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

Thursday
Dec152016

Deadline looms: nominations due for Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn awards

Reminder for ATCA Members: The New Play Committee is at work reading recommended plays for the 2017 Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn Awards (read on for the parameters). If you’ve seen or read a truly excellent play by an American writer that had its world premiere at a professional theater in 2016, please drop a note ASAP to Lou Harry with info. (The $40,000 Harold & Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award recognizes new American plays not yet produced in N.Y., and the $1,000 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award recognizes new plays by playwrights who have not yet achieved a level of national recognition. Click the links for fuller descriptions and lists of past winners. NOTE that the premieres must be in 2016, but the committee may accept nominations into early January.)

 

Friday
Dec092016

Second Video from the New York Conference is Available for ATCA Members 

Members may view the second featured ATCA/NY video here (login required):

See projection designers Wendall Harrington (“All the Way,” Head of Projection Design, Yale School of Drama) and Peter Nigrini (“Dear Evan Hansen”) and sound designers Jill BC Du Boff (“Hand to God”) and John Gromada (“The Elephant Man”) discuss their crafts during ATCA’s conference in New York in October.  

Monday
Nov282016

Alice Carter dies, a leader of both ATCA and its Foundation

Alice Carter, 1946-2016A passionate, lively personality, Alice served ATCA as its hard-working secretary, c.2000-04, then as President of Foundation ATCA for several years thereafter, and she was instrumental in the publication of ATCA’s Under the Copper Beech: Conversations with American Theater Critics, ed. Jeffrey Jenkins (2004). She died Nov. 26, age 69, following a stroke. ATCA members may want to write her husband, Rod Carter, at 119 Hawthorne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15209. Click here for her obituary

Thursday
Nov102016

View the ATCA/NY "From Page to Stage" video now

Panel #1 — “From Page to Stage: The Journey of a New Musical.” We will follow the journey of Dear Evan Hansen (opens on Broadway, Dec. 4) from the time it was simply an idea to its current production. Panelists include the musical’s writers (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, music & lyrics; Steven Levenson, book), along with lead producer Stacey Mindich.  Moderator: Peter Marks (Washington Post).
Friday
Nov042016

ATCA/NY conference jam packed with substance and frivolity

WHAT A SWELL PARTY IT WAS! Last weekend’s ATCA/NY conference (Oct. 28-30) was chock-full ofListening to the Q Brothers at the Sardi’s Luncheon with the Stars.enlightening, lively panel discussions, a tour of The Players, and other special events. (Scroll down our home page to find the dauntingly full schedule.)Denis Arndt (“Heisenberg”) with William Finn, Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht.

Organizer Supreme Sherry Eaker writes to thank all who attended (probably all still recovering from all the running around, in addition to going to the theatre every night, but who said a theater critic’s life was easy? — OK, we exaggerate), with “a special thank you to those who’ve written me such lovely and appreciative notes.”Alan Smason (New Orleans) and Linda Sherbet (Atlanta) with Christopher Hampton and his partner Tianna.

The most festive event, as always, since the N.Y. meeting’s inception c.1980, was ATCA’s traditional Brunch (now Luncheon) with the Stars, Saturday noon at Sardi’s. Here are some pictures, evidence that the special attraction this Director Diane Paulus (“Waitress”) and Howie Shapiro.year was a number of women directors, a far cry from the years not so long ago when a Susan Schulman, Susan Stroman or even Kathleen Marshall would feel like a solo act.

(All pictures are courtesy of Evan Seplow/StageBuddy.com.) 

Director Josie Rourke (“Liaisons Dangereuses”) with ATCA chair Bill Hirschman

Soon we hope to have links here to videos of the panels as well as to columns and articles by ATCA members. You can also check the ATCA FB page. Mandy Gonzalez (“Hamilton”) with Jonathan Mandell

Friday
Sep302016

2016 Theater Hall of Fame inductees announced

Producer Terry Hodge Taylor has announced the eight 2016 inductees for the Theater Hall of Fame: actors Glenn Close, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Phylicia Rashad; producer Paul Libin, book writer Joe Masteroff, playwright Marsha Norman, lyricist Tim Rice and costume designer Catherine Zuber. They will be inducted Nov. 14 at the Gershwin Theater, where the more than 500 previous members of the Hall adorn the walls of the upper lobbies in letters of gold. ATCA members constitute the largest part of the annual electorate.
Friday
Aug192016

Register now for ATCA/NY!

Click the image for a full schedule and info. (ATCA’s logo, the Daumier caricature of a self-important critic, goes modern, taking a stroll at the TKTS Booth.)

Saturday
Aug132016

Voting open for Theater Hall of Fame

The Theater Hall of Fame has mailed out this year’s ballot to ATCA members — check your mailbox. There are 44 theater artists listed, including actors, directors, choreographers, librettists, lyricists, composers, designers, playwrights, producers and others, including some with predominantly regional theater credits.

NEW THIS YEAR: In a cover letter to ATCA members, Hall producer Terry Hodge Taylor explains that next year’s ballots will go only to those who vote this year. So, if you want to stay on the voting rolls, mail your ballot to reach his office by Sept. 9.

ATCA provides the majority of the Hall electorate. It’s a privilege to vote, and you can also suggest nominees for next year’s ballot. So read the credits, do some research if necessary, and vote, or you’ll lose the franchise. 

Friday
Aug052016

ATCA/NY/2016 is open for business!

ATCA New York Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2016

Conference Chair Sherry Eaker invites all ATCA members who have paid their 2016-2017 dues to our annual New York weekend meeting. Take advantage of our Early Bird discount good through Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 at 11 pm EDT.

Attractions include the traditional Celebrity Luncheon at Sardi’s, the Players Club, a conversation with N.Y. theater critics, and panels on design, new musicals and cabaret.

For full conference info and schedule, plus how to register, click the logo above or the button below. See you in Manhattan!


 

Friday
Jul222016

ATCA legend Ira Bilowit dead at 90

Go to the N.Y. Times obit to sign the guestbook.

Scroll to the bottom of the extension of Bill Hirschman’s testimonial to find the separate “How Ira Bilowit Saved the Drama Desk from Oblivion!” by Glenn Loney.

ATCA chair Bill Hirschman writes:

Ira J. Bilowit, the esteemed arts journalist of New York City and good friend to most of ATCA and many more, passed Ira Bilowitaway July 22 at age 90.

An ATCA member since 1976, Ira was instantly recognizable at any gathering with a broad welcoming smile, bright eyes, feisty attitude, silver goatee and a willingness to share his encyclopedic knowledge with anyone who asked. He could be counted on to hold court in the hospitality suite until younger members faded away.

His indefatigable service to ATCA included working with Sherry Eaker to create the wonderful New York conferences, especially lining up luminaries for the Sardi’s luncheon. He had volunteered in Philadelphia last spring to help with the upcoming New York meeting. His career and many services to ATCA were honored in April 2014 when he was given an emeritus membership. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May032016

Regional Theatre Tony Award® goes to New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse

The much-sought annual award goes to the big New Jersey company that is best known for its musicals. As it has been since it was started in 1976, the award is “based on a recommendation by the American Thetare Critics Association,” as noted in the announcement by the Tony Awards® Administration Committee. The award will be presented with the other Tonys on June 12.

Monday
Apr182016

The final word from Philly

For more substantive stuff, ATCA members should watch their email. Here, we hope to post some links. But in the meantime, below are Alan Smason (chair of last year’s conference in N’Orleans), Bill Hirschman (just reelected excom chair) and Howie Shapiro, sporting the peripatetic Conference Hat, which he has to store until he passes it on next year in San Francisco.

Sunday
Apr102016

Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” wins $25,000 Steinberg/ATCA Award for 2016 

Additional $7,500 citations go to Steven Dietz and Jen Silverman

ATCA has selected Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone” as the winner of the 2015 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2014. Qui Nguyen

This “sexy comedy about culture-shocked, grieving Vietnamese refugees who fled to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon” features “a vivid, specific voice, a wonderful sense of humor and compelling stakes,” said the judges. “Vietgone” premiered at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California.

Two citations that carry $7,500 awards were presented to Steven Dietz’ “Bloomsday,” which premiered at ACT Theatre in Seattle, and Jen Silverman’s “The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane,” which premiered at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr092016

In Philadelphia Congress assembled, Day 4

It was a two-play day (The Octoroon at the Wilma and Sex with Strangers at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, for most), following a busy membership meeting in the morning. There, the following new excom members were elected: to regular three-year terms, Bill Hirschman, Plantation, FL; Susan Cohn, San Mateo, CA; and Kerry  Reid, Chicago, IL; and to a one-year term, Charles Giuliano, Adams, MA.

Then in the evening, we turned our attention to the wording of a motion to ally ourselves with other groups protesting recent laws discriminating against LGBT and other minorities. As you can see, it was just like the collaborative writing of another group in this same city, 240 years ago.

Saturday
Apr092016

More day three . . . 

Three conference chairs: Robert Sokol (next year, San Francisco), Alan Smason (last year, New Orleans) and Howie Shapiro (this year, right now, Philadelphia).

And most of this year’s conference, on Friday at the (well, just where were we Friday? … it’s a bit of a buzz). And where’s a lighting designer when you need one? 

Photo credit Alan Smason/Crescent City Jewish News

Saturday
Apr092016

Day three in Philadelphia

The day began with a productive membership meeting in which, among much else, we broadened the criteria for memberhip to admit those writing about theater without necessarily doing traditional reviews. Barbara Bannon presented the 2015 Primus Prize (check, plaque, letter from Barry Primus) to Sharyn Rothstein, who made a gracious speech in return. We raised about $1,000 for our Robert Sokol (S.F.), Jessica Goldman (Houston), Kerry Reid (Chicago), Howie Shapiro (Philly, conference chair), Wendy Rosenfield (Philly) and John Angell Grant (Palo Alto).Foundation. And we chose San Francisco as the site for the 2017 conference, to be chaired by Robert Sokol of the S.F. Examiner.

In the afternoon there were three illuminating panels: (1) “Digital Theater and New Opportunities,” (2) the archives of the theater division at the N.Y. Public Library, and (3) “Trans Onstage: Critical Awareness.” More on these (probably) to come.

In the evening, most saw The Nether, by our 2014 Primus winner, Jennifer Haley, at InterAct, while some went hither and yon. But many regrouped later at the bar at our hotel for food, drink and debate (as you see, above). Onward!

Friday
Apr082016

ATCA/Philly, day two

Membership meeting in the morning, then on to the KimmelCharles McMahon, Lantern Theater Center and artistic director Jay Wahl (curator, Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts).

In the afternoon, at the Lantern Theater, where we were welcomed by artistic director Charles McMahon on the set of As You Like It.

The main event was a lively talk about the ethnocentricism (conscious or not) of most theater critics, by Diep Tran, associate editor of American Theatre magazine and especially its website. It was billed as a Diep TranKeynote Address, but actually it was the latest in ATCA’s series, Perspectives in Criticism (click here for full text), and we hope to have the text on line soon.

In the evening, most saw Peter and the Starcatcher at the Walnut Street Theatre, followed by talk extending into the night.

Thursday
Apr072016

Up and running . . . .

ATCA/Philly got underway yesterday with dinner and a Howie Shapiro at the micshow at the Arden Theatre — August Wilson’s Two Trains Running — followed by a quick talk about Wilson’s Pittsburgh connections by Chris Rawson of that city, and then by drinks and a first-ever ATCA “review slam,” at least for those with late-night stamina. Lou Harry was the joke-cracking host. Here’s Howie Shapiro, looking none the worse (yet) for the wear of being ATCA/Philly chair.

Saturday
Apr022016

ATCA-Philadelphia almost here

Our Daumier critic is so jazzed (about the Philadelphia conference opening in a few days) that he brings new meaning to the word clapper.

Sunday
Mar272016

Norton wins 2016 Osborn Award

Jonathan Norton has won the 2016 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging playwright. The award willJonathan Norton be presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville on April 9. The Osborn Award recognizes Norton’s “Mississippi Goddamn,” which premiered in February, 2015 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, directed by Vickie Washington.

An inaugural member of the Dallas Playwrights Workshop, Norton has had plays developed or produced by PlayPenn, The Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, TeCo Theatrical Productions, African-American Repertory Theater and more.

In “Mississippi Goddamn,” Norton takes us to the house next door to that of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and offers a drama about a family making tough decisions in a tumultuous time.

Click to read more ...