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.

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.

 

   

  

ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical repertory company about 40 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin. More here, more to come. 

 

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

ANGELICA JENSEN, Houston, lets us know the sad news that Bob Brown, her husband of thirty years, died last month, age 87.

WEI-HUAN CHEN, Houston, was just honored for coverage of Nixon in China in China.

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.

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.


  


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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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, 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

Saturday
Mar282015

ATCA freshens its excom, chooses San Francisco for 2017

NEW ORLEANS - Brad Hathaway (San Francisco Bay area), Martha Steketee (NYC) and Ed Rubin (NYC) wereGiuliano, Hathaway, Steketee, Rubin today elected to three-year terms on the ATCA executive committee, and Charles Giuliano to a one-year term. Rubin and Hathaway have been on the excom before; Seketee and Giuliano are newcomers. Welcome aboard!

Coincidentally, on a proposal by Robert Sokol, San Francisco was selected the site for the annual conference in 2017, following Philadelphia in 2016.

Saturday
Mar282015

ATCA honors past leadership

NEW ORLEANS - Barry Gaines completed two termsAlan wears the conference hat with pride. Doubtless it won’t seem out of the ordinary in New Orleans on the executive committee (he continues as ATCA administrator) and was honored with a bust of the supposed author of the plays by the man from Stratford (about whom Barry writes in his day job as an academic). Then New Orleans conference chair Alan Smason was honored with the Conference Hat, encrusted with souvenirs of conferences past, to which he had already added a New Orleans voodoo doll for good luck. He gets to pass it on next year to the chair of the 2016 Philadelphia conference.

Saturday
Mar282015

Hedy Weiss delivers Perspectives in Criticism talk

NEW ORLEANS - Often-controversial Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy WeissHedy Weiss, live and feisty delivered this year’s Perspectives in Criticism lecture, the latest noted speaker in a series going back to 1992 (see the distinguished roster). Lo and behold, she turned out to be a 24x7 workaholic, passionate about her work (like most of us), but a critic whose view of her controversies in a city of passionate opinions is naturally far more anodyne than those who have objected. Her talk was part autobiographical sketch, part a brief discussion of those controversies, which certainly remain lively to an audience of critics who struggle all the time with matters of tone and content. Listen to her here:

Thursday
Mar262015

Artistic directors talk post-Katrina

NEW ORLEANS - That’s the great divison in New Orleans    — post Andrew Jackson, post Civil War, but especially post-Katrina. There’s only one full Equity theater in town, but there’s a active semi-pro (which we’d call it where many of us come from) theater scene, or call it community theater with professional standards, represented with spirit this afternoon by a panel of five: (from left in the picture) Dennis Assaf, A.J. Allegra, Aimee Hayes, moderator Allan Smason, Jim Fitzmorris and Gary Rucker.

NOTE: More about ATCA/New Orleans on Twitter at #ATCA2015 or FB at ATCA American Theatre Critics Association.

Thursday
Mar262015

Haley receives 2014 Primus Prize

NEW ORLEANS — Amid gracious thanks and her incisive, humorous remarksBarbara Bannon (left, chair of the Primus committee) presents the 2014 Primus plaque to Jennifer Haley about the playwriting process and some of her own specific experiences, especially on the development of The Nether, Jennifer Haley received the 2014 Primus Prize plaque (she received the $10,000 check last year, when the prize was announced) at this morning’s membership meeting at the ATCA/New Orleans conference. Our congratulations! Her presence here is a gift to us.

(NOTE that the deadline for nominations for the 2015 Primus Prize — self-nominations included — is April 30.)

Thursday
Mar262015

New Orleans conference opens with food, music, Hirschfield exhibit and even theater

The 2015 ATCA conference opened yesterday with food,Tennessee himself was on hand to welcome us all music, a Hirschfield exhibit, the swirl of the French Quarter and, oh yes, even some warm-hearted theater (all after a day of travel for most of us), and your correspondent, who ended up in the wee hours with the traditional beignets and coffee, is now trying to drag himself down to the morning ATCA meeting. More to come! (You might also check the FB page.)

Sunday
Mar222015

ATCA names six finalists for nation's largest new play award

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 2014. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 11 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.

The finalists, alphabetically by playwright: Tom Coash, Veils; Nathan Alan Davis, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea; Rebecca Gilman, Luna Gale; Lucas Hnath, The Christians; Caitlin Parrish, The Downpour; Richard Strand, Butler.

For fuller descriptions of the plays and the history of the Steinberg/ATCA Award, click below.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar122015

New Orleans conference schedule

Click here for the fullest schedule.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar112015

Hedy Weiss, perspectives in criticism speaker for 2015

It is with great pleasure that I announce that our 2015 “Perspectives in Criticism” keynote speaker will be my Chicago colleague, Hedy Weiss, one of the nation’s senior theatre critics and certainly one of the most feisty. Hedy has been covering theatre, dance and the arts for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1984 and also is a regular contributor to “Chicago Tonight” on our PBS affiliate WTTW-Ch. 11. Her strong opinions have generated several storms of controversy. In addition, she’s maintained her position as a full-time union employee of the Incredible Shrinking Newspaper through perilous times for the Sun-Times and thus can speak with some authority about the changing landscape of media. Hedy will address us on Friday, March 27th. — ATCA chair, Jonathan Abarbanel

Sunday
Mar082015

2015 Primus Prize submissions

Submissions for the 2015 Primus Prize are now welcome, with a deadline of April 30. This is a self-nominating award. For description of the required 20-page (maximum) portfolio, plus script, click here

Monday
Feb092015

ATCA/New Orleans conference 2015: register now!

NEW: FOR LATEST SCHEDULE FOR NEW ORLEANS, click here.
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Register now for March 25-29: info here. Or visit New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau micro-site. Or go right to the ATCA registration page. Questions to host Alan Smason. NOTE THAT OUR SPECIAL HOTEL RATE IS GOOD ONLY UNTIL FEB. 22. Warm thanks for funding from the New Orleans Theatre Association.
Monday
Feb092015

Chicago critic Andrew Patner dies

ATCA mourns the sudden death Feb. 3 of Andrew Patner, just 55, who was an engaged, articulate member of theChicago polymath Andrew Patner Excom in the 1990s. A polymath — journalist, broadcaster and critic who covered classical music, opera, theater, dance, cabaret, visual art, architecture, books, films and public policy – he was best known in Chicago as Critic-at-Large since 1998 for 98.7 WFMT Radio, through his weekly conversation program Critical Thinking and thrice weekly Critic’s Choice commentaries.

He was also contributing critic to the Chicago Sun-Times since 1991 and appeared as a commentator on cultural and political matters for WTTW-TV. Other outlets included Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate WBEZ-FM, Chicago magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Art & Antiques, New Yorker, Christian Science Monitor and New Art Examiner.

Andrew Patner’s author photo for his book, “I.F. Stone: A Portrait”Andrew’s chief field was music. He accompanied the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on its last 17 national and international tours. Music director Riccardo Muti said, “I had enormous respect for him as a man of great culture and deep humanity. We had a sincere friendship and his death is a tragic loss to the cultural life of Chicago.”

For the fullest list of Andrew’s extensive credits, click here. Obituaries include the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and the University of Chicago student newspaper. A feeling memorial by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross includes other links.

Saturday
Jan312015

Theatre Hall of Fame postponed

The 44th annual induction ceremony of the Theatre Hall of Fame, set for Jan. 26, was a casualty of the blizzard that closed the Broadway theaters. Executive producer Terry Hodge Taylor has rescheduled it for May 4. Ironically, all eight inductees were in town for the first time in some years (often someone’s on stage in London or there’s one posthumous induction). The inductees are actors Blythe Danner, F. Murray Abraham and Alvin Epstein, directors Susan Stroman and Marshall Mason, playwright Alfred Uhry, critic Frank Rich and producer Philip J. Smith.

Monday
Jan192015

Register now for New Orleans conference, March 25-29

Laissez les bontemps rouler at ATCA’s first-ever Annual Conference in New Orleans, one of America’s truly legendary cities.

Come for the theatre and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and stay for the voodoo and jazz, French Quarter streets paved with beignets and Sazeracs, vast Mardi Gras warehouses and side trips into history.

The conference begins early Wednesday evening, March 25, but that afternoon offers the National World War II Museum and its Stage Door Canteen, with period hits a la the Andrews Sisters.

The three days that follow begin with important ATCA general membership meetings (with breakfast) at our hotel, the Astor Crowne Plaza French Quarter, and matinee or evening performances at Rivertown Theatre, Southern Repertory Theatre and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. We’ll take in Williams readings and his Hotel Plays at the historic Hermann-Grima House. Included are panel discussions featuring playwrights John Patrick Shanleyand Martin Sherman, plus distinguished critic John Lahr, author of The Mad Man’s Pilgrimage of the Flesh, a biographical study of Williams.

Online registration is open NOW. EARLY BIRD RATES CLOSE FEB. 22, which is also the cut-off date for our block of hotel rooms. 

Just click this link to register.

To make your hotel reservation, call the Astor Crowne Plaza (French QuarterHotel, 877-270-1393 or 504-962-0500. Use our group code “ATZ” for our SPECIAL RATE of $159 per night (plus taxes and fees), an extraordinary deal for high season in New Orleans.

Click here for more details from conference chair Alan Smason.  Note also that the conference is supported by a generous grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association.

Click here for a fuller invitation from ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel.

Click here to visit the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau’s ATCA conference microsite. It has loads of videos, FAQs, graphics, information about the airport, and more to help you plan and enjoy your visit.

 

Wednesday
Jan142015

Proposals due for Regional Theater Tony

Jan. 31 is the deadline to propose theaters for the CONFIDENTIAL annual process by which ATCA recommends a regional theater to the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League for the special Tony award given annually to an outstanding non-profit theater. ATCA members were just sent the necessary guidelines, as explained by Chris Jones, who chairs this process. Please give it your prompt attention. If you have further questions, contact Chris Jones (click for email); if you just want the guidelines sent again, contact Chris Rawson.

Wednesday
Jan142015

LAST CALL!: Nominations due for Steinberg/ATCA and Osborn Awards

Last call for members to propose plays for the Steinberg/ATCA Award and the Osborn Award for an emerging playwright. Both competitions reward excellence in playwriting, not production. The play must have had its world premiere in a full professional production during calendar 2014, but must not have appeared in the five boroughs of New York City during that time. If you have any questions or recommendations, please contact Bill Hirschman at muckrayk@aol.comor (954) 478-1123 asap — within the next ten days.

Wednesday
Jan072015

ATCA/New Orleans

Conference chair Alan Smason has unveiled the emblem/logo for ATCA’s New Orleans conference (March 25-29). Watch this space (and your mailbox) for details about hotel, registration, schedule, etc.

Monday
Dec082014

"Arts writer" brags about regularly leaving shows at intermission

You’ve probably caught up with this story about a Wall Street Journal arts writer on social media. If not, click here.

Friday
Nov282014

NY conference pix coming soon


Rob McClure & Wendy RosenfieldJonathan Abarbanel

 

More pix here; more on the way. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday
Nov102014

NY conference packed with panels, people, plays

For a packet of snippets from the Sardi’s Lunch with theBlythe Danner at Sardi’s Stars, watch this video of excerpts by Sandi Durell. Here, Tony Danza talks about boxing, teaching and Arthur Miller. And here, playwright Doug Wright talks about making characters out of real people.
 
The chief Twitter thread is #ATCA14; good individual Tweeters include Frank Rizzo (Hartford Courant), Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), Paul Hyde (Greenville News), Jonathan MandellPerspectives in Criticism: playwrights Kopit, Hwang, Wright and Howe; moderator Rawson (NewYorkTheater) and Wendy Rosenfield (Philadelphia Inquirer) — for each, scroll back to Nov. 9.
 
Some favorite quotes: “All plays are Jewish, because they all proceed from the question, ‘why is this night unlike any other night?’” — Arthur Kopit, during his playwriting-for-critics workshop.Road producers Lauren Reid, (moderator Jonathan Abarbanel), Albert Nocciolino, Jeffrey Seller and Kristin Caskey … Another: “Rave reviews are like crack cocaine” — David Henry Hwang, during the Perspectives in Criticism panel of four playwrights… . And given long preview periods and the freedom of social media, “everybody gets to be a critic except the critics” — Howard Shapiro (WHYY-FM, Philadelphia).
 
More to come (send links for posting), including an album of photos by Fast Eddy Rubin. And kudos to conference producers, Sherry Eaker and Ira Bilowit.