Registration now open for ATCA’s 40th anniversary conference!
The bluegrass will be extra-blue, the bourbon will be extra-strong and every play will be exciting (we hope) when ATCA gathers in Louisville, April 2-6, for its 40th Anniversary Annual Conference… .
Click below for an index to some (hardly all) “bests” or “top ten” theater lists for 2013, not from just NYC but also Albany, Atlanta, the Berkshires, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, South Florida, Utah and Washington D.C. The lists vary: Note Don Aucoin’s (Boston), celebrating “most adroit scene-stealing” and “most likely to make you want to hit the bars afterward for a good stiff drink.”
(Send links to any additional lists to the editor; they’ll be added if they’re (1) by ATCA members, (2) by non-members from major outlets, or (3) the only list we can find for that city. NOTE: since being posted Jan. 13, the index has continued to grow.)
In yesterday’s column, Liz Smith lists (most of) the inducters for the upcoming Theater Hall of Fame ceremony (Jan. 27): Sarah Jessica Parker, Zach Quinto, Phylicia Rashad, Robert Wankel, Jack Viertel, John Guare and Betty Buckley. They’ll present inductees George Wolfe, Ellen Burstyn, Cherry Jones, Lynne Meadow, Jerry Zaks, Cameron Mackintosh, Lorraine Hansberry and David Hays. (There’s one inducter missing, and the others don’t match up in just that order. How do you think they’ll pair up? For more, scroll down or click here.)
Theater historian William Green, professor of English at Queens College-CUNY for 52 years, died Nov. 13, age 87. Bill was an active guest at ATCA conferences for many years before someone finally ruled that his writing about Broadway qualified him to join. His chief scholarly work was on Shakespeare, and he was an officer of the American Society of Theatre Research and the International Federation for Theatre Research. His impish, thoughtful participation in ATCA will be greatly missed.
Barbara Gross, an ATCA member for some 20 years, passed away Nov. 20, age 66. Unknown to most who enjoyed her quiet, perceptive presence at ATCA conferences, she had had a long battle with cancer. An alum of the critics boot camp at the O’Neill Theater Center, she was a free-lancer for Backstage, the Washington Post and Playbill. Her day job was as a writer with the National Institutes of Health, from which she retired in 2010.
ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel pays tribute here to both Barbara and Clara Hieronymus.
The doyenne of American theater critics, Clara was one of ATCA’s founders, following Henry Hewes in the central role of executive secretary, 1984-2001. She died Saturday in Savannah, Tenn., according to her daughter-in-law Martha Hieronymus, who told Evans Donnell of ArtsNash, “She went peacefully at home around 9:05 p.m.” Evans first reported her passing; here’s The Tennessean’s full obituary. You should find some comments on the ATCA Facebook page.
ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel pays tribute below to both Clara and Barbara Gross (above).
If ATCA has a home, it’s where it was born in 1974, under the copper beeches at the O’Neill Theater Center, home of the annual National Critics Institute. NCI has had just two directors -– Ernie Schier and Dan Sullivan, both founding members of ATCA -– and Dan has just retired. NCI is seeking his successor, as O’Neill executive director Preston Whiteway explains in the following letter seeking applicants. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15.
“Spotlight on Broadway” is an ambitious, fact- and people-filled website devoted to the history, architecture and much more of the 40 Broadway theaters. Executives, producers, designers, architects, historians and lots and lots of actors provide video background and anecdotes. Former ATCA chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins provided historical research on all the theaters and is featured talking about 27 of them. Take a look.
The Theater Hall of Fame has announced its class of 2013, the eight who will be added to the 511 already inscribed in raised gold letters on the walls of Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. The induction is set for Jan. 27, 2014. As usual, it’s a diverse lot: two actors, two directors, two producers, a playwright and one hard to classify. In that order they are Cherry Jones, Ellen Burstyn, Cameron Mackintosh, Lynne Meadow, George C. Wolfe, Jerry Zaks, Lorraine Hansberry and David Hays. The electorate of about 300 is made up of Hall members, ATCA members and selected other theater figures. (See Playbill article.)
Russell Warne recently launched a Twitter-quest to find out what U.S. cities still have at least one full-time (paid) theater critic working for print media. He came up with 10: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Miami, San Jose, Sarasota. Surely there are many more? Send a note.
The ATCA archives in the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University have a new curator, Dr. Beth Kattelman. She succeeds long-time curator Nena Couch who has stepped up to Director of Special Collections at OSU’s newly-renovated Thompson Library.
Gerald Weales, a sagacious scholar of theater and a lively, judicious critic, passed away Aug. 30, age 88. He served with distinction in World War II, earned a Ph.D. at Columbia, taught for some 30 years at the University of Pennsylvania, was critic for 25 years for Commonweal and wrote the much admired annual “American Theater Watch” in the Georgia Review from 1978 to 2010. He won the George Jean Nathan Award in 1966 and was a founding (and loyal) member of ATCA. See the Georgia Review for a feeling In Memoriam.
For comments on Gerald by a few ATCA friends …
It’s a paradigm: Michael Feingold, one of the very finest American theater critics (George Jean Nathan Award, twice a Pulitzer finalist) loses his tenured (one would have thought) seat at the Village Voice and reappears with a twice-monthly column in TheatreMania — print to web, the way of the world. His pair of August columns address this very issue. Here is the first part of “The Critic, the Worker and the Business Model” (Aug. 16); here is part 2. (The announcement of Michael’s new role is here.)
The ballot will be in mail soon, and ATCA members make up the largest part of the electorate. Watch for it, and please give it your attention and vote. This is one of the responsibilities and pleasures of ATCA membership.
Charles Giuliano of the website Berkshire Arts wins the prize for most immediate (starting 7/22) and fullest (eight stories!) coverage of ATCA’s visit to the Contemporary American Theater Festival. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Sharon Eberson published two pieces (plus a TV report by Chris Rawson), and Dick Kerekes and Lesila Sansom have one on the EU Jacksonville site. We’re waiting to hear of others. Click for individual links: