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 ATCA

  

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.

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.

 

 

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.

  


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

 .

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
 

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

 .

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. 

 

.

 

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
Mar262016

Last chance to register for ATCA/Philly/16

 Jam-packed schedule;
lots of friends;
great city;
plays galore;
much to learn (deductible!).
Click here now.

Thursday
Mar242016

Better Living through Criticism

“Everyone in this world has someone else whom he can look down on,” wrote George Orwell in 1946, “and I must say, from experience of both trades, that the book reviewer is better off than the film critic, who cannot even do his work at home.”

Now, of course, he can. So that must leave the theater critic (along with dance and restaurant — am I forgetting anyone?) at the bottom of the pile today. But as Nathan Heller asks in his New Yorker review of A.O. Scott’s new Better Living Through Criticism, “what’s the point of a reviewer in an age when everyone reviews?” A fair question. Scott has a few answers.

Friday
Mar112016

ATCA names six finalists for $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA Awards

ATCA has selected six finalists for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2015.

The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 9 at Actors Theatre of Louisville during the Humana Festival of New American Plays. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind.

This year’s finalists are:
Steven Dietz, Bloomsday  
Samuel D. Hunter, Clarkston
Qui Nguyen, Vietgone  
Jonathan Norton, Mississippi Goddamn
Lynn Nottage, Sweat
Jen Silverman, The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb212016

Call for submissions for 2016 Francesca Primus Prize

Deadline April 30.

ATCA invites submissions for the 2016 Francesca Primus Prize, an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging female playwright (one who has not achieved national prominence). The prize is made possible through the generosity of the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation and honors the writer, critic, performer, dramaturg, and cherished ATCA member who died at 42 of lung cancer in 1992. 2015 Primus winner, Sharyn Rothstein

The Primus Prize operates on an open submission basis—an applicant may submit herself or be nominated by another individual or organization. Members of ATCA are also eligible to nominate or provide letters of recommendation. To qualify for consideration in 2016, a playwright must have had a fully staged, professional production of her script within the calendar year 2015. It does not have to be the play’s world premiere. The committee also considers the applicant’s body of work going back several years. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan312016

Criticism is free speech

“In reference to the recent Wooster Group/Harold Pinter situation in Los Angeles and scattered reports of troubling Harold Pinter (1930-2008): What would he say?analogs around the country, the American Theatre Critics Association strongly reaffirms our bedrock tenet that arts criticism is journalism,” stated Wm. F. Hirschman, chair, ATCA executive committee.

“Therefore, the decision to review a production to which the public is invited with admission charged is at the discretion and judgment of journalists and their editors.

For the full statement … 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan282016

Registration now open for Philadelphia conference, April 6-10

(Note ATCA’s Daumier critic as the clapper of the Liberty Bell — painful, perhaps, but a pretty good metaphor for criticism!)It took a while to get the bells and whistles aligned (tuned?), but you can now get aboard the Philly express. Why wait? Click here! to see what’s on the agenda, and then sign up.

Friday
Jan152016

Playwright Sharyn Rothstein wins $10,000 Primus Prize

Sharyn Rothstein has won the 2015 Francesca Primus Prize for an emerging woman playwright for her By the Water, which premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage II in Nov., 2014. ATCA adjudicates the award. Primus committee chair Barbara Bannon of Salt Lake City explained that the 2015 announcement came late because of the larger than usual number of contenders.

The six finalists for the award announced earlier, in addition to Rothstein, were Liz Duffy Adams for “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World,” Nambi Kelley for her adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” Tira Palmquist for “Ten Mile Lake,” Yasmine Rana for “The War Zone Is My Bed” and Catherine Trieschmann for “Hot Georgia Sunday.” 

The full press release follows … .

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec302015

NYPL short-term research fellowships for scholar-critics

The New York Public Library offers 2016-17 short term research fellowships to those from outside the NY metropolitan area conducting on-site research in the Library’s special collections. Fellowship stipends are $1,000 per week for two to four weeks; apply by Jan. 31. More info here; also click here for info about NYPL research resources; click here for the Library for the Performing Arts.

Monday
Dec142015

Six finalists for 2015 Primus Prize

November 30 — The six finalists for the 2015 Francesca Primus Prize are Liz Duffy Adams for “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World,” Nambi Kelley for her adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” Tira Palmquist for “Ten Mile Lake,” Yasmine Rana for “The War Zone Is My Bed,” Sharyn Rothstein for “By the Water,” and Catherine Trieschmann for “Hot Georgia Sunday.”

The Primus Prize is an annual award of $10,000 to an emerging woman playwright, jointly sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation.
Click here for a full press release. [link temporarily broken — we’re working on it]
Click here for the history of the award and a list of winners going back to its founding in 1997. 

The winner will be announced Dec. 31.

Thursday
Nov192015

ATCA on the move: a comprehensive report

Coming out of productive meetings in New York and drawing on much work beforehand, excom chair Bill Hirschman has a lot to announce: proposals on ATCA’s membership and governance; sharing the NY conference via video; volunteers for international meetings; nominations  for the Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn Awards; Primus Prize finalists; “Philadelphia, here we come” (April 6-10); Elections supervisor?; membership directory; speaking out; Excom vacancies … . All this follows.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov182015

2015 Theater Hall of Fame induction

ATCA voted … and a few months later, a lovely time was had by all. Read an account of the Nov. 16 induction ceremony by clicking here.

Saturday
Nov142015

Snapshots from NY 

(Go to our FB page for pictures of some panels.)

Three new ATCAns: Kathryn Kitt (Bedford, NY), Kitty Drexel (Somerville, Mass.), Naomi Orwin (Philadelphia) 

Five old ATCAns: Bill Gale (Providence), Jonathan Abarbanel (Chicago), Claudia Harris (Orem, Utah), Anne Siegel (Greenfield, Wisc.), Chris Rawson (Pittsburgh)

ATCAns greeted by Sheery Eaker, Ira Bilowitz (hidden) and excom chair Bill Hirschman.

Thursday
Nov122015

ATCA meets today in NYC

Today (Thursday) the excom meets, and tomorrow the rest, with a full day of panels and discussions. (Schedule here; doubtless there have been changes.) The Sardi’s with the Stars luncheon follows on Saturday and there’s many a play to see… . If one of us has time amid the hurlyburly, we’ll post some updates.

Wednesday
Nov042015

ATCA condemns the selling of press comps

A Seattle critic for the Huffington Post recently advertised his extra press comps for sale to women willing to accompany him. (Howard Sherman has the basic facts.) That’s risible enough, and it may even have been a joke (he advertisedMystery miscreant them at half face value, and most press comps have zero face value), but amused contempt and thundering denunciation have been his lot. Now ATCA has issued a statement, beginning, in part:

“[ATCA] is incensed that a Seattle theater critic for The Huffington Post has offered for sale on Craigslist his second free ticket to events that he was covering.

“’To be very clear, the writer is not a member of our organization,’ said Wm. F. Hirschman, chairman of ATCA’s executive committee. ‘But, nonetheless, we want to stress that our code of conduct specifically forbids taking advantage of the generosity of theaters’ decades-old practice of providing a second ticket to reviewers.’ … 

“Chairman of ATCA’s Committee on Ethical Standards Victor Gluck wrote, ‘The ultimate problem with reviewers selling their complimentary tickets is that it casts an ethical pall over the entire critical community.’”

For the full ATCA statement, click here.

Thursday
Oct222015

You can still register for NYC conference, Nov. 13-15

Use this link or the one in the right-hand column.

Saturday
Oct172015

McNulty on why we do what we (should) do

Sometimes we post essays about criticism in the right-hand column. But this piece by Charles McNulty for the LA Times earrents the front page. 

Nowadays, he says, “criticism isn’t always readily distinguishable from the salesmanship and hype that haveCharles McNulty corrupted not just our politics but the arts, education and even healthcare.” … “Reviews written at an assembly-line rate aren’t going to have much room for contemplation. One symptom of the relentless pace is the lazy sprawl of plot summaries.” … “Verdicts must be delivered, but they shouldn’t be the ‘point’ of a review any more than an interpretive statement should be the point of a work of art.” … “[Report cards] make for dull reading… . Good prose ignores protocols… . Criticism is fundamentally — and defiantly — an act of writing.” … “Convincing an audience why [theater] should matter to them, and to a culture increasingly enthralled by its own superficiality, seems to me not a bad way of spending a working life.” He even quotes Northrop Frye!

Kerfuffles past: Similar issues were raised two years ago in the critical dust-up between McNulty and John Lahr, summarized here, with links.

Thursday
Oct152015

"Major frolicking"--Ben Franklin

Or something like that (Ben knew how to have a good time). He was doubtless thinking of ATCA’s 2016 annual conference, slated for Philadelphia, April 6-10, 2016. The host hotel is the Marriott Courtyard on Juniper Street, across from City Hall, at $149 a night. Five productions and maybe six! … and much more; details soon.

But before that, we convene in New York for the annual weekend conference, Nov. 13-15 (detail in the right-hand column — or scroll down to the Daumier critic at Sardi’s).

Thursday
Oct152015

Nine named to 2015 class of Theatre Hall of Fame 

The 2015 class of the Theatre Hall of Fame, chosen by ATCA members and current members of the Hall, includes composer-lyricist team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, lighting designer Ken Billington, publicist Merle Debuskey, director Robert Falls, actor Stacy Keach, playwright Tony Kushner, director-designer Julie Taymor and the late actor-director Roger Rees. Their induction will be celebrated Nov. 16 at the Gershwin Theatre, where names of Hall members are mounted in the upper lobbies in letters of gold. Producing the induction is Terry Hodge Taylor. For further information: Playbill; Hall of FamePittsburgh Post-Gazette; ATCA archive of Hall inductions.  

Tuesday
Sep222015

Just weeks to ATCA in NYC

 

FEATURING
Panelists: Sheryl Kaller, Arthur Kopit, David Lindsay-Abaire, Lisa McNulty, Marsha Norman, Susan H. Schulman, Caridad Svich, Doug Wright, and our Sardi’s luncheon celebrities.

WHAT
Chairs Sherry Eaker and Ira Bilowit invite all ATCA members to a longstanding tradition, the NYC Fall weekend conference.

WHEN
Friday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 15

COST
Early bird deadline is Oct. 15. Registration for members and their guests is $135 for the seminars and the Sardi’s luncheon; it will be $80 without the Sardi’s luncheon. Cost after Oct. 15 is $10 more. Note that guests are the same price as members this year.

Hotel and theatre ticket arrangements are on your own.

See the event page for details. 


Monday
Aug102015

Hall of Fame ballots in the mail

ATCA members’ ballots for the 2015 class of the Theatre Hall of Fame (located in Broad- way’s Gershwin Theatre) are in the mail and must be returned by Sept. 4. If you haven’t received yours by this Friday (Aug. 14), email Barry Gaines or Chris Rawson. It is an honor of ATCA membership to be part of this electorate — please participate!