a type of terror.

Click to read more ...


Bill Gale, back at the mic

Great news: former ATCA chair Bill Gale continues to recover from a two-week hospital stay which included a quadruple heart bypass operation and another to insert a pacemaker. For his take on it all (he calls it “Heartless”) … .

Click to read more ...


Jim Kilker, a friend to ATCA

James Anthony Kilker, husband of long-time ATCA member Marie Kilker, died Aug. 16, age 86, in Bradenton, FL. Jim was known to ATCA from the many conferences he attended and as co-host with Marie of ATCA members and guests at a tour of Paris for critics in November 1999.

Click to read more ...


Theatre Hall of Fame ballot is in your mail

Don’t miss this opportunity to vote — it’s a benefit of ATCA  membership. If you want to know more about the Hall of Fame, go to the Hall of Fame link under the Awards button on the ATCA website. If you have further questions, email one of the ATCA members on the Hall’s Executive Committee, Chris Rawson or Jeffrey Eric Jenkins. The deadline is Sept. 15. 


March 21-24, 2013 weekend conference set for home of theater, stock cars, satire and song

Organizer Lou Harry bids us welcome to Indianapolis: “Central Indiana is looking forward to welcoming you to 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  Lou Harry is at the Indianapolis Business Journal ( performance of Matthew 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 ...


Happy 99th, Clara! . . . plus a pitch for 'Under the Copper Beech'

Tennessee critic and ATCA co-founder Clara Hieronymus  just turned 99, occasioning a burst of congratulations from near and far. Tucked among them was a pitch for Under the Copper Beech: Conversa- tions with American Theater Critics (ed. Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, 2004), in which she and other pioneer regional critics Henry Hewes, Larry Devine, Ann Holmes, Elliot Norton, Jay Novick, Ernie Schier, Dan Sullivan, Otis Guernsey and Norman Nadel are interviewed by colleagues including Tish Dace, Jay Handelman, Damien Jaques, Sylvie Drake, Bill Gale, Jeffrey Sweet and Marianne Evett.
If you’re reading this, you should have a copy, and another to give a friend. Order them by sending $15 each, payable to Foundation ATCA, to Chris Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.


Theater Hall of Fame ballot coming in mid-August

The annual ballot for the Theater Hall of Fame, for which ATCA members contitute 2/3 of the electorate, will arrive in August and need to be returned by Sept. 15. If you want to familiarize yourself with the HF, look at our accounts of the annual induction celebrations (scroll down for individual years back to 1998) or, for a list of members, visit the HF website.


Stream of commentary on criticism: check in here to keep up!

Thanks to Wendy Rosenfield, the new ATCA website has a steady stream of Twitter links to commentary on criticism (@Theatre_Critics, orange boxes on the home page) and also links to ATCA member reviews and stories (@ATCA_Member, just below them). You should follow both, or just check in here frequently, using the Older Posts buttons to catch up. Some recent good stuff:

Anne Midgette (Washington Post) asks, “Does the web make criticism meaner?” Click here.

Arthur Brisbane, NYT Public Editor, writes, “WHEN critics criticize, there is light and there is friction. In my nearly two years as public editor, I’ve had a steady flow of reader complaints about The New York Times’s many critics.” For “The View from the Critic’s Seat,” Click here.

In a Huff Post column, “Does Criticizing Critics Cross a ‘Times’ Line?,” Howard Sherman (late of the Theater Wing), calls Brisbane’s column “a disappointment … it sets up a premise and then utterly fails to address it.” Click here.

For more, go to Position Papers and Criticism in Controversy, in the drop-down menu under Commentary, at the top of the page. We’ll try to keep these pages more current.


IATC publishes web journal, 'Critical Stages'

Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair of ATCA’s International Committee, sends word of the latest (sixth) edition of Critical Stages, the web journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). Go to the International Committee’s own web page or go direct to Critical Stages. Coming updates will include a report from the ATCA delegation (which Jenkins heads) to the IATC.


Another lament over the erosion of criticism

Maybe you missed the reference in the (excellent!) rush of ATCA tweets (those orange boxes up top on the left), so here it is again: the controversial Johann Hari defends criticism, most recently in Spin.


Jay Handelman re-elected ATCA chair by new executive committee

Laura Hayes’ logo for ATCA Chicago: ATCA’s satiric image of a self-satisified critic by Daumier takes over the famous spitting Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.At the Chicago conference, the ATCA membership elected Michael Howley and Tim Treanor to three-year executive committee terms (until 2015). Re-elected to a second term was Barry Gaines (until 2015). Continuing excom members are Jonathan Abarbanel (2013), Jay Handelman (2013), Brad Hathaway (2014), Pamela Harbaugh (2013), Edward Rubin (2014) and Wendy Rosenfield (2014). Celebrated for completing their second terms were Barbara Bannon and Bill Hirschman.

The new excom then re-elected Handelman chair, Abarbanel vice-chair, Hathaway treasurer and Bannon secretary (serving ex-officio). For committee chairs and others, go to Leadership & Committees under About ATCA, above.


Site changes coming; Chicago news continues

The Chicago conference produced plans for website changes, including ways to call attention to new content on internal pages and to members-only features. Most of this will have to wait a few weeks to allow for vacations and the inevitable post-conference exhaustion. But if you have changes to recommend, send us an email.

For news from the Chicago conference, scroll down.
For comments and discussion on the conference, including links to reviews, see the ATCA Blog (link above). Fresh comments and links continue to arrive.


Poetry and Ferocity, or the Dare of the Page

Chicago, June 15 — In response to being honored at the 2012 ATCA annual conference for winning the 2011 Francesca Primus Prize, playwright Caridad Svich delivered a poetic evocation of “the dare of the page.” She began with thanks to ATCA, the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, Isabel Allende “for her blessing to write my own version of The House of the Spirits for the stage, Repertorio Espanol in NYC for first commissioning and producing … [it], and Main Street Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre and Teatro Mori in Chile for subsequent development and production of my English, Spanish and bilingual versions of the text.”  Caridad Svich

Then she began:

Measures of change mark a writer’s life
The first dazzling dare on the page
Becomes in time
The hundredth or thousandth stroke of courage
On a screen, notebook, or discarded piece of paper.
If at first the dare is suitably bold, somewhat precocious
Or even brazenly arrogant,

Click to read more ...


Chicago schedule, final day

June 17, Sunday
     - 10AM-Noon, continental breakfast, final General Membership Meeting, Silk Road Rising, 77 W. Washington Street, lower level. NOTE: the Chicago Temple Building houses a church in which services will be going on as we meet; please enter quietly and take the stairs or elevator down to the lower level.
     - Noon, organizational meeting of new Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
     - Departures for Milwaukee for those who have selected the Milwaukee add-on.
     - Sunday matinee performances (generally 3PM or 4PM) for those who wish to see another Off-Loop show.


Terry Teachout delivers 20th anniversary Perspectives in Criticism address, 'The Power of Enthusiasm'

Chicago, June 15 — In a series extending back to 1992, Terry Teachout, Wall Terry TeachoutStreet Journal theater critic, delivered the Perspective in Criticism talk at the ATCA annual conference. Its success could be measured by the many conversations (and arguments) it occasioned. “Terry Teachout may be America’s Critic but so are we,” said ATCAn Charles Giuliano from the Berkshires.

Previous “Perspectives” speakers have included such well-known critics as Michael Finegold, Ernie Schier, Henry Hewes, Frank Rich, Dan Sullivan, Robert Brustein, Eric Bentley, and Jay Novick. Click here for a brief history of the series. Click below for Teachout’s full talk.

Click to read more ...