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:
Clara Hieronymus turns 100 today
July 25, 2013 — A founder of the American Theatre Critics Association, Clara was one of the legendary crew who gathered in 1974 beneath a spreading Copper Beech tree at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.
Lily Janiak, a young critic on HowlRound, writes “Whose America? … Whose theater?,” a review/commentary on California Shakespeare Theatre, and starts a kerfuflle: read it here, with many combatants chiming in.
You had to be there, of course — which was one of his themes. This is all about live theater, after all, and in performance, Jason’s talk was animated and funny, full of impromptu sidebars. But for the basic speech, with its mix of autobiography and challenge …
Shepherdstown, WV, July 21 — Yesterday was packed. In addition to the Perspectives in Criticism talk by Jason Zinoman and the reorganization of the ATCA executive committee and the Foundation board, we saw two more plays, including what is conclusively CATF’s strongest, H20 by Jane Martin. At night there was a farewell party, including nice words from producing director Ed Herendeen and board president Jenny Ewing Allen and the presentation to them of a signed copy of Under the Copper Beach: Conversations with American Theatre Critics (a history of ATCA and theater criticism). Finally, conference chair Tim Treanor was presented with a necktie emblazoned with the WV Mountaineer/Daumier logo.
That completed Tim’s formal conference wear, because earlier in the day there was the passing of the Convention Hat. It’s a sturdy job festooned with memorabilia of conferences going back into the mists of ATCA history – 20 years, at least. First Chris Rawson, chair of the 2011 conference at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, passed it to Jonathan Abarbanel, chair of the 2012 Chicago conference. Then after a few pictures, Jonathan presented it to Tim, with whom it will rest until next year’s conference at the Humana Festival.
There were no barricades in the streets. With the sweetness of demeanor for which theater critics are famed, the ATCA executive committee elected Jonathan Abarbanel (Chicago, duelingcritics.net) its new chair. Then the overlapping board of Foundation ATCA elected Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune) its new president. More info on brief press release to come.
Shepherdstown, WV, July 20 — It’s hard for even a conscientious note-taker to keep up as the conference barrels along. Thursday there was a workshop on “Monetizing your Website,” with Brad Hathaway, Bill Hirschman, Mark Lowry and Lorraine Treanor. Yesterday we had a morning panel on “The Effect of Criticism on Theater,” moderated by critic Jason Zinoman (N.Y. Times), with CATF’s Kathleen Butler and Peggy McKowen, critics Nelson Pressley (Washington Post) and Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), and Maggie Boland (managing director, Signature Theatre).
Then today came what is in effect our keynote address, Jason Zinoman as the Perspectives in Criticism speaker, the 32nd in a series of distinguished critics. It was a lively talk – autobiographical, smart, funny, challenging, optimistic – just what we envisioned when we invited Clive Barnes to start the series in 1992. (See list of speakers here.) But don’t take our word for it: read it here.
Aside from all this, there have been some interesting shows! But you can read about them best as our members write about them — for which, follow the twitter feeds on the top left of our home page.
Director Lear deBessonet also honored
Shepherdstown, WV, July 19, 2013—Today the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual conference, held at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, that playwright Stefanie Zadravec has been awarded the 2013 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Electric Baby. Zadravec will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference.
Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman theater artist. Playwrights, artistic directors, and directors are eligible to apply.
By popular demand, here’s the unofficial logo of this year’s conference. The caricature on the left is of a mountaineer (like the WVU mascot); the one on the right is of Daumier’s caricature of a self-important critic (ATCA’s logo). Here, the two seem mutually unsure of each other, but ATCA and CATF are actually getting along very well: we are being taken care of well beyond our deserts.