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.

 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.

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.

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.

 

ATCA/New Orleans, March 25-29
Click here for schedule. 

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)

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

Peter Vaughan, 77, Minneapolis StarTribune critic, 1977-97 (StarTrib obit)

 

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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)

Possible 2016 annual conference in Philadelphia (TBA), Howie Shapiro, chair.

 

     


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.} 

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.


Past Conferences

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

Friday
Jul192013

Playwright Stephanie Zadravec receives $10,000 Francesca Primus Prize for 2013

Director Lear deBessonet also honored

Shepherdstown, WV, July 19, 2013—Today the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual Stefanie Zadravecconference, 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.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul192013

The Daumier goes to W.V.

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.

Friday
Jul192013

Now for something completely different

Well, not completely different, since coffee is (some) critics’ best friend. So here’s a word on the three coffee shops in Shepherdstown, home of CATF, host of ATCA’s annual conference. I’m still high on the three-shot Wet Dog (one of the great coffee drinks anywhere), so until I come back down I can’t fairly report on the other two.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul182013

New members

Thursday, July 18, Shepherdstown, WV —
New ATCA members at the annual conference at CATFinclude (left to right), Bob Schneider, New Haven, CT; Russell Warne, Salt Lake City; Mark Dewey, Bluemont, VA; Erin Keane, Louisville; and Steven McKnight, Falls Church, VA. Missing: Alan Smason, New Orleans. Welcome aboard to all!

Thursday
Jul182013

Excom works all day; 'Modern Terrorism' at night

Wednesday evening, July 17 —
The ATCA executive committee put in a long day on reports, ATCA ExCom Idiscussion and debate, as these snapshots testify. The results will show up at membership meetings the next few days.

But tonight, the conference proper began with a welcoming dinner at Byrd Hall, ATCA ExCom IIShepherd University, with remarks especially by Suzanne Shipley,  president of Shepherd University, and Ed Herendeen of CATF. Then came a production of Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them by Jon Kern, directed by Ed Herendeen, featuring Mahira Kakkar, Omar Maskati, Kohler McKenzie and Royce Johnson. A lively audience discussion followed. Check your local media outlet for a review. (And if your local critic wasn’t here to review it, why not?)

Wednesday
Jul172013

ATCA/CATF gets underway

Wednesday noon, July 17 — Bill Hirschman sizes up the Yellow Brick Bank restaurant.
ATCA arrives in the very eastern panhandle of West Virginia for its annual meeting, hosted by the Contemporary American Theatre Festival (CATF). Tuesday night, early arrivals were treated to an accomplished reading of The Few, by Samuel D. Hunter, author of last season’s The Whale. Kudos to actors Alex Podulke, Cassie Beck and Omar Maskati.

Wednesday
Jul172013

O'Neill ATCA scholarships

Catching up: Recipients of ATCA financial scholarships forEugene, critic and friend (call it two critics) this year’s National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center were Paul Hyde of the Greenville (S.C.) News and Andrew McGibbon of West Milford, N.J., who has his own theater site, TheAndyGram.com. Congratulations. 

Saturday
Jul132013

ATCA packing its bags

ATCAns are preparing to gather next week at CATF, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, W.V. Watch for reports here.

Tuesday
Jul092013

ATCA's Daumier on new book

A new book on theater criticism, Refereeing the Muses by Bob Abelman and Creryl Kushner, has the good taste to use ATCA’s old friend on its cover. The 1865 caricature “Promenade of an Influential Critic” by Honore Daumier has served as ATCA’s official logo since 1974.

Appearances so dramatically notwithstanding, the book has no connection to ATCA. But some ATCAns have given it praise. It says it examines “the skill set associated with being a critic and arts journalist” and “explores the history, evolution, and future of the profession in the United States.” It may take a place on a critic’s (or teacher’s) bookshelf beside such standards as Irving Wardle’s 1992 Theatre Criticism.

Refereeing the Muses is published this month by Peter Lang Publishing.

Friday
Jul052013

New definition of Regional Theater Tony

After 38 years of recognizing outstanding regional theaters outside NYC with its Tony Award for a Regional Theater (see list), the Tony administration has changed the award going forward to include non-Broadway theaters within the city. According to its June 13, 2013 press release, “The Tony Awards Administration Committee has announced that starting with the 2013-2014 season, New York-based theatre companies can now be eligible to receive the Regional Theatre Award.”

The award belongs exclusively to the Tonys, of course. However, it was begun in 1976 at the instigation of ATCA members, from the start ATCA was given the responsibility of making a recommendation, and it has always gone to the theater recommended by ATCA after its confidential selection process. In recognition of this, there was some informal advance discussion of the change between Tony and ATCA leaders, who expressed conflicting points of view, but ATCA was never approached formally.

The press release continues: “ ‘The Regional Theatre Award honors artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally,’ said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League & Heather Hitchens, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing.  ‘New York has some of the most prestigious and creative theatre groups in the country and we are thrilled to include the New York theatre community in this category.’ ”

There is a bit more information in the resulting New York Times article (take a look), but there is no mention there of how the awardee is chosen or of ATCA’s key function. A more comprehensive article appeared in Playbill, June 28. The ATCA executive committee expects discussion on this subject at the West Virginia conference, July 17-21, by which time there may be more instruction from the League and Wing on the new parameters for the award.

Saturday
Jun082013

Earlybird deadline June 8 for July conference

The registration page for the ATCA conference at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival now acknowledges the extended early bird registration rates of $180 for members and $200 for guests. The price goes up on Sunday to $200 (members) and $225 (guests). You can register online here or by sending a check to our administrator Barry Gaines at 12809 Northern Sky NE, Albuquerque NM 87111-8089.

(Scroll down for more details and handsome conference brochure.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun082013

O'Neill NCI scholarships awarded

Paul Hyde of the Greenville (S.C.) News and Andrew McGibbon of TheAndyGram.com have been awarded the scholships ATCA funds at the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May222013

Anthony Del Valle, Las Vegas critic

Las Vegas Review-Journal critic Anthony Del Valle, 60, passed away May 21. He co-chaired ATCA’s very successful 2007 Las Vegas conference. “He seemed to be friends with everyone.” Obituaries: Review-Journal; CityLife.

Saturday
May042013

Registration open for ATCA/2013 conference at CATF, Shepherdstown, W.V.

Check out the new conference brochure (download pdf).

Five plays, panels, speakers, dinners, a host of historical sites and more, plus transport, etc.

THE AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE, July 17-21 at the CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL IN HISTORIC SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.V.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 The venue: The theaters of Shepherd University.

 The dates: Wednesday, July 17 to Saturday, July 21, 2013.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr222013

NCI/O'Neill invites applications to 2013 'critic's boot camp'

The National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theater Center in Formerly the Instant Theatre, now named after Edith Oliver.Waterford, Conn-ecticut, seeks critic fellows for its 2013 program, June 29-July 15. (NOTE that critic fellows can be young or old, experienced or novice.) Director Dan Sullivan (long-time theater critic at L.A. Times and Minneapolis Tribune) and associate director Mark Charney invite applications. Read on. 

Click to read more ...