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 any writer who regularly publishes substantive pieces reviewing or otherwise critically covering theater.

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Join Us on Twitter: @theatre_critics and @atca_member
Member Blogroll
David Dow Bentley III is the, which can also be read at the Houston Chronicle and

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

Lindsay Christians is a full-time arts and food writer for The Capitol Times in Madison, Wis., where she has written theater reviews since 2008.

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

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.

Sandi Durell is publisher, editor, and a critic at Theater Pizzazz which covers Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater, including openings, red carpets events, and interviews.

Michael Grossberg  writes on theater, comedy and the arts in Theater Talk, for the Columbus Dispatch.

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.

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.

Aaron Krause is the editor of, founded by Alan Smason (Steppin’ Out, WYES-TV), which offers original theatre reviews and republishes current critical print works online.

David Lefkowitz publishes the theater website, 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 She also writes for —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 is the senior critic (part-time) for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and also appears regularly on KDKA-TV.

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

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

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



“Regional Saturday Conference” in Cincinnati, March 9, 2018, with add-ons March 9-11. Full info here.

ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical rep company west of Madison, Wisconsin. More here, and more to come. 



For the full text of each Milestone, click on the name; for all these and previous Milestones together, CLICK HERE. They are listed in the order (latest on top) they appeared in the weekly ATCA UPDATE.

KAREN TOPHAM, Chicago, is actively seeking theatre critics from around the country to become part of the expanded edition of her website, Contact her here.

ALAN SMASON, New Orleans, has launched a new website, seeks to post reviews from legitimate critics country-wide.

JOEL MARKOWITZ received a moving radio tribute Dec. 21.

RICK PENDER, Cincinnati, OH, has signed a contract to assemble The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia, a comprehensive reference anticipated to be completed in late 2019.

For full text of these and previous Milestones, CLICK HERE.

Do you have a Milestone to share? Member Milestones are generally for Transitions (new jobs, retirements), Achievements (awards, honors), Publications (books, TV specials) and Memorials (obituaries). Write a paragraph and send it here. Include a Twitter address in the paragraph so we can give it wider notice. 



After more than 33 years and (by her count) 13,000 reviews, the long-standing Chicago theater and arts critic Hedy Weiss has been let go by the Chicago Sun-Times. Reporting in the competing Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones writes that the sometimes controversial critic “fit into the decades-long Chicago tradition of powerful, hard-working and famously independent women writing about the arts, without compromise or apology.” Read Jones here. Here, the Chicago Business Journal reports. Weiss delivered ATCA’s 2015 Perspectives in Criticism talk in New Orleans: click for an audio recording.

As others see us: Amanda Peet on being devastated by a NY Times review and going cold turkey on reviews thereafter, click here.  

Martha Steketee’s accumulating interviews of critics for The Clyde Fitch Report (click for index).



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 (just [2017] handsomely redesigned) and its web journal, Critical Stages, where the current issue deals at length with Contemporary African Drama and Theatre.





The 2017 Tony Award for Regional Theater went, on ATCA’s recommendation, to the Dallas Theater Center in Texas.
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.} 

I “believe in culture as a social justice and social change project, which requires not just looking at how ‘good’ a performance is, but at what it does in the world.” — Jill S. Dolan, critic for “The Feminist Spectator” (Princeton University, Dean of the College).

“The Internet allows an avalanche of opinion for infinite sources, many of them rubbish, mean-spirited and lazy. But there’s some terrific writing out there too, and best of all there are so many new ways of reviewing.” — Frank Rizzo, 33 years as Hartford Courant critic, now writes for Variety and many more.

* Previous Pull Quotes are ASSEMBLED HERE 

Past Conferences


New York Weekend Conference, November 3, 4 and 5, 2017. Details. 


San Francisco annual conference, 2017



NYC weekend conference, 2016 (for reports and details, scroll down central column)

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

2015 NYC Weekend Conference
Sherry Eaker & Ira Bilowit, chairs


2015 New Orleans Conference 
Alan Smason, chair 


2014 Weekend Conference
New York City

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

Indianapolis, Indiana
March 21-24, 2013
Lou Harry, Chair 


Chicago, June 13-17, 2012
Jonathan Abarbanel, Chair
See ATCA BLOG for short takes

Milwaukee Add-On
Anne Siegel, Chair
June 17-20, 2012


Colorado New Play Summit
Denver Center Theatre Company, Feb 10-12, 2012

Ashland, Oregon July 6-10, 2011
Chris Rawson, Chair 

Logo by Tim Menees after Honore Daumier

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 event logos



(above) Sarasota, 2009. 




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


Theater Hall of Fame ballots coming next week

ATCA members are due shortly to receive their 2014 ballots for the Theater Hall of Fame. Voting is a privilege but mainly a pleasure, so watch for your ballot. In the meantime, read about the Hall of Fame on the ATCA site and look at the list of 519 Hall members on the Hall’s own site. Address questions here.


NCI concludes first year under Chris Jones

The annual National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Conn., just finished its first year underDan Sullivan (right) and fellows in a previous year. Chris Jones (Chicago Tribune). Known for years as a “boot camp for critics,” NCI has broadened its subject to theater writing. Word is that Jones brought fresh energy to the intensive program, proving a worthy successor to NCI founder Ernie Schier (1968-1998) and Dan Sullivan(1999-2013). Foundation ATCA supports NCI with an annual scholarship, this year $2,000.


Pat Feldhaus retires, still singing

After 22 happy years of ATCA membership, Pat Feldhaus, who reviewed for various Northern California dailies, has retired. “Thank you for all my good times,” she says, especially ATCA conferences (including London, 1995), at which she would write and perform a song about the event. She also used her IATC card to write about plays around the world, but at 85, she finds travel difficult. “I’ve done all the things I’ve wanted to.”


Signature Theatre wins 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award

*Added June 9: Here’s a video of Signature’s Tony Award acceptance speech, nicely including ATCA.*

The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced April 28 that the 2014 Regional Theatre Award will go to New York’s Signature Theatre, based on the recommendation of ATCA, which makes its choice through a confidential internal process of proposals and balloting. We are delighted our recommendation was accepted, as it has been every year since the award was instituted at ATCA’s suggestion in 1976. The award will be presented along with the other Tonys on June 8. Award announcement here; previous winners here. The award includes a grant of $25,000.


Chair’s ‘State of ATCA’ report

In its 40th year, ATCA is financially stable and looking to reach out to new critics. New officers elected, new programs planned, new thinking at Foundation ATCA. This fall, New York; next year, New Orleans; the year after, Moscow … uh, Philadelphia.

Click to read more ...


Winding down ATCA/Humana

With two new members, the new excom meets on the afternoon of April 5. In full view (right): Jonathan Abarbanel, Myrna Petlicki, Erin Keane.

That night, a brief appearance is made by a sheetcake honoring ATCA’s 40th birthday (born in 1974): (at the left) from left, chair Abarbanel; Osborn Prize winner Topher Payne; former chair and Foundation president Jay Handelman; Foundation board member Glenn Loney; former chair Chris Rawson.


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 ...


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.


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.)


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


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.


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.


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 ...


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.  


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 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.

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