Don’t miss this opportunity to vote — it’s a benefit of ATCA membership. If you want to know more about the Hall of Fame, go to the Hall of Fame link under the Awards button on the ATCA website. If you have further questions, email one of the ATCA members on the Hall’s Executive Committee, Chris Rawson or Jeffrey Eric Jenkins. The deadline is Sept. 15.
Organizer Lou Harry bids us welcome to Indianapolis: “Central Indiana is looking forward to welcoming you to the home of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the place that gave the world Kurt Vonnegut and David Letterman. Conference offerings will include the Midwest premiere of Nicky Silver’s “The Lyons” at the Phoenix Theatre, a performance of Matthew Lopez’s “The Whipping Man” at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, a trip to the new $118 million Center for the Performing Arts for a concert by Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein and a visit to Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Archives, plus lots more… .
Tennessee critic and ATCA co-founder Clara Hieronymus just turned 99, occasioning a burst of congratulations from near and far. Tucked among them was a pitch for Under the Copper Beech: Conversa- tions with American Theater Critics (ed. Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, 2004), in which she and other pioneer regional critics Henry Hewes, Larry Devine, Ann Holmes, Elliot Norton, Jay Novick, Ernie Schier, Dan Sullivan, Otis Guernsey and Norman Nadel are interviewed by colleagues including Tish Dace, Jay Handelman, Damien Jaques, Sylvie Drake, Bill Gale, Jeffrey Sweet and Marianne Evett.
If you’re reading this, you should have a copy, and another to give a friend. Order them by sending $15 each, payable to Foundation ATCA, to Chris Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
The annual ballot for the Theater Hall of Fame, for which ATCA members contitute 2/3 of the electorate, will arrive in August and need to be returned by Sept. 15. If you want to familiarize yourself with the HF, look at our accounts of the annual induction celebrations (scroll down for individual years back to 1998) or, for a list of members, visit the HF website.
Thanks to Wendy Rosenfield, the new ATCA website has a steady stream of Twitter links to commentary on criticism (@Theatre_Critics, orange boxes on the home page) and also links to ATCA member reviews and stories (@ATCA_Member, just below them). You should follow both, or just check in here frequently, using the Older Posts buttons to catch up. Some recent good stuff:
Anne Midgette (Washington Post) asks, “Does the web make criticism meaner?” Click here.
Arthur Brisbane, NYT Public Editor, writes, “WHEN critics criticize, there is light and there is friction. In my nearly two years as public editor, I’ve had a steady flow of reader complaints about The New York Times’s many critics.” For “The View from the Critic’s Seat,” Click here.
In a Huff Post column, “Does Criticizing Critics Cross a ‘Times’ Line?,” Howard Sherman (late of the Theater Wing), calls Brisbane’s column “a disappointment … it sets up a premise and then utterly fails to address it.” Click here.
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair of ATCA’s International Committee, sends word of the latest (sixth) edition of Critical Stages, the web journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). Go to the International Committee’s own web page or go direct to Critical Stages. Coming updates will include a report from the ATCA delegation (which Jenkins heads) to the IATC.
Maybe you missed the reference in the (excellent!) rush of ATCA tweets (those orange boxes up top on the left), so here it is again: the controversial Johann Hari defends criticism, most recently in Spin.
At the Chicago conference, the ATCA membership elected Michael Howley and Tim Treanor to three-year executive committee terms (until 2015). Re-elected to a second term was Barry Gaines (until 2015). Continuing excom members are Jonathan Abarbanel (2013), Jay Handelman (2013), Brad Hathaway (2014), Pamela Harbaugh (2013), Edward Rubin (2014) and Wendy Rosenfield (2014). Celebrated for completing their second terms were Barbara Bannon and Bill Hirschman.
The new excom then re-elected Handelman chair, Abarbanel vice-chair, Hathaway treasurer and Bannon secretary (serving ex-officio). For committee chairs and others, go to Leadership & Committees under About ATCA, above.
The Chicago conference produced plans for website changes, including ways to call attention to new content on internal pages and to members-only features. Most of this will have to wait a few weeks to allow for vacations and the inevitable post-conference exhaustion. But if you have changes to recommend, send us an email.
For news from the Chicago conference, scroll down.
For comments and discussion on the conference, including links to reviews, see the ATCA Blog (link above). Fresh comments and links continue to arrive.
Chicago, June 15 — In response to being honored at the 2012 ATCA annual conference for winning the 2011 Francesca Primus Prize, playwright Caridad Svich delivered a poetic evocation of “the dare of the page.” She began with thanks to ATCA, the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, Isabel Allende “for her blessing to write my own version of The House of the Spirits for the stage, Repertorio Espanol in NYC for first commissioning and producing … [it], and Main Street Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre and Teatro Mori in Chile for subsequent development and production of my English, Spanish and bilingual versions of the text.”
Then she began:
Measures of change mark a writer’s life
The first dazzling dare on the page
Becomes in time
The hundredth or thousandth stroke of courage
On a screen, notebook, or discarded piece of paper.
If at first the dare is suitably bold, somewhat precocious
Or even brazenly arrogant,
June 17, Sunday
- 10AM-Noon, continental breakfast, final General Membership Meeting, Silk Road Rising, 77 W. Washington Street, lower level. NOTE: the Chicago Temple Building houses a church in which services will be going on as we meet; please enter quietly and take the stairs or elevator down to the lower level.
- Noon, organizational meeting of new Executive Committee and Foundation Board.
- Departures for Milwaukee for those who have selected the Milwaukee add-on.
- Sunday matinee performances (generally 3PM or 4PM) for those who wish to see another Off-Loop show.
Terry Teachout delivers 20th anniversary Perspectives in Criticism address, 'The Power of Enthusiasm'
Chicago, June 15 — In a series extending back to 1992, Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal theater critic, delivered the Perspective in Criticism talk at the ATCA annual conference. Its success could be measured by the many conversations (and arguments) it occasioned. “Terry Teachout may be America’s Critic but so are we,” said ATCAn Charles Giuliano from the Berkshires.
Previous “Perspectives” speakers have included such well-known critics as Michael Finegold, Ernie Schier, Henry Hewes, Frank Rich, Dan Sullivan, Robert Brustein, Eric Bentley, and Jay Novick. Click here for a brief history of the series. Click below for Teachout’s full talk.
Scroll down for news about 2013 conference in West Virginia and award of 2012 Primus Prize to Tammy Ryan.
ALSO: read about this ATCA conference on the ATCA Blog (see link at top of page).
Schedule, Saturday, June 16
Breakfast on your own.
- 9:30AM-11:30AM, General Membership Meeting (ExCom nominations), MCA Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and 220 E. Chicago Avenue (actually at Pearson St., east of the Watertower).
- 11:30AM-1PM, A Conversation with Simon Callow, MCA Stage.
- 1PM-6:30PM FREE TIME, an opportunity to use your Passport to Chicago 2012, a gift from the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.
- 6:30PM, pre-show reception, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Pumping Station, 821 N. Michigan Avenue at Pearson Street; wine and light finger-food (not a meal replacement); opportunity to view the massive, working waterworks pumps.
- 7:30PM, world premiere performance of Eastland, Lookingglass Theatre Company
- 10PM-?, late-night options.
Chicago, June 14 — The American Theatre Critics Association voted today to hold its 2013 conference at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
The festival will be offering two commissioned productions and several other new works and staged readings, to be announced later in the year. Festival leaders are working with ATCA to secure discounted hotel rooms and transportation from Washington Dulles International Airport, the closest, to help attending members.
The festival, which will stage its 100th production next season, operates for a month in July in theater spaces at Shepherd University. It is an area filled with natural beauty near many historic sites, including Harper’s Ferry and Antietnam Battlefield. Details will follow in the months ahead.
PLAYWRIGHT TAMMY RYAN WINS $10,000 FRANCESCA PRIMUS PRIZE FOR 2012; DOMINIQUE MORRISEAU ALSO HONORED
Chicago, June 14, 2012 — The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) announced at its annual conference today that playwright Tammy Ryan has won the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods. She receives $10,000, a wall plaque and a chance to be celebrated 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.