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

Nancy Bishop reviews Chicago theater for gapersblock.com and for her own blog.

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

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.

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.

Brad Hathaway reviews for “Theater Shelf” which runs on multiple websites and his features for multiple outlets can be found at BradHathaway.com.  

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.

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.

 

 

N.Y. Weekend Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2016: Sherry Eaker and committee have arranged panel discussions at the Lark and Don’t Tell Mama, a visit to the Players’ Club and the luminaries luncheon at Sardi’s; full info soon.

San Francisco Annual Conference, June 14-18, 2017: Robert Sokol, Susan Cohn and Brad Hathaway are in full planning mode.

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Critic celebrated by theater!

(If you can’t read it, it’s Rob Hurwitt, Monday, April 18.)
 

Chris Jones shares 2015 George Jean Nathan Award

The highest award for theater criticism (second perhaps only to the occasional Pulitzer that comes a theater critic’s way) has gone to Chris Jones, theater critic of the Chicago Tribune for 14 years and before that for Variety. He has long chaired ATCA’s recommendation for the Tony Award for regional theater, and he heads the National Critics Institute at Connecticut’s O’Neill Theatre Center. Sharing the award is Princeton professor Brian Eugenio Herrera. Past Nathan Award winners include Michael Feingold, John Lahr, Frank Rich, Elliot Norton, Robert Brustein, Hilton Als and Walter Kerr. 

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Misha Berson steps down in Seattle

In “Miles of Aisles,” a Feb. 7 column, critic Misha Berson bid farewell to 25 years as the Seattle Times theater critic, citing an extensive honor role of turn-of-the-century theater greats who have engaged her critical eye. Read her farewell here.

Christine Dolen retires, recalls

After 36 years as theater critic at the Miami Herald, Christine Dolen recalls some of the rich history it has been an “engaging, endlessly fascinating pleasure” to chronicle. Read her farewell column here.


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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 and its web journal, Critical Stages (Oct. 2014)

 

 

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The Clyde Fitch Report 
interviews critics (mainly ATCA members): Misha BersonTerry Teachout; Peter MarksLauren Yarger; Wendy Rosenfield 

HowlRound criticism archive: NYT surveys response to critics, Jason Zinoman on the happy masochism of critics, etc.

Wendy Rosenfield, “Diversity Onstage: A Critical Issue” (Broad Street Review, Feb. 19, 2014)

 


The 2015 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to the veteran Cleveland Playhouse.

The 2014 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to New York’s Signature Theatre — the first time the award has gone to a NYC theater. 

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.} 

As if he foresaw a future of blogging:
“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” — Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell’s Life 

Why do it?
“Ultimately, our responsibility is not to the emotional well being of a specific artist.  Our responsibility is to the reader, the art form and our work. In so doing, I believe, we pay the artist respect. Our honesty and standards are an argument that the art they make matters.” — Jason Zinoman, at ATCA/CATF, 2013

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE. 

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


Past Conferences

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

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
Apr052014

Gunderson’s “I and You” wins 2014 Steinberg/ATCA Award, citations to Demos-Brown and Zimmerman

Louisville, KY, April 5, 2014 — ATCA has named Lauren Gunderson’s I and You recipient of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2013. 

Gunderson’s delicate but droll play about teenagers exploring life and death received $25,000 and a commemorative plaque at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville on April 5.

Two citations that carry $7,500 each were presented to Christopher Demos-Brown for Fear Up Harsh and Martin Zimmerman for Seven Spots on the Sun.

At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr052014

ATCA takes care of business

Louisville, KY — ATCA members today selected New Orleans as the site for the 2015 national conference, next spring, to be chaired by member Alan Smason.Treanor crowns Abarbanel

The executive committee re-elected Jonathan Abarbanel chair, along with Tim Treanor vice-chair; Barbara Bannon and Kerry Reid were named secretary and treasurer.

The “convention hat,” laden with memorabilia from conferences past (including a bottle of Drama Critics Beer from the 1998 DenverAbarbanel embarasses Keane conference), which had been bestowed on Treanor at the end of the CATF conference he chaired last summer, was duly passed along to Abarbanel, chair of this conference at the Humana Festival.

He insisted it be shared with Louisville critc Erin Keane.

Friday
Apr042014

Theater critics honor long-time colleague, Ira J. Bilowit

ATCA today honored long-time theater critic, playwright and Ira Bilowitcitizen of the theater, Ira J. Bilowit, naming him a Member Emeritus. This doesn’t mean he’s doing any less, simply that he’s done so much, both for criticism and ATCA, and in fact he will co-chair ATCA’s weekend conference in New York this fall. (For a video interview with Ira from 2009, click here.) Ira joins other ATCA emeritii: Tish Dace, Lawrence DeVine, Marianne Evett, Welton Jones and Julius Novick. (For other, former ATCA emeritii, click here and scroll down.)

Friday
Apr042014

ATCA adds new leadership

Louisville, KY — Elected today to 3-years terms on theErin Keane ATCA executive committee were Erin Keane of Louisville and Lou Harry of Indianapolis. They succeed Brad Hathaway of Sausalito and Eddie Rubin of New York. Wendy Rosenfield of Philadelphia was re-elected to a second term.Lou Harry

Thursday
Apr032014

Playwright Gunderson presents lively Perspectives in Criticism

Louisville, KY — For the first time, a playwright was invited to give the Perspectives in Criticism talk that has been aProlific playwright Lauren Gunderson feature of 33 ATCA gatherings since 1992. A few snippets of her lively remarks, engagingly delivered, which will continue to stimulate discussion throughout the conference:

“I am a playwright and you are a room full of critics and that is not awkward at all. Not at all… .
“… any review that encourages audiences to see the play for themselves is a good review to me … .
“I can tell you that more than being disliked, playwrights fear being misunderstood … .
“I can tell you that reviews of new plays are powerful forces in that play’s future … .
“I can tell you that people outside of our towns read reviews to decide whether or not they’re going to even read the play… .
“Rolling World Premieres save lives… . “

For the text of her talk, click here. For a video on HowlRound, click here.

Thursday
Apr032014

Theater critics announce new peer-to-peer mentoring program

Louisville, KY — Tim Treanor, chair of ATCA’s professional development committee, today announced a new program Tim Treanor of D.C. Theatre Scenefor peer mentoring to the annual ATCA conference, meeting at the Humana Festival. Members will offer themselves as mentors and, after a few weeks to set up the mechanism, other members will be invited to send three pieces of work for in-depth assessment. Connections will be made by the ATCA administrator. Mentor, mentee or both may remain anonymous, as they choose. Fuller guidelines will be announced shortly.

Thursday
Apr032014

ATCA chair Abarbanel welcomes critics, outlines challenges and opportunities

Louisville, KY — For the full text of Jonathan Abarbanel’s welcoming remarks, sketching the state of the organization and outlining the work ahead, click below.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr022014

ATCA gathers today at Humana

ATCA’s 2014 annual conference runs today through Sunday (April 2-6) at Actors Theatre of Louisville, but ATCA meetings the first two days will quickly yield to the Humana Festival of New American Plays, the premiere such festival in the country. On this, its final weekend, it attracts an audience especially thick with theater professionals. We’ll announce the Steinberg/ATCA awards on Saturday. The partying is also great. Maybe we’ll have a minute or two to post some notes along the way.

Friday
Mar282014

Jay Stanley, critic in Los Angeles and New Orleans

Longtime ATCA member Jay Stanley, who loved theatre, threw lavish parties for celebrity friends, broke taboos and established his own Marquee Awards, died March 8, 2014. He was 84. Click here for an obituary.

Wednesday
Mar262014

Are theater critics becoming extinct?

The proverbial DodoObviously, no, not yet. In fact, we’re proliferating on the web. (Many thoughts, here, from an international view.) But here’s a recent, articulate lament. And for many more views, scroll down, look to the right column, etc. Critics spend as much time debating what they do as doing it.

Saturday
Mar222014

Gunderson to deliver Perspectives in Criticism talk

Playwright Lauren Gunderson will deliver the 33rd Perspectives in Criticism talk at ATCA’s annual Lauren Gundersonconference at the Humana Festival in Louisville, April 3. This is a departure for the series, inaugurated in 1992, which has never featured a playwright except on a panel in 2011. The prolific Gunderson’s “I and You” is a finalist for this year’s Steinberg/ATCA Award, to be awarded in Louisville, and was also a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Friday
Mar142014

Topher Payne wins 2014 Osborn Award

ATCA announces that Topher Payne has won its 2014 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for an emerging Playwright Topher Payneplaywright. The award will be presented April 5 at the Humana Theater Festival at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.

The Osborn Award recognizes Payne’s play, Perfect Arrangement, which premiered in June 2013 at The Source Festival in Washington D.C., directed by Linda Lombardi. The award is designed to recognize the work of an author who has not yet achieved national stature. Last year it went to Keri Healey for Torso. Previous winners have included Yussef El Guindi, Rebecca Gilman, Keith Glover and Richard Kalinoski.

For more about Payne and Perfect Arrangement, click here for full press release.

Saturday
Mar012014

Theater criticism on the web

“Alternative criticism”: blog, tweet, amateur and pro, dedicated web sites, critical avant-garde, the audience role – some of the subjects in the February issue of Critical Stages, the online web journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics, along with book reviews and more. Critics world-wide are joined by ATCA members Russell Warne, Randy Gener and Leonard Jacobs.  

Thursday
Feb272014

Six finalists announced for $40,000 Steinberg-ATCA Award for 2014

ATCA has selected six finalists for the 2014 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 2013. No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year. 

Generously funded at $40,000 by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, this is the largest national new play award of its kind. The top award of $25,000 and two citations of $7,500 each, plus commemorative plaques, will be presented April 5 at Actors Theatre of Louisville, during the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

No play is eligible if it has gone on to a New York production within the award year. Last year’s winner, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, opens on Broadway this spring. This year’s finalists, alphabetically by playwright, with the theater where each premiered: 

Fear Up Harsh, by Christopher Demos-Brown (Zoetic Stage, Miami).
I and You, by Lauren Gunderson (Marin Theatre Company, California, as part of the National New Play Network’s rolling world premiere program). 
Smokefall, by Noah Haidle (co-production of South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, Calif., and the Goodman Theatre, Chicago). 
H20, by Jane Martin (Contemporary American Theater Festival, Shepherdstown, WV). 
Stupid F**king Bird, by Aaron Posner (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington D.C.). 
Seven Spots on the Sun, by Martin Zimmerman (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park).  

Since the inception of ATCA’s New Play Award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman and Craig Lucas. Last year’s honoree was Robert Schenkkan’s “All The Way.” For a full list of all winners and runners-up, go to www.americantheatrecritics.org and click on Steinberg-ATCA under Awards.

For more about the finalists, the award, ATCA and the Steinberg Trust, click here for the complete press release.

Monday
Feb102014

Scott Brown wins George Jean Nathan Award

The recipient of the 2012-23 prize, the most prestigious in our field (except for the Pulitzer, which only occasionally might go to a theaterScott Brown, Nathan Award critic), is Scott Brown, theater critic for New York Magazine from 2010-2013. He has been a columnist at Wired magazine and a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly. The co-author of the off-Broadway comedy “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” he is currently working on TV and theater projects. More info here; more about the Nathan award here.

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