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 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

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, 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 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

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.



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




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


Critics in the news


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.


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


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


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

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


Six Steinberg/ATCA Award finalists announced

ATCA has named six finalists for the $40,000 2011 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizing the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2010.

The six are Rinne Groff for “Compulsion,” Lisa D’Amour for “Detroit,” Kathryn Grant for “The Good Counselor,” David Bar Katz for “The History of Invulnerability,” Bill Cain (last year’s winner) for “Nine Circles” and Emily Schwend for “Splinters.”

The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 2 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. The Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award of its kind.

Click to read more ...


(Regional Theater Tony)

ATCA members will soon vote (very confidentially) on a recommendation to the Tony committee for the 2011 Tony Award for regional theater. Watch your snailmailbox.


"The Complete Critic's Qualifications"

At the recent New York weekend conference, playwright-director-artistic director Emily Mann, one of the Perspectives in Criticism panel (along with playwrights Adam Rapp and Richard Nelson and artistic director Tim Sanford), preemptively set a high initial bar for all us critics by reading aloud Howard Clurman’s 1964 “The Complete Critic’s Qualifications.” Clurman outdid Moses by issuing 12 commandments — and as someone immediately said, no one but Clurman ever met them all. See if you agree.

Click to read more ...


Submissions for 2011 Francesca Primus Prize close March 15

Feb. 7 — The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual2010 Primus winner was playwright Michele Lowe $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female theater artist who has not yet achieved national prominence. Artists nominate themselves. For details, click here.


Rapp, Nelson, Mann join Perspectives on Criticism; latest NY conference schedule

Feb. 1 — The previously announced Bartlett Sher is out, but playwrights Richard Nelson, Adam Rapp and Emily Mann, plus Playwrights Horizons artistic director Tim Sanford are in. As previously announced here, both the Friday and Sunday sessions are at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, entrance at 25th St. between Third and Lexington Aves., south side of the street. For the latest schedule …

Click to read more ...


New ATCA membership list

Jan. 31 — The long-stale membersip list has been updated. Under “About Members” (above), click “Membership Roll.” If your name is misspelled, or you think it’s missing in error, or you want to restore a lapsed membership, contact ATCA administrator Barry Gaines.


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.


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 ...


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 (; 505-856-2101).


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.)


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 ...


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

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;


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.)


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.


'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. 


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). 


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.


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.


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.


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 ...