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.




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


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 ...


Chicago Schedule, Day 4

Scroll down for news about 2013 conference in West Virginia and award of 2012 Primus Prize to Tammy Ryan. New ATCA members enjoy their first conference: left to right, Jack Lyons (Desert Local & The Sun Runner), Charles Giuliano (Berkshire Fine Arts), Michelle Solomon ( &, Martha Wade Steketee (, Lindsay Christians (The Capital Times), Roger Martin (, and Carole Kuhrt Brewer (
ALSO: read about this ATCA conference on the ATCA Blog (see link at top of page).

Schedule, Saturday, June 16
     Breakfast on your own.
     - 9:30AM-11:30AM, General Membership Meeting (ExCom nominations), MCA Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and 220 E. Chicago Avenue (actually at Pearson St., east of the Watertower).
     - 11:30AM-1PM, A Conversation with Simon Callow, MCA Stage.
     - 1PM-6:30PM FREE TIME, an opportunity to use your Passport to Chicago 2012, a gift from the  Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.
      - 6:30PM, pre-show reception, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Pumping Station, 821 N. Michigan Avenue at Pearson Street; wine and light finger-food (not a meal replacement); opportunity to view the massive, working waterworks pumps.
      - 7:30PM, world premiere performance of Eastland, Lookingglass Theatre Company
      - 10PM-?, late-night options.


ATCA heads to West Virginia in 2013

Chicago, June 14 — The American Theatre Critics Association voted today to hold its 2013 conference at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The festival will be offering two commissioned productions and several other new works and staged readings, to be announced later in the year. Festival leaders are working with ATCA to secure discounted hotel rooms and transportation from Washington Dulles International Airport, the closest, to help attending members.

The festival, which will stage its 100th production next season, operates for a month in July in theater spaces at Shepherd University. It is an area filled with natural beauty near many historic sites, including Harper’s Ferry and Antietnam Battlefield. Details will follow in the months ahead.



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 ...


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.


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.


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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.”