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 all who review theatre professionally, regularly and with substance for print, electronic or digital media.

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Member Blogroll

Gail Burns in Gail Sez writes about theatre in the Berkshires of western Mass and adjacent areas of Vermont and NY.

Lindsay Christians writes theatre reviews at 77 Square; also arts blog On the Aisle; The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, Madison.

Mike and Laura Clark edit ShowBizRadio.net covering all types of theatre in Washington DC, Baltimore, and St. Louis including reviews, interviews, as well as audition and performance calendars.

David Cote blogs, reports on theater and reviews Broadway, Off and Off-Off productions for Time Out New York and davidcote.com.

Christine Dolen writes a theater critic’s notes in Drama Queen; and Miami Herald reviews and previews.

Karen D’Souza writes reviews, features and blog for the San Jose Mercury News.

Randy Gener blogs on arts, culture and world theater in In the Theater of One World.

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 Extreme Culture offers reviews, commentary and links, in the Gannett daily Florida Today.

Lou Harry  writes Lou Harry’s A&E: opinion, debate and discussion on arts and entertainment for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Brad Hathaway’s “Theater Shelf: CDs, DVDs and Books for the Theater Lover” runs on multiple websites each week. You can find the latest column here: BradHathaway.Com

Bill Hirschman is editor, chief critic and reporter for Florida Theater On Stage.

Damien Jaques writes about theatre for OnMilwaukee.com, Milwaukee.

Chris Jones writes reviews, interviews and commentary for Theater Loop at the Chicago Tribune.

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.

Joe and Ann Pollack write  St. Lous Eats and Drinks with Joe and Ann Pollack: food, wine, shops, travel, reading, movies and theater in St. Louis.

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.

Tim Treanor  is the Senior Reviewer for DC Theatre Scene, Washington, D.C.

Lauren Yarger  reviews Broadway and OB for Reflections in the Light and reports on pro theatre and arts in Connecticut Arts Connection.

 

 

Obituary: Jerry Tallmer, 93, inaugural Village Voice critic, creator of the Obies (N.Y.Times obit)

The Clyde Fitch Report 

interviews critics (mainly ATCA members):
Terry Teachout
Peter Marks 
Lauren Yarger
Wendy Rosenfield 

HowlRound criticism archive: NYT surveys response to critics, Jason Zinoman on the happy masochism of critics, Wendy Rosenfield on criticism’s significance, etc.

SCROLL TO BOTTOM for regional critics’ awards.

2015 annual conference planned for New Orleans, March 25-29, Alan Smason, chair: stay tuned! 

2016 annual conference planned for Philadelphia (TBA), Howie Shapiro, chair.

 

     


Click here for video clips of last year’s $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards at the 37th Humana Festival, including Jim Steinberg, Bill Hirschman and winners Robert Schenkkan, Johnna Adams and Lucas Hnath. NOTE that Schenkkan’s winning play is now on Broadway.
NOTE that the 2014 Steinberg/ATCA winners will be announced April 5 at Humana. See six finalists here.

Elsewhere (off)site: for the website of the Drama section of the (British) Critics’ Circle, click here.

ATCA’s recommendation of Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company was accepted and it was awarded the 2013 Regional Theater Tony Award. For background on the award, click here. But this year, the field broadens to include New York City non-profits (click here). ATCA members will receive ballots soon.

 

{For collected Pull Quotes going back to July, 2012, CLICK HERE.} 

More metaphors, please:
“…he falls on this succulent, puffed-up role as if it were a chocolate eclair… . This is not life imitating art. This is art going to bed with life and staying there for the rest of the afternoon. — Anthony Lane, New Yorker review of “The French Minister.”
“Now is the winter of our Discount Tents” — sign in the window of Richard III Camping Goods, somewhere in Leicester.”

“[C]riticism, which by now should have evolved from a one-sided conversation … to a full-fledged back-and-forth between audience and critic, still drags its knuckles. Over in the online sports section of my particular newspaper, the threads are lively, angry, and impassioned. In the political and local sections, they’re horrific cesspools of blatant racism and sexism that continue for pages. But here on the performing arts page, save for the occasional response from someone associated with a production that received a negative review, they’re empty.” — Wendy Rosenfield in HowlRound, Apr. 1, 2013.

Hooray for The Onion: “Continuing in its mission to support excellence across a range of artistic disciplines, the National Endowment for the Arts announced Friday a new initiative allocating $80 million to discourage no-talent hacks from engaging in creative endeavors.” Read it here.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE. 

ATCA members: Send us material for the Members’ Milestones page.


2013 Critics’ Circle Awards 

 * N.Y. Drama Critics Circle, 78th awards.

* Outer Critics Circle (N.Y.) 63rd awards.

* Chicago, Jeff Awards.
* Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle, 44th Awards.
* Philadelphia: Barrymore Awards, 2013 Winners.
* San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, 2012 awards.

* Index to other regional theater awards, click here.

* FOUR DOZEN 2013 “BESTS,” city by city

  
REVIEW round-ups:

* Chicago (23 publications)
 

Past Conferences

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 logos


 

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
Apr062013

HowlRound week on criticism

For HowlRound’s week on criticism, go here. Some of the contributions:
Wendy Rosenfield on really wanting to be a critic and what criticism’s for, here.
Jason Zinoman on the critic’s passion, here.
Rob Weinert-Kendt on the personal drive to criticism, here.
John Moore on the economics of reviewing as newspapers abandon the field, here.

Friday
Apr052013

Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and two Citations to be announced this Saturday at Humana Festival

On April 6 at Actors Theatre, during the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays, the evening show in the Pamela Brown Auditorium will be preceded by the announcement of the 2013 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered outside New York City during 2012 — the nation’s biggest such awards ($25,000, $7,500 and $7,500). The finalists are Johnna Adams, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Mia McCullough, Dan O’Neil and Robert Schenkkan. Stay tuned. (Click here for more details.)

Saturday
Mar232013

Tammy Ryan accepts Primus Prize

Friday night at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis, playwright Tammy Ryan accepted the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize and shared a few thoughts on the value of prizes and critics.

“One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t control what other people think. You only control what you do and if you’re a writer, what and how you write. But what people think often comes into play on whether or not someone gets to participate in the American Theater. Someone has to say yes to produce your play, give you a grant or a prize.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar202013

ATCA gathers in Indianapolis

ATCA’s annual mini-conference brings several dozen of us to the mid-west this weekend, March 21-24, just in time for spring. Reports of the festivities and art will follow.

Tuesday
Mar192013

Six finalists named for Steinberg/ATCA, 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 2012. 

The six are Johnna Adams, Ayad Akhtar, Lucas Hnath, Mia McCullough, Dan O’Neil and Robert Schenkkan (for the scripts specifically honored, see below). The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 6 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 of its kind.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar192013

Keri Healey wins 2013 Osborn Award

Keri Healey has won its 2013 Keri HealeyM. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award, give by ATCA each year to recognize the work of an emerging playwright who has not yet achieved national stature. The award specifically recognizes Healey’s play, Torso, which premiered in March 2012 at Printer’s Devil Theater in Seattle, directed by David Bennett. The award will be presented in April at the Humana New Plays Festival at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville. Last year’s Osborn Award went to Darren Canady for Brothers of the Dust.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar052013

Critics in controversy

In the Winter 2013 Nieman Reports, in a collection of essays titled “Critical Condition,” John Lahr (former New Yorker drama critic) lambastes American theater critics in general and a couple of well-known ones in particular (but not by name). Under the heading “The Illumination Business,” he says, in part:

“The reviewer proclaims his ignorance, then blithely practices it. His chirpy tone is the voice not of a critic but of a ‘cricket’ … . The writer makes noise but not meaning. He’s full of energy but not information… . His article is not criticism; it’s bluffing.” Later, Lahr adds, “A drama critic has a historical and descriptive function; his job is to look at and look after the theater; a reviewer’s job is to look after the audience.”

One terse response has come from Charles McNulty (LA Times) on Facebook: “I always thought [Lahr] was part of the problem. His reviews rarely provided in-depth analysis of a production… . I lost all confidence in Lahr’s critical integrity. I would read his reviews and see his dinner parties.” If you are on Facebook, you can also see piling-on comments by Jason Zinoman (NY Times) and others.

But the best place to read McNulty’s comment is in George Hunka’s online journal, “Superfluities Redux,” where on March 3 (“John Lahr v. Charles McNulty: Round 1”) he discusses Lahr’s charges. As is often the case, the comments there add some substance and lots of fun. Hunka returns to the subject the next day with “A Modest Proposal,” which attracts comments of its own.

And the debate (brawl?) goes on.

Thursday
Feb212013

Regional Theater Tony Award: deadline March 1

The deadline for ATCA members to propose a theater for the Regional Theater Tony Award has been extended to March 1. Contact Chris Jones.

Saturday
Feb162013

Deadline March 15 for $10,000 Primus Prize for an emerging woman theater artist

The Francesca Primus Prize is an annual $10,000 award honoring outstanding contributions to the American theater by an emerging woman theater artist who has not yet achieved national prominence. The prize is made possible through the generosity of the

Francesca Ronnie PrimusFrancesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, which honors the writer, critic, performer and cherished ATCA member who died at 42 in 1992. 

Historically the award has been given to an outstanding woman playwright, but the committee also considers significant directors or artistic directors. The Primus Prize operates on an open submission basis—an applicant may submit herself or be nominated by another individual or organization. Recent winners have included Tammy Ryan, Caridad Svich, Michele Lowe and Victoria Stewart; before them, Lynn Nottage and Melanie Marnich.

For full information on criteria and method of submission, click here.

Friday
Feb152013

Just one month to go to ATCA in Indianapolis, March 21-24

More to the point, the deadline to get the ATCA rate at the brand new Alexander Hotel is just ahead, Feb. 19.

The conference fee of $99 for members, $135 for guests, includes events, lunches, Saturday dinner, receptions, and panels. Special $150 fee for non-members who join, includes one year of dues.

See below for the full schedule, including signup procedure. Or go directly to register here on our events page

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb092013

Practical criticism: "theater" or "theatre"?

Anthony Chase surveys the history (click here) of the great divide and, along with just about every other authority (AP style, for one), comes down firmly for the American form, “theater.” You don’t spell it “programme,” do you? Or “shoppe”? (NOTE: The ATCA site’s style is “theater” unless it’s a proper name that spells it, for whatever reason, “theatre” — like our own name. ATCA’s founder, Henry Hewes, used “re” in our name because he thought that was preferred by theater people, and critics are theater people themselves.)

Wednesday
Feb062013

Theater Hall of Fame ceremony: what they had to say

Inductee Sir Trevor Nunn walked around, star struck, looking up at the walls encrusted with names in raised gold Sam Waterston and family members (Aubrey Ruben photo)letters. Sam Waterston accepted induction by saying, “For me, from the start, the theater [as opposed to TV] has always been ‘it.’ … This honor is, as I take it, for sticking to it.” Kristine Nielsen, veteran of many Christopher Durang plays, inducted the absent playwright (laid low by an accident just suffered performing at Yale) with a catalog of all the bitchy, depressive, psychotic and wildly Playwrights Sara Ruhl (left) and Paula Vogel (Aubrey Ruben photo) funny characters he’s given her to play. And in posthumously inducting Martin Pakledinaz, fellow costume designer Susan Hilferty remembered him “at the flea markets, on his bicycle racing through New York.”  

For the fullest available account of the evening, click here.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb022013

Regional Theater Tony

The call is out to ATCA members to propose theaters to honor. Contact Chris Jones. Deadline Feb. 23.

Wednesday
Jan302013

Double Play: 2011, 2012 Hewes Design Awards

Two years of the Henry Hewes Design Awards, unique in taking into consideration all productions in New York’s five boroughs, whether on Broadway, Off or Off-Off, were presented on Monday, Jan. 28, at a luncheon in the midtown theater district. Honored for 2011 were John Lee Beatty, Jeff Croiter, William Ivey Long, David Rockwell, John Batwin and Robin Doe; for 2012, David Korins, Brian MacDevitt, Gregg Barnes and Daniel Kluger. The event was emceed by HHDA committee chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins; attending were Hewes’ widow, Jane, and two of their sons, Tucker and Havelock.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan272013

Hall of Fame induction tomorrow

The class of 2012, to be inducted tomorrow (Monday) at the Gershwin Theater, is Andre Bishop, Betty Buckley, Christopher Durang, Michael Kahn, Trevor Nunn, Paula Vogel, Sam Waterston and the late Martin Pakledinaz. The Theater Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit organization founded in New York in 1971. ATCA members are just the bulk of the electorate. (More details here.) We’ll post a full report later this week.