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 reviews Chicago theater for gapersblock.com 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 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 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.

 

   


 

New York Weekend Conference, November 3, 4 and 5, 2017. Details.

 

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

CHARLES GIULIANO, North Adams, MA, just published Gloucester Poems: Nugents of Rockport.

RICK PENDER, Cincinnati, OH, wom first place for Best Arts/Entertainment Critique, SPJ-Greater Cincinnati.

JAY HANDELMAN, Sarasota, FL, won first place for Beat Reporting-Arts, SPJ-Florida.

IRENE BACKALENICK, Bridgeport, CT, “on the cusp of 96,” is reviewing less but has two volumes of poetry.

LYNN ROSEN, Belingham, WA, and Steve Giordano published new book, Camping Washington.

JOHN ANGELL GRANT, Palo Alto, CA, published Women and Religion in the Modern Drawing Room Plays of T.S. Eliot.

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.


  


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. 

Critics in the news

New York Magazine names Sarah Holdren to the slot of theater critic vacated by Jesse Green. She’s been a freelance theater director and Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard.

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).


 

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.

“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

Tuesday
May162017

ATCA ExCom minutes show decisions on the budget, dues increase and international meetings

ATCA’s Executive Committee met last Thursday to discuss conferences and the planned membership drive. The minutes of the previous meeting, now posted to the Members Only area of the website, show the 2017 budget based on dues set at $100 for the new membership year beginning July 1 (an increase from the 2016-17 dues of $75). The minutes report sending ExCom vice-chair Brad Hathaway to represent International Committee chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins at the International Association of Theatre Critics executive committee May meeting in Norrköping, Sweden, the need for a new webmistress in the wake of Leslie Torvik’s retirement from the post, and the success of using electronic texts for the New Plays Committee’s consideration for the Steinberg and Osborn prizes.

Tuesday
May092017

DC Theater Community recognizes critic "whose love of theater is an inspiration"

Each year participating DC area theaters select a member of their audience “whose love of theatre is an inspiration,”(l-r) Tim Treanor and Lorraine Treanor present DC Theatre Scene’s Gary Maker Award to Joel Markowitz with Bruce Markowitz ready to read Joel’s remarks (Photo: James T. Rorke) according to the wording on the Gary Lee Maker Award, named for a theater lover who could be found in a local theater audience almost every evening for decades and initiated in 2011 by DCTheatreScene. All professional theater companies in the Washington metropolitan area are asked to submit annual nominations. The latest recipient of what is really a lifetime achievement award is not just an audience member but theater critic Joel Markowitz, creator and editor of the web-based DC Metro Theater ArtsMarkowitz is battling ALS so his brother read his remarks. For more info on this unusual award, click here.

Tuesday
May022017

Dallas Theater Center wins Regional Tony®

New York, NY (May 1, 2017) – The Tony Awards®  Administration Committee has announced that based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, TX, will be the recipient of the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award. (For the history of this award and ATCA’s role in it, click here.)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr252017

Linda Winer steps down after 48 years a critic

The rank (not ranks, hardly even one rank) of woman criticsLinda Winer  takes a huge hit when, after 30 years at Newsday, she leaves on May 12. It’s all about 400-word (and less) limits and not wanting to be clickbait. Read her interview with American Theatre

Monday
Apr242017

Seven weeks to San Francisco

The early registration deadline is gone, but you can still register and book rooms at the Hilton Hotel Union Square. And two deadlines for new members remain in effect to May 1: those who joined ATCA since the 2016 Philadelphia conference may still request registration sponsorship courtesy of Foundation ATCA (to inquire, email here); and new member applications can still be filed in time for ATCA-SF17. Email Eddie Rubin if you want to share a room. And Extranomical Tours is offering many pre- and post-conference excursions at a discounted rate. Send us questions on any aspect of the conference.

Monday
Apr102017

2017 Pulitzer Prizes: Nottage wins for drama, New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als for criticism

April 10 — Announced today: Lynn Nottage’s play “Sweat,” about the American working class, was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for drama (ATCA’s Wendy Rosenfield served on the drama jury). But the more unusual news is that New Yorker criticHilton Als Hilton Als won the prize for criticism, only the second theater critic ever to win the award, first given in 1970. (The NY Times’ Walter Kerr won in 1978; Margo Jefferson won in 1995, the year before she became the Times theater critic.)

The Pulitzer jury cited Als “for bold and original reviews that strove to put stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality and race.” He previously (2002-3) won the other major prize open to American theater critics, the George Jean Nathan Award. More about Als here.

Saturday
Apr082017

Michael Cristofer’s “Man in the Ring” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award; $7,500 citations go to Tracy Letts and David Rabe

April 8 —- ATCA has selected Michael Cristofer’s “Man in the Ring” as the winner of the 2017 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premieredMichael Cristofer professionally outside New York City during 2016.The awards were presented tonight by Jim Steinberg and ATCA’s Lou Harry and Bill Hirschman in a ceremony in Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Two citations that carry $7,500 awards were presented to Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” and David Rabe’s “Visiting Edna,” both of which premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the U.S.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr072017

Eppler wins 2017 Osborn Award

The American Theatre Critics Association is pleased to announce that Nate Eppler has won the 2017 M. ElizabethNate Eppler and Osborn plaque Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award will be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 8. The Osborn Award recognizes Eppler’s “The Ice Treatment,” which was premiered in July, 2016, presented by Actors Bridge Ensemble in partnership with Nashville Repertory Theatre.

(Click here for Nashville Arts Critic April 9 report of Eppler’s acceptance speech.) 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr032017

Taxes aren’t the only thing due this month

APRIL 3 —- Don’t let the Regional Theatre Tony Award recommendation ballot deadline pass you by. Your signed ballot must be received (either by mail or a scan via email) by April 19 to be counted for this year’s recommendation to the Tony Administration Committee. And remember that the process is strictly confidential and that the identity of the theaters being considered must not be shared outside the ATCA membership.

Thursday
Mar162017

Are you going to San Francisco?

JUNE 15-18, 2017 • SAN FRANCISCO •  #ATCA-SF17

The deadline for the discounted “early bird” registration rate has ended. Registration is now $245 for the full conference.

The full conference schedule will be published in May.
Tickets for select individual sessions and panels
will go on sale in May. 

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

ATCA-SF17 Registration - $245
Pleas enter registrant name below:



ATCA’s annual conference dovetails with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, so pack your tie-dye and put flowers in your hair for three days of theatre and mind-expanding sessions in the foggy City by the Bay! A lot has changed since ATCA last visited San Francisco in 2004. The big-ticket items include major new theater spaces, up to a dozen mouth-watering titles at the leading companies, and a half-dozen exciting panels, from new takes on Shakespeare to a new age in theater sound, along with a valuable CityPASS, great food, parties, networking … PLUS an incredible rate at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, right in the center of the theater district. Also SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS for those writing travel stories.

ATCA members click here for a more detailed description and info on how to register (early bird fee $195, April 15 deadline) and reserve a room. The official schedule runs from 5 pm, Thursday to Sunday noon, so a three-night stay will deliver the full conference experience. Email questions here and we’ll answer directly. The best questions will turn up in the weekly ATCA-SF17 newsletter.

3/27 Newsletter (click here): Broadway gets Bette, but we have a real matchmaker!

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3/19 Newsletter (click here): The early birdman of Alcatraz

Thursday
Mar162017

Boot camp: National Critics Institute at O'Neill Theater Center

Accepting applications March 15-25 for this summer’s session, July 1-15.

One of the O’Neill Theater Center’s oldest programs, NCI is a two-week residential workshop and conference, designed for arts writers and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. The Institute convenes concurrently with the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference. Director Chris Jones, critic and columnist at the Chicago Tribune, leads America’s leading boot camp for arts writers, offering an intensive course of study for writers of all experience levels, especially for those in mid-career. There’s a world-class faculty composed of America’s leading arts critics. There’s scholarship money, some courtesy of ATCA. And there’s a beach. Read more here.

Wednesday
Mar152017

Lauren Yee wins 2016 Primus Prize of $10,000; submissions being accepted for 2017

March 14, 2017 — Playwright Lauren Yee has been awarded the 2016 Francesca PrimusPlaywright Lauren Yee Prize for her play in a word. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Yee will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially celebrated at an upcoming ATCA conference.

Yee was selected by an ATCA committee of six. led by Barbara Bannon, from seven finalists announced in January, who were in turn chosen from 26 playwrights submitted.

In a word is about the grief of a couple at the disappearance of their seven-year-old adopted son, but it is equally about language. “To me, the funny and the painful go hand in hand,” Yee says. Her play was developed in readings on both coasts, had a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere and is published by Samuel French. For a full press release with further details, click here.

Submissions are now being accepted through May 1 for the 2017 Primus Prize. Playwrights may self-submit. Click here for a description of the process.

Friday
Mar032017

Six finalists named for $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA new play award

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizes playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New YorkJim Steinberg City during 2016. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each will be presented April 8 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival.

The six finalists (alphabetically by playwright, with name of the theater where the play premiered) are: Michael Cristofer, Man in the Ring (Court Theatre, Chicago); Nate Eppler, The Ice Treatment (Actors Bridge Ensemble, Nashville); Tracy Letts, Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago); David Rabe, Visiting Edna (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago); R. Eric Thomas, Time Is On Our Side (Sympatico Theatre, Philadelphia); and Lauren Yee, in a word (National New Play Network).Lou Harry

The finalists were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members and evaluated by a committee of 17 ATCA members led by Lou Harry of the Indianapolis Business Journal/IBJ.com. Click here for the full press release, including brief descriptions of the plays. For the history of the award, click here.

Wednesday
Mar012017

A critical flap du jour: "Big River," NYT, critic, producer, editors . . . 

As a sort of pendant to the vacancy in the Times’ critic crew (scroll down three items) — because otherwise Isherwood would presumably have reviewed the Encores! “Big River,” Feb. 8-12 — artistic director Jack Viertel wrote a crushingly condescending response to the review by Laura Collins-Hughes. Most admirably, the Times editors spoke up in her defense. Read the review first, then Playbill tells the story. Finally, give yourself the treat of a wry British view. Perhaps A. Pope (not a pope) sums it all up best, “to crush a butterfly upon a wheel.”

Sunday
Feb262017

Report from Belgrade: Marie Kilker on ATCA abroad

Also: “Immigration problems” for Thalia Prize Winner (see below)

Last fall’s 2016 AICT-IATC world congress was held inMichael Howley, Noura Erica Jenkins (the child), Ivan Medenica, Jeffrey Eric Jenkins and Marie J. Kilker at the 2016 World Congress in Belgrade. Photo: Katayoun H. Salmasi conjunction with the Belgrade International Theatre Festival. Joining ATCA International Chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins in representing ATCA were Marie Kilker and Michael Howley. Marie has posted a detailed report on our International page. (The standing ATCA International link is on the right-hand column on our home page, along with a link to the new international website and its journal, Critical Stages.)

Feb. 22: On their Facebook page, 2014 Thalia Prize laureate Eugenio Barba and his company Odin Teatret announced that they “had to cancel [their] tour to Miami because of immigration problems.”

Thursday
Feb232017

Excom busy with plans . . . 

At its January meeting, the ATCA Excom handled reports on the Primus and Steinberg prize deliberations, regional conferences and workshops, establishment of a team dealing with ATCA’s digital presence and a plan for a major membership drive. The minutes are available in the Members Only area.
 
In the wake of the decision by the general membership in Philadelphia to broaden the criteria for membership, Excom chair Bill Hirschman has appointed an ad hoc committee to prepare for a major membership drive. Headed by J. W. Arnold of South Florida Gay News, it includes Mark Lowry of Theatre Jones and Hirschman, in a apacity he refers to as “ex-officio kibitzer.” Contact Hirschman with any ideas.
Tuesday
Feb072017

Isherwood leaves NY Times; paper affirms ideals of theater criticism

SOME FOLLOWUP STORIES

Update, March 1: High profile playwrights (Marsha Norman, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Doug Wright, etc., etc.) are among 800 signers of a petition to the N.Y. Times to fill the second string theater critic slot with a woman or transgender person of color, according to Philip Boroff’s piece in Broadway Journal

Reaction,  Feb. 23: Some obvious lessons.

Update, Feb. 22: A seemingly well-sourced story by Boris Kachka in “Vulture” discusses the background of Charles Isherwood’s firing.

Feb. 7: Charles Isherwood has left the New York Times, where he had been No. 2 theater critic since 2004. This wouldn’t normally be a headline on the ATCA site, except for this good news: the Times intends to replace him, rather than falling back on freelancers, and their job description is a strong statement of the value of theater criticism and their commitment to it.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan312017

ATCA bares all

To make ATCA activities more open for members, the minutes of all 2016 Executive Committee meetings — in(No, this is not Barbara Bannon) person and by conference call — have been posted to the Members Only section of the website. Members need to sign in using their email address and password. Once in, select the “ATCA MEETING MINUTES” page from the left side menu. Each meeting’s minutes, prepared by ATCA Secretary Barbara Bannon, are available for reading online or by downloading a .doc file. ExCom members welcome comments by any member. For a list of ExCom members with email addresses, click the “Leadership and Committees” page under “About ATCA” on the navigation bar. Any member needing password assistance can contact ATCA Operations Manager, Robert Sokol.

 

Monday
Jan232017

Seven women playwrights named as finalists for 2016 Primus Prize

ATCA has just announced the seven finalists for the 2016 Francesca Primus Prize, given annually to an emerging woman playwright. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, it carries an award of $10,000. The winner will be announced later this year.

The seven finalists are Mia Chung for “You for Me for You,” Cheryl Davis for “Maid’s Door,” Laura Jacqmin for “Look, we are breathing,” Martyna Majok for “Ironbound,” Melissa Ross for “Nice Girl,” Stephanie Walker for “The Art of Disappearing” and Lauren Yee for “in a word.”

The finalists were selected from 26 applicants by a nationwide committee of critics, chaired by Barbara Bannon (Salt Lake City, UT). For descriptions of the plays, names of the theaters where they premiered and the members of the award committee, click here. For a fuller description of the award, with information about applying and a list of previous winners, click here.

Sunday
Jan082017

A new look at the loss of full time critic slots at American newspapers

The Columbia Journalism Review has a thought provoking piece by Boston’s Jeb Gottlieb, former music and theater writer for the Boston Herald, under the apocalypitic title, “Curtains fall on arts critics at newspapers.” Under the subsection on “the end of the age of the critic,” he provides statistics on the decline of full time paid positions. He then discusses the ramifications not just for the displaced critics but for society at large, under “what is lost.” We link to it on our Criticism in Controversy page (under the Commentary tab, above), but the full feature can be read here.