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

Nancy Bishop reviews Chicago theater for gapersblock.com and for her own blog.

Lindsay Christians writes theatre reviews at 77 Square; also arts blog On the Aisle; The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, Madison.

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.

Michael Grossberg  writes on theater, comedy and the arts in Theater Talk, for the Columbus Dispatch.

Melissa Hall writes theatre reviews for the blog Stage Write. She mainly attends Indianapolis events, but also covers other Midwestern venues when possible.

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 contributes to OnStage Journal and OnStage podcasts and reviews in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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.

 

 

San Francisco Annual Conference, June 15-18, 2017: The whole, mouth-watering experience is now available for your consideration. ATCA members click here! 

 

 

International

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 Theatre and State

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Critics in the news

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Jesse Green named NY Times “co-chief theater critic” with Ben Brantley, filling slot left empty by firing of Charles Isherwood. Read NYT announcement-justification-trumpeting here. Roundtable discussion of why this is a disappointment to many, here. Read substantial interview with Green, addressing all the issues, here.

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As others see us: Amanda Peet on being devastated by a NY Times review and going cold turkey on reviews thereafter, click here.

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Scroll down or click here for the Charles Isherwood imbroglio, and the followup flap over a NYT “Big River” review.

Martha Steketee’s accumulating interviews of critics for The Clyde Fitch Report (click for index):


 

      

The 2016 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.
 
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

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NYC weekend, 2016 (for reports and details, scroll down on 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

Wednesday
Jan262011

Theater Hall of Fame inducts 8 + 4

Jan. 27 — Monday saw eight new names join more than 400 Charles Strouse and Fritz WeaverothersCharles Strouse and Fritz Weaver in raised gold letters on the walls of the Gershwin Theatre, the 2010 class of the Theater Hall of Fame: actors Brian Dennehy, Linda  Linda LavinLavin and Fritz Weaver; director Michael Blakemore; playwright Caryl Churchill; music director Paul Gemignani; director-librettist James Lapine; and,posthumously, director-actor-playwright Joseph Chaikin. Presenters included Hal Prince, Roger Berlind, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Robert Falls, Alexander Gemignani, James Houghton and James Nicola. Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, speaking for the Hall’sPrevious inductes Willa Kim and William Ivey Long Veterans Committee (made up of several ATCAns), inducted four more notables: Alice Childress, Henry Irving, Philip Moeller and Florence Reed.
Click here for more about the inductees;
here for snapshots of the post-induction party;
and here for a full Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report on the ceremony.

Wednesday
Jan192011

Latest info on N.Y. conference, Feb. 4-6

Jan. 22 — Normallly our Perspectives in Criticism speakers are critics; but at our N.Y. conference, Feb. 4-6, they will be playwrights and directors.

Upload Registration Form here.

Latest schedule follows.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan162011

Dana Ivey, Stacy Keach, Paxton Whitehead join ATCA Brunch with the Stars at Sardi's, Feb. 5

Jan. 20 — Stacy Keach (Other Desert Cities), Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead (the improbable lovebirds in The Importance of Being Earnest) are the latest participants in the Brunch with Stars at Sardi’s (Feb. 5), joining Linda Lavin, Lily Rabe (Portia opposite Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice), Colin Quinn, Andre De Shields, Dan Lauria (title role in Lombardi), Judith Light and Jeffrey Wright, already announced. Scroll down for registration info for just the Brunch or the whole ATCA weekend, or get directly in touch with Barry Gaines (bjgaines@unm.edu; 505-856-2101).

Friday
Jan142011

Critical scuffle over 'Spider Man'

Jan. 18 — Leonard Jacobs has a juicy take on the “Spider Man” situation in the Jan. 17 Huffington Post (it’s rich in links). He writes of “the anach-ronistic kabuki of theatre journalism,” compares protests to “dinosaurs roaring in denial about the asteroid that detonated in their feeding ground” and laughs at the idea that we’re gatekeepers: “The gate is wide open.” This fits right into the panel on The Digital Critic that he’ll be on during our Feb. 4-6 NY Weekend Conference (see below.)

Sunday
Jan092011

NY Conference schedule as it stands

Jan. 9 — New participants or other details will be added every few days. Following are schedule and registration form.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan072011

4 weeks to NY conference; more plans announced; make your own plans now

Co-chairs Sherry Eaker and Ira Bilowit announce the “Perspectives on Criticism” panel will feature two directors and two playwrights. Already interested is Marsha Norman, with some other big names in our sights. (Hint: Read the lively remarks by a well-known playwright a couple of items down on our Criticism in Controversy page.)

The acting teachers’ panel now includes Olympia Dukakis and Joanna Merlin, joining Bill Esper (William Esper Studio), Sabra Jones (Actors Studio, co-founder of NY’s Mirror Repertory Co.) and Terry Schreiber (T. Schreiber Studio).

The Friday location will be the Baruch Performing Arts Center (Baruch College) on E. 25th St. between Lexington & 3rd Aves. The location for Sunday’s session on the digital critic is still to be announced; ditto the stars for the Saturday brunch at Sardi’s.

HOTEL: The marvelous discount at the midtown Milford Plaza Hotel is still available, but only by phone, not online. Call 888-352-3650 or 212-869-3600. “The reservation clerk couldn’t have been nicer,” says one Florida critic.

DISCOUNTS: Sherry knows of some winter theater discounts, too complex to list here; contact her at 212-254-5161 or sherry.eaker@gmail.com.

More info to come. Register now. FOR THE LATEST SCHEDULE and REGISTRATION FORM, see preceding Home Page item, or contact ATCA administrator Barry Gaines (505-856-2101; bjgaines@unm.edu).

Friday
Nov262010

A holiday present - and support for Foundation ATCA, too

At last summer’s ATCA/O’Neill Theater Center conference, the necktie sporting both versions of the logo of our Daumier critic and playwright Eugene (with and without the seagull), quickly sold out. Now we have a limited new supply in time for the holidays. Just send a check for $50 made out to Foundation ATCA to ATCA Tie, 1516 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. (Send any email queries here.)

Wednesday
Nov242010

ATCA meets in NYC, Feb. 4-6

Full info on our annual weekend conference (aka Mini-Meeting) is due in your email box shortly and snail mailbox shortly thereafter. But it isn’t too soon to make travel and housing arrangements. The full program starts at 10 am Fri. and ends Sun. at noon.

Sunday
Nov072010

'Will criticism survive? Does anyone care?'

Julie York Coppens: where angels fear to treadNov. 5 — ATCA member and former membership chair Julie York Coppens, former critic at the Charlotte Observer, is now at the Educational Theatre Association as associate editor of Dramatics Magazine (aimed at young people) and Teaching Theatre Journal. Stimulated by our O’Neill conference, she has taken on the challenge of describing the troubled state of our profession, without any talking down to her audience: read it here. See also her related coverage of “What makes a critic”, her brisk history of criticism from Plato to ATCA and excerpts from The Theater on Critics panel at the O’Neill. 

Tuesday
Nov022010

Norman Nadel, an ATCA founder

Norman Nadel, ready to travel, 1961 (images from “Under the Copper Beech”)Norman Nadel died Oct. 25, age 95. He had been critic in turn for the Columbus (Ohio) Citizen, the New York World-Telegram and Sun and the New York World Journal Tribune, chaired the N.Y. Drama Critics Circle and arbitrated disputes over foreign actors on N.Y. stages. As cultural affairs writer for Scripps-Howard and critic-at-large for the Independent News Alliance, his reviews appeared in more than 700 newspapers. Norman Nadel teaching criticismThe first director (later, critic in residence) of the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center and an emeritus member of ATCA, he is interviewed by Jay Handelman in ATCA’s own Under the Copper Beech: Conversations with American Theater Critics (2004). In later life he split his year between Naples, Florida (Naples News obituary) and Bar Harbor, Maine (Bar Harbor Times). 

Thursday
Oct282010

New 'Criticism in Controversy' page

Critics and criticism keep making news, so after appearing here on the home page, such items will move to our new “Criticism in Controvery” page. Examples to date: the flap over a Cleveland music critic, Pulitzers ignoring the drama jury, Theresa Rebeck taking on critics, and Tonys returning the critics’ votes.

Thursday
Oct282010

Much respected critic retires

Oct. 15 — Gerald Weales, winner of the 1965 George Gerald Weales: formally retired but still writingJean Nathan Award (the highest national award reserved for theater criticism) and an ATCA emeritus member, says, “After more than a half century of reviewing, I formally retired. My farewell appears at the end of my latest and final “American Theater Watch” for The Georgia Review” (Fall issue). Read that that characteristically concise farewell here.

Wednesday
Oct132010

Eight to be inducted into Theatre Hall of Fame

Sept. 27 — Three actors, a director, music director, librettist, playwright and one who defies category make up the eight 2010 selections of the Theater Hall of Fame, to be inducted ceremoniously on Jan. 24, 2011, beneath the names of more than 400 previous members on the walls of Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre.

The inductees are actors Brian Dennehy, Linda Lavin and Fritz Weaver; director Michael Blakemore; music director Paul Gemignani; librettist James Lapine: playwright Caryl Churchill; and the multi-dimensional Joseph Chaikin (deceased). (Apologies that an earlier version of this list incorrectly included Paul Sills.)

ATCA members form the major part of the Hall of Fame electorate, which also includes Hall members and selected theater historians, notables and other critics. The Hall of Fame is administered by Terry Hodge Taylor. Click here for more on the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday
Sep152010

Playwright Michele Lowe Wins $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize

The Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation and the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) are pleased to announce that playwright Michele Lowe has been awarded the 2010 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Inana. Lowe will receive her award at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul312010

Awards are a natural part of any ATCA conference

At the ATCA/O’Neill conference “All Campus” panel on “The Theater Barbara Bannon (left) presents the Primus Prize plaque to playwright Jamie Pachino.Looks at Critics,” July 17, featuring an actor, director, designer, non-critic journalist, two producers and two playwrights (see below * for list; click here for a few excerpts), moderated by O’Neill managing director Preston Whiteway.

ATCA started the proceedings by presenting an award and a check. Barbara Bannon, chair of the Primus Prize committee, presented a plaque to the 2009 winner, Jamie Pachino, who had long since received the $10,000 check Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (left) presents a check and books to Dan Sullivan under the O’Neill tent.made possible by the generosity of the Francesca Primus Foundation. The 2010 Primus winner, Michele Lowe, will received her plaque at a future conference.

Then Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, president of Foundation ATCA, presented an $1,800 scholarship check to Dan Sullivan, head of the National Critics Institute — who immediately passed it on to Whiteway. Jenkins also distributed to this year’s NCI fellows copies of The ATCA Bench.Under the Copper Beech: Conversations with American Theater Critics, which he edited, published by the Foundation in 2004. It’s a reminder that we all work in the great critical tradition nurtured by Elliot Norton, Henry Hewes, Ernest Schier and others.

Everyone wanted to caress the O’Neill’s 2010 Tony Award.In the background sat the ATCA bench, presented in 2004 to mark the 30th anniversay of ATCA’s founding at the O’Neill in 1974.

(* “The Theater Looks at Critics” panel: actor Peter Jay Fernandez; director Wendy Goldberg [also NCI Artistic Director); designer Rachel Hauck; journalist Patrick Healey; producers Tom Viertel [also chair, O’Neill board] and Steven Hendel [Fela]; and playwrights Jamie Pachino and Adam Rapp.)

Thursday
Jul222010

ATCA membership -- elite, or rank and file?

The debate about the criteria for ATCA membersip that flared (by design) at ATCA/O’Neill is now going forward on Wendy Rosenfield’s Drama Queen blog. It’s her July 21 entry — take a look and click on Comments. Leonard Jacobs also comments on his Clyde Fitch Report, although so far mainly (negatively) about our hotel. Let us know where else ATCA/O’Neill comment appears. If you were there, send us any links to your published comments or write comments to add to our ATCA Blog.

Thursday
Jul152010

ATCA/O'Neill ends in glow of satisfaction

The conference ended July 18 with the satisfaction of much  The Conference Hat: To embarrass the conference chair (this year, Chris Rawson), on the final day he’s made to wear a hat laden with memorabilia from previous conferences, presented by the previous conference chair (Jay Handelman, right, who chaired Sarasota). The chief recompense is that Rawson will get to add something from the O’Neill and embarrass whomever chairs next year’s Ashland conference.accomplished. (The next day it poured in New London, but that’s another story.) As soon as we rejoin life in our home cities, we hope to get those accomplishments posted here — officers elected, actions taken, awards given, decisions made, insights achieved. Meanwhile, look back on the conference blog here — now 13 posts and still counting. And if you wish you’d been there or want to know what you missed, go to the conference page and find the full schedule.

Friday
Jun182010

Michael Phillips delivers 'Perspectives in Criticism' at ATCA Conference in July

Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, most recently shared TV’s “On the Movies” with A.O. Scott as joint successors to Siskel & Ebert. Before that he had a record cross-country tour as theater critic, moving briskly from the Dallas Times-Herald to the San Diego Union-Tribune to the St. Paul Pioneer Press to the Los Angeles Times to the Tribune. (Click here for the history of the Perspectives in Criticism series and its distinguished speakers.)

ALSO ATTENDING: guests at the conference include playwright Jamie Pachino, winner of ATCA’s $10,000 Primus Prize (2009) for an emerging female theater artist.

NOTE: The seagull version (above) eventually outpolled the non-seagull version (here) of the conference’s O’Neill & Critic logo; both appear on the conference banners and also the conference necktie, for the critic who dares flaunt his Daumier. (Anyone intrested in an unusual present for the critic who has everything, maybe even a job, send an email query; we can offer the logo in a nectie as well as a scarf.)

Monday
May032010

O'Neill Theater Center Wins 2010 Regional Theater Tony

By recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford Conn., Tony Award given to Alliance Theater, 2007now in its 46th year, will be awarded the 2010 Tony Award for a regional theater at the ceremony on June 13. The announcement was made May 3 by the American Theatre Wing, proprietor of the Tony Awards, and its partner, the Broadway League.

ATCA made its recommendation after a lengthy process of debate and balloting. The regional theater Tony, which is limited to a theater outside New York City, is the only award based on a recommendation from a national, non-Broadway group. Presumably it is announced the day before the full slate of Tony nominations to give the winning theater a moment in the sun before the handicapping begins on the other Tony races.

For a complete list of winners of the regional theater Tony back to 1976, go to that page on this website.

Saturday
Mar272010

CAIN WINS 2010 STEINBERG/ATCA AWARD — MARGULIES AND ZACARÍAS ALSO CITED

March 27, Louisville, KY — Bill Cain’s “Equivocation” is the winner Playwright Bill Cainof the $25,000 2010 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The largest such prize in the country, the Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts which premiered professionally in the award year (2009) outside New York City.

The Steinberg/ATCA and two additional citations were presented March 27 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Cain received a commemorative plaque and a cash prize of $25,000. The two citations, including plaques and $7,500 each, went to “Time Stands Still,” by Donald Margulies, and “Legacy of Light,” by Karen Zacarías.

“The long-standing partnership between the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the American Theatre Critics Association has recognized some of today’s greatest writers, and helped identify the great playwrights of tomorrow,” said trustee Jim Steinberg. “We’re delighted to help support the unique telling of tales on the American stage.”

Click to read more ...