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. 



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


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 ...


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.


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 ...


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.


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.


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).


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.


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 (, 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.


Regional Theater Tony® Award ballots due . . .

… tomorrow, April 16. Contact Chris Jones with any questions.


(weekend glitch solved)

Thanks to those who reported the weekend misfunction of our web address, quickly fixed by consultant Leslie Torvik. Address questions about the site to ATCA chair Jay Handelman, excom media liaison Wendy Rosenfield or communications chair Chris Rawson.


Yussef El Guindi wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2012; Ken LaZebnik and A. Rey Pamatmat also cited

Yussef El GuindiATCA has named Yussef El Guindi’s Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, a play about immigration and assimilation, winner of the $25,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2012. The Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts that premiered professionally the previous year outside New York City.

Ken LaZebnik’s On the Spectrum and A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them received Steinberg/ATCA citations and

$7,500 each. Checks and commemorative plaques were presented to all three at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, March 31.

The award was created by ATCA in 1977 to recognize excellence in playwriting by honoring the best new plays not yet produced in New York City. Since 2000, it has been generously funded by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, making the $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA the largest national new play award of its kind.

Click to read more ...


World Theatre Day proclamation from IATC President

Tuesday was World Theatre Day, a celebration most likely largely ignored across the United States. But at the International Association of Theatre Critics’ 26th World Congress in Warsaw, it was a day for celebration.

Jay Handelman, ATCA Chair; Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair of ATCA’s International Committee and a member of the IATC Executive Committee, and ATCA Vice Chair Jonathan Abarbanel are representing ATCA and the United States at the World Congress which continues through March 30.

IATC President Yun-Cheol Kim read the statement during ceremonies acknowledging the day. Click link for that statement.

Click to read more ...


Playwright Darren Canady wins 2012 Osborn Award

March 28: ATCA announced today that Darren M. Canady has won its Darren Canady2012 M.Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright, recognizing his Brothers of the Dust, which premiered in May 2011 at Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago, directed by Daniel Bryant. The award will be presented at ATCA’s June conference in Chicago.

Click to read more ...


Will YOU be in Chicago June 13-17?

 (and in Milwaukee June 17-20?)

Chicago is this year’s site of ATCA’s Annual Conference (Photo by Danny K. Au)

 Here’s what to do NOW!
  1. RENEW your membership 
  2. Choose a HOTEL

(Download PDF Registration packet. Mail form with check)

Click to read more ...


Why settle for one chimney when you can visit Ten Chimneys

Registration is now available for the add-on trip to Milwaukee following our annual conference in Chicago. The dates are June 17-20. Anne Siegel is coordinating the trip. You can print out the attached registration form and mail it to the address on the forms with your registration fees, directly to Anne. The registration information also is heading your way via snail mail along with the Chicago registration materials. You can download the PDF registration materials and hotel information here

Click to read more ...


Longtime critic and ATCA member Joe Pollack dies

Joe Pollack, ATCA Member for Over 30 YearsIt is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of longtime St. Louis critic and ATCA member Joe Pollack on March 9.

According to an obituary on, he suffered either a heart attack or stroke. He was 81.

Joe was a member of ATCA for more than 30 years, served as a member of the ATCA executive committee and was a mentor to many of the younger (and experienced) critics in our organization.  He remained active in the organization, generally attending our annual conferences, most recently in Ashland, with his wife, Ann.

Joe spent more than two decades with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he worked as a theater and restaurant critic, before retiring in 1995. Since then, he regularly produced reviews for the public radio station KWMU and contributed stories and reviews to St. Louis Magazine and other outlets.

On a personal note, Joe was the first person I met at my first ATCA conference in Atlanta in 1988. We wound up eating together in the food court below our hotel, recognizing each other only through our name tags. He was always encouraging, supportive and helpful, funny and insightful.
We send our condolences to his wife, and children.
— Jay Handelman



ATCA Names Six Finalists for Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award

ATCA has selected six finalists for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2011. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented March 31 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.

The six finalists are: “Annapurna,” by Sharr White (Magic Theatre, San Francisco); “Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them,” by A. Rey Pamatmat (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville); “On The Spectrum,” by Ken LaZebnik (Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis); “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World,” by Yussef El Guindi (ACT Repertory in Seattle); “A Twist of Water,” by Caitlin Montanye Parrish (Route 66 Theatre in Chicago); “Water By The Spoonful,” by Quiara Alegria Hudes (Hartford Stage).

Click to read more ...


ATCA gathers in Denver for Colorado New Play Summit

By Jay Handelman, ATCA Chair

About two dozen ATCA members and their guests gathered Feb. 10-12 at the Denver Center Theatre Company for the seventh annual Colorado New Play Summit, a weekend collection of staged readings and two world premieres. Playwrights and industry professionals mixed with critics and eager patrons who filled the various theater venues for the readings of plays that touched on everything from homeless youths (Lisa Loomer’s “Homefree) to an imaginative play about future technology that will allow us to spend eternity with our favorite memories (Michael Mitnick’s “Ed, Downloaded”).

Among those at the festival, were: front row: Barry Gaines, Barbara Bannon, Sylvie Drake, Herb Simpson, Jay Handelman, David Lefkowitz, Juliet Wittman and Bill Hirschman, and back row, Jonathan Abarbanel, Brad Hathaway, Lynn Rosen, John Angell Grant, Wendy Rosenfield, Ed Rubin, Jim Volz and Marjorie Oberlander

Richard Dresser looked at how far our realities have been warped by television in “The Hand of God”: Lauren Feldman’s “Grace, or the Art of Climbing” uses rock climbing as a metaphor for human and emotional connections.  the theater also put a lot of resources into an elaborately staged reading of Jeffrey haddow and Neal Hampton’s new “Sense & Sensibility: The Musical,” which got standing ovations from audiences and a lot of buzz at the festival.

As usual, the Denver Center staff made our members feel welcome, setting up interviews and providing plenty of sustenance for the three-show days. Sylvie Drake, a former ATCA ExCom member and Director of Publications at the center, extended Artistic Director Kent Thompson’s open invitation to ATCA for future gatherings at the summit.

The world premieres were Lisa Loomer’s controversial “Two Things You don’t Talk About at Dinner,” set at a Passover seder with an array of guests debate Middle East politics, and Samuel D. Hunter’s well-received “The Whale” about a morbidly obese man who is eating himself to death and the people in his life. Both plays had been featured as staged readings in the 2011 festival.

Philadelphia critic and Excom member Wendy Rosenfield, with her husband, Richard Weiner, kept members updated on the festival via Twitter and Facebook postings.

The weekend included a late-night Playwright Slam, with 10 authors reading brief scenes from new works in a cabaret kind of environment with popcorn and beer being served.

During the weekend, the ATCA Executive Committee met to discuss issues involving the budget and membership, which you’ll be hearing more about soon. Now we focus on plans for our annual conference in Chicago, June 13-17, with a follow-up side trip to Milwaukee. Details to be posted soon.



Theater Hall of Fame inducts 8 with reminiscence, affection and laughter

Meryl Streep was a surprise last-minute addition, presenting her friend, costume designer Ann Roth. Ann RothShe joined the other presenters, Liza Minnelli, Brian Dennehy, Brian Murray, Jane Alexander, Donald Margulies and Phylicia Rashad, speaking respectively for inductees Ben Vereen, George White, Tyne Daly, Elliot Martin, Daniel Sullivan and Woodie King Jr.; the late Paul Sills was represented by his widow and colleague, Carol Sills. For a full report, follow this link.


Francesca Primus Prize submissions due March 15

The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female theater artist, one who has not yet achieved national prominence. Historically the award has been given to an outstanding female playwright, but the committee also considers other significant female theater artists, such as directors or artistic directors. For information, click here.