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
Jun142012

PLAYWRIGHT TAMMY RYAN WINS $10,000 FRANCESCA PRIMUS PRIZE FOR 2012; DOMINIQUE MORRISEAU ALSO HONORED

Chicago, June 14, 2012The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual conference today that playwright Tammy Ryan has Playwright Tammy Ryan won the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods. She receives $10,000, a wall plaque and a chance to be celebrated 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 ...

Thursday
Jun142012

Chicago schedule, Day 3

June 15, Friday
     - 9:30AM, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Skyline Room (6th floor), continental breakfast.
     - 10:15AM-11AM, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, welcome from artistic director Barbara Gaines and executive director Criss Henderson; presentation of Osborne and Primus awards to playwrights Darren Canady and Caridad Svich.
    
- 11AM-Noon, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Perspectives in Criticism: Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout discusses The Power of Enthusiasm.
     - 1:45PM-3:15PM, “Diversity at the Top,” panel discussion, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, with artistic directors Chay Yew (Victory Gardens), Bonnie Metzgar (About Face) and Lili-Anne Brown (Bailiwick Chicago).
     - 3:30PM-5:00PM, “The Permanent Avant-Garde,” panel discussion, Theater Wit, with representatives of the Curious Theatre Branch, the Neo-Futurists and Theater Oobleck.
     - 5PM-7PM, dinner on your own at one of the many casual and modestly-priced Belmont Avenue restaurants, with Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, deep-dish pizza and American cuisines among the options … and a Vienna Pure Beef hot dog stand!
     - 7:30PM, selection of Off-Loop shows by three different theatre companies in the Theater Wit performance spaces.
     - 10PM-?, late-night options for comedy, magic and clubs.

Thursday
Jun142012

Chicago schedule, day 2 (post-'Iceman')

Day 1 featured a reception with the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs (this is not your average city government) and an Iceman Cometh marathon, just the right way to test our mettle. Here’s Day 2:

June 14, Thursday
     * Arrivals contune at conference hotels.
     * Continental breakfast and General Membership Meeting, 9AM-Noon, Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Avenue, 20th Floor.
     * 1:30PM My Kind of Town (world premiere), TimeLine Theatre Co., 615 W. Wellington.
     * 5PM, Black Ensemble Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street, dinner.
     * 7:30PM, The Marvin Gaye Story: Don’t Talk About My Father Because God Is My Friend, Black Ensemble Cultural Center.
     * 7:30PM, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me taping, Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn Street.

Wednesday
Jun132012

Welcome to Chicago, bright and brawny!

That’s what Chicago felt like Tuesday, with or without the big shoulders, with five days of plays and old friends ahead at the 2012 ATCA annual conference.

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.SCHEDULE, Day 1, Wednesday, June 13
     
* Executive Committee meets, 10AM-3PM, Club Quarters Hotel.
     * Arrivals, members and guests at Conference hotels; free time.
     * Some leisure options: 11AM-1:30PM, open rehearsal of Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park (free); 12:15PM-1PM, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert (chamber music), Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. (free).
     * 5PM-6:20PM, Opening Reception, Harris Theater Roof Garden, 205 E. Randolph Street, Millennium Park. BE PROMPT!  Hosted by Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner, City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; we must leave at 6:20PM for the Goodman Theatre.
     * 7PM, The Iceman Cometh, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn Street (and yes, it gets out just before midnight!) … some of the faint of heart have chosen other options.

Friday
Jun082012

Final, updated schedule for ATCA Chicago 2012

Read the final, completed schedule below or click here to view a pdf printable version.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May272012

More on Chicago (June 13-17); still time to register

“NATO has left the building and Chicago is still intact.” So says Jonathan Abarbanel, chair of ATCA’s Chicago conference, June 13-17. Recent schedule additions include a Soul Food dinner courtesy of brand-new $19 million Black Ensemble Cultural Center, followed by the Ensemble’s latest musical biography, “The Marvin Gaye Story.” Cultural Commissioner Michelle T. Boone hosts an opening reception in the roof garden of the Harris Theater at Millennium Park, catered by Phil Stefani & Associates, one of Chicago’s celebrated restaurateurs. And at the Water Tower Pumping Station, we’ll see Lookingglass Theatre Company in the premiere of “Eastland,” about the worst maritime disaster in Great Lakes history.

For those not yet registered, there’s still time: info here. Registered or not, read on …

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May272012

Foundation ATCA president and ' Best Plays' editor Jenkins takes on chair at U. of Illinois

Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, editor of Best Plays, Jeffrey Eric Jenkinsformer ATCA chair, president of Foundation ATCA and chair of our international committee, is the new Head of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May212012

ATCA responds to S.F. Bay Area critics' concerns 

Jay Handelman, excom chair, has written member John McMullen about the recent request from eight S.F. Bay Area theaters for page view stats for online reviewers (scroll down two items for the original letter). Handelman points out that no theater owes any critic a free ticket, but that all theaters, like ATCA, share the mission “to ensure that the debate and conversation about theater continues to grow through as many critical voices as possible to stimulate readers, theaters and audiences.” For the full letter:

Click to read more ...

Monday
May212012

Meanwhile, debate elsewhere about theater reviews

We’ll have ATCA’s response to the SF Bay Area critics’ concern shortly, but in the meantime, if you need something to distract you from your daily rounds, there are these two discussions going on “Howl Round: A Journal of the Theater Commons”: “What do we actually want from a theater review” and “The Gamble of Being Reviewed.”

Saturday
May192012

S.F. Bay-area theaters target online critics

Press representatives for nine prominent San Francisco Bay-area theaters have just asked what they call “citizen journalists” (online theater critics and/or bloggers) to supply statistics on web traffic, “to demonstrate to our employers that the press passes we issue deliver a meaningful return on investment” – i.e., to help decide who should receive free reviewers’ tickets. The communication urges: “Please don’t fret about this! The report you send will not automatically qualify or disqualify you for attendance at any theater. Each of our companies retains the right to set its own policies with regard to press passes … .”

The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle is studying a possible response. The ATCA executive committee will have its own response very shortly. Note ATCA’s own criteria for membership, which are relevant to this debate. The letter from the press reps follows …

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May162012

Chicago Conference adds another star, Simon Callow

Distinguished actor Simon Callow, CBE, will meet with ATCA members and guests and answer Simon Callow questions in “A Conversation with Simon Callow” on Saturday, June 16. Callow is best-known to American audiences for his film work (Amadeus, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love) and his occasional TV appearances on Doctor Who. But in England he’s known as a stage actor, director and sometimes singer who has a one-man show, Being Shakespeare, and who’s directed opera and written extensively on theatre and literary history. He will be in Chicago to perform as Beethoven in two concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Scroll down for Conference details.)

Wednesday
May162012

Chicago Conference hotel blocs closing; late-night choices added

Our room blocs at Club Quarters and Red Roof Inn officially closed May 15, but the hotels agreed to hold a few rooms each for late-arriving registrations. If you plan to attend the Chicago Conference, it is ESSENTIAL that you notify Jonathan Abarbanel of your hotel choice ASAP, even if you have not yet mailed your registration form and check. Note that we now are in the late registration period, with ATCA members at $145 and non-members at $165.
For night-owls, we will offer a limited number of tickets to Friday and Saturday late-night attractions, among them magician Dennis Watkins’s intimate show at The Palmer House and The Second City’s 100th revue. Most tickets will be offered first-come, first-served at the opening General Membership meeting. Conference info here (includes registration form link).

Tuesday
May152012

Caridad Svich (Primus Prize) and Darren Canady (Osborn Award) to attend ATCA/Chicago

Caridad Svich Svich and Canady, winners of the 2011 Primus Darren Canadyand 2012 Osborn, respectively, have already received their checks. But they will join us Friday, June 15, for us to applaud their achievements — and they will be with us for much of the Chicago conference, for us to enjoy their company.

Svich has been especially busy lately, so …

Click to read more ...

Monday
May142012

ATCA meets 'Iceman' in Chicago 

“No matter how far you have to go to get there, the place to be right now is Chicago, where Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy are starring in Robert Falls’ Goodman Theatre revival of The Iceman Cometh.”
Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal. Teachout is the Perspectives in Criticism speaker at ATCA’s Chicago conference, June 13-17 — where we’ll also see this Iceman Cometh. Conference info here.

Wednesday
May092012

ATCA Chicago 2012: full schedule available; hotel and early registration deadlines loom

The reduced early registration rate for the Chicago Annual Conference, June 13-17, ends this Friday (May 11 post-marked). After Friday, registration will be $145 for ATCA members and $165 for guests.

Rooms are still available at the Red Roof Inn and Club Quarters, which offer special ATCA rates June 12-18 (Tuesday through Sunday nights). BUT: cut-off for rooms is May 15 (next Tuesday). Unbooked rooms will be released and we will not be able to offer the Conference rate.

Please SEND YOUR CONFERENCE REGISTRATION ASAP (Download PDF Registration packet. Mail form with check). You book the Red Roof Inn yourself by calling the hotel in Chicago. For Club Quarters you must send your room request to Jonathan Abarbanel (Conference chair) who will submit it to CQ as part of a members-only group booking.

Full schedule follows.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May022012

Regional Theater Tony® Award goes to Shakespeare Theatre Company

Based on ATCA’s recommendation as determined by a balloting procedure guided by Chris Jones, the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C. will receive the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, which honors a non-profit, professional regional theatre that has displayed a continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally. Artistic director Michael Kahn will accept the award during the Tony Awards ceremony on June 10. For that company, read more here. And read here for an honor roll of previous winners plus a snapshot history of the regional theater award, which began in 1976 with an ATCA initiative.

Monday
Apr232012

Outer Critics Circle announces nominations

Nice Work If You Can Get It leads with 9 nominations. See the full list here. Winners in 23 categories will be announced May 14, with the awards given May 24.

Saturday
Apr212012

Nominations for 30th Elliot Norton Awards announced by Boston Theater Critics Association

Elliot NortonNominations in 24 categories are selected by the 11-member Boston group. Named for the ATCA co-founder, who lived to be 100, the awards will be presented May 21, including a special tribute to Tommy Tune. See the full list here (note link to fuller press release).

Thursday
Apr192012

Chicago ATCA Conference to feature Lane & Dennehy, plus Teachout

The Goodman Theatre’s “The Iceman Cometh” with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy will be part of ATCA Chicago 2012 (June 13-17), and Terry Teachout (Wall Street Journal) will deliver the Perspectives in Criticism talk. There’s much more, and more to be announced, but why wait? For registration info, scroll down or click here.

Tuesday
Apr172012

2012 Pulitzers for drama, criticism

Quiara Alegría HudesDRAMA: Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes.          Finalists: Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz and Sons of the Prophet by Stephen Karam.

CRITICISM: Wesley Morris (Boston Globe, film). Finalists: Philip Kennicott (Washington Post, cultural criticism) and Tobi Tobias (ArtsJournal.com, dance).

Read Hudes’ and Morris’ citations here.

NOTE that it is now 34 years since a theater critic has won the criticism award, although four have been finalists. See some details, posted here last year.