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

Saturday
Apr232011

Pulitzer Prizes ignore theater again

This year’s Pulitzer Prize for Criticism has gone to Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe for his art criticism. Finalists (i.e. runners-up) were food critic Jonathan Gold of the LA Weekly and architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff (for the umpteenth time) of the N.Y. Times. The criticism award was initiated in 1970, and the only time it has gone to a theater critic was 33 years ago, to Walter Kerr of the N.Y. Times. Over all, the Pulitzer has recognized quality criticism of books (7 times), music (7), architecture (6), television (4), film (3), dance, the visual arts, fashion, food, photography and even automobiles. There was also a year (1992) when no criticism award was given. Since 1980, two finalists have also been announced, and just four theatre critics have been so distinguished: Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune (1986), Frank Rich of the N.Y. Times (1987), David Richards of the Washington Post (1989) and Michael Feingold of the Village Voice (both 1992 and 2010 — without Michael, theater would have been completely blanked for 22 years). Our view of all this is hardly distinterested, but still, it’s a dismal record.

Wednesday
Apr202011

Critics respond to Humana Fest

Many ATCAns attend Humana and we use it to hand out the Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn awards, so these review articles might be of interest: Julie York Coppens; Charles Isherwood; Chris Rawson (sidebar on Marc Masterson, who’s on his way to South Coast Rep); Don Shirley (mainly an interview of Masterson). If you know of other review articles, send a link.

Tuesday
Apr192011

Annual meeting mailing goes out this week

The 2011 ATCA ANNUAL CONFERENCE will be at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, July 6-10: Full details coming by mail, but to whet your appetite, there  will be eight plays to see (4 Shakespeare, 4 not), lively panels, companionship, a lovely small town full of good restaurants and the top-notch Ashland Springs Hotel, just a few minutes walk from the theaters. We have only 60 rooms reserved, but you can make reservations now — call 541-488-1700, cite ATCA; $149 (queen) or $169 (king or 2 beds), breakfast included. The conference begins at dinner on Wednesday and ends Sunday noon, but you can start seeing shows as early as Tuesday evening and continue through Sunday. More information shortly.

Sunday
Apr032011

Bill Cain receives $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2011; $7,500 citations for Kathryn Grant and David Bar Katz

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) has named Bill Cain’s “Nine Circles,” a harrowing play about war and redemption, the winner of the $25,000 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for 2011. The award recognizes playwrights for the best scripts that premiere professionally outside New York City during the previous calendar year, and is the largest annual monetary prize for an American play.

Kathryn Grant’s “The Good Counselor” and David Bar Katz’s “The History of Invulnerability” received Steinberg/ATCA citations and $7,500 each. Both Grant and Katz are first-time winners, but Cain won the Steinberg/ATCA Award last year for “Equivocation” – the first consecutive wins ever, although other playwrights (Jane Martin, August Wilson, Lee Blessing) have won it (or its predecessor award) more than once.

Checks and commemorative plaques were presented to Cain, Katz and Grant on April 2 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar182011

Cori Thomas wins 2011 Osborn Award

Cori Thomas has won ATCA’s 2011 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award recognizes Thomas’ When January Feels Like Summer, which Cori Thomas at City Theatre (Robin Rombach picture, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)premiered in March 2010 at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. The Osborn Award recognizes the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature – e.g., has not had a significant New York production or been staged widely in regional theaters. Last year’s award went to Jason Wells for Perfect Mendacity; previous winners included Rebecca Gilman and Keith Glover. The 2011 award will be presented April 2 at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar022011

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 ...

Wednesday
Feb232011

(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.

Monday
Feb142011

"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 ...

Thursday
Feb102011

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.

Monday
Jan312011

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 ...

Saturday
Jan292011

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.

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.