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.



 ATCA’s 2018 annual conference will be held July 10-15, 2018 at American Players Theatre, a classical repertory company in Spring Green, west of Madison, Wisconsin. ATCA members and guests can register here. 



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


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.


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.


Chris Jones to head NCI

The O’Neill Theater Center’s search for a new director of the National Critics Institute has selected Chris Jones. For 15Chris Jones, new NCI head years theater critic for the Chicago Tribune (and before that, Variety), Chris chairs ATCA’s committee on the regional theater Tony. He succeeds Dan Sullivan, previously critic at the Los Angeles Times, who in turn succeeded the late Ernie Schier, NCI founder and previously critic at the Philadelphia Bulletin; both were also founders of ATCA. To complete the circle, the O’Neill was the birthplace of ATCA, which underwrites an NCI scholarship each summer. Links:
O’Neill Center announcement.
About Chris Jones
This summer’s NCI (June 28-July 12) and how to apply. 


Theatre Hall of Fame inducts 8

The Theater Hall of Fame, for which ATCA members are theEllen Burstyn and Betty Buckley (Aubrey Reuben photos) bulk of the electorate, inducted its class of 2013 on Jan. 27 at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre: Ellen Burstyn (inducted by Betty Buckley), Lorraine Hansberry (posthumously, by Phylicia Rashad), David Hays (daughter Julia Hays), Cherry Jones (Zachary Quinto), Cameron Mackintosh (in absentia, by Robert Wankel), Lynne Meadow (Sarah Jessica Parker), George C. Wolfe Jr. (John Guare) and Jerry Zaks (Jack Viertel). Emcee Joel Grey started the evening with a customized version of “Welkommen” from Cabaret.

The fullest account of the evening (click here) is in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

For an extraordinary induction speech, given by Julia Hays about her father, David (whom ATCA members cannot have fully known when they voted for him), click here


ATCA member Randy Gener assaulted

Hopeful update from ATCA chair (Feb. 10) 
Police say not a hate crime (Jan. 30).
comprehensive update (Jan. 28).
Update about the arrest of a suspect (Jan 29).
Howard Sherman column, with pictures of the candlelight vigil (Jan. 28).
NYT report.
How to contact Randy.
Some ATCA responses. 

Long-time ATCA member Randy Gener, 2008 winner of theRandy Gener George Jean Nathan Award, was assaulted at midtown Manhattan on Jan. 17 and taken to a hospital where he had brain surgery. A LGBT activist, Randy may have been victim of a hate crime. A free-lancer, Randy had no health insurance: fund-raising is underway
There will be a candlelight vigil in Manhattan at 7th and 53rd this evening (Sunday, Jan. 26) at 6 pm. All ATCA grieves.

Some of Randy’s accomplishments.

Randy’s sister is posting current information on his Facebook page.

There will be a prayer rally for Randy at the Philippine Consulate this evening (Monday, Jan. 27) at 7 pm.


Couple of Critical Controversies

Sarasota’s Asolo Rep was slapped down by Brian Friel for making significant changes in “Philadelphia, Here I Come,” as reported by Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune). In “Who Thinks It’s OK to ‘Improve’ Playwrights’ Work?,” Howard Sherman points out the issues are legal as well as moral and aesthetic.

In the debate over “August: Osage County,” some movie critics have had opinions on a play they haven’t seen. Chris Jones (Chicago Tribune) clears some air with “Don’t pit ‘August’ the movie vs. play.”


Young Critics Seminar in Hungary, March 24-29

Any ATCA member 35 or younger is eligible, and there’s still time to join. Most expenses are paid.
Deadline to apply is Feb. 15.

Click to read more ...


ATCA/Humana, April 2-6

Registration now open for ATCA’s 40th anniversary conference!

If you’d like to be persuaded to attend, click below.
Otherwise, go right to these links:
Conference Registration and 
Galt House (Hotel) — or phone them at 800-626-1814

The bluegrass will be extra-blue, the bourbon will be extra-strong and every play will be exciting (we hope) when ATCA gathers in Louisville, April 2-6, for its 40th Anniversary Annual Conference… .

Click to read more ...


Four dozen top ten lists for 2013

Click below for an index to some (hardly all) “bests” or “top ten” theater lists for 2013, not from just NYC but also Albany, Atlanta, the Berkshires, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, South Florida, Utah and Washington D.C. The lists vary: Note Don Aucoin’s (Boston), celebrating “most adroit scene-stealing” and “most likely to make you want to hit the bars afterward for a good stiff drink.”

(Send links to any additional lists to the editor; they’ll be added if they’re (1) by ATCA members, (2) by non-members from major outlets, or (3) the only list we can find for that city. NOTE: since being posted Jan. 13, the index has continued to grow.)

Click to read more ...


Inducters for Theater Hall of Fame

In yesterday’s column, Liz Smith lists (most of) the inductersLiz Smith for the upcoming Theater Hall of Fame ceremony (Jan. 27): Sarah Jessica Parker, Zach Quinto, Phylicia Rashad, Robert Wankel, Jack Viertel, John Guare and Betty Buckley. They’ll present inductees George Wolfe, Ellen Burstyn, Cherry Jones, Lynne Meadow, Jerry Zaks, Cameron Mackintosh, Lorraine Hansberry and David Hays. (There’s one inducter  missing, and the others don’t match up in just that order. How do you think they’ll pair up? For more, scroll down or click here.)


ATCA members Bill Green and Barbara Gross pass away

Theater historian William Green, professor of English at Queens College-CUNY for 52 years, died Nov. 13, age 87. Bill was an active guest at ATCA conferences for many years before someone finally ruled that his writing about Broadway qualified him to join. His chief scholarly work was on Shakespeare, and he was an officer of the American Society of Theatre Research and the International Federation for Theatre Research. His impish, thoughtful participation in ATCA will be greatly missed.

Barbara Gross, an ATCA member for some 20 years, passed away Nov. 20, age 66. Unknown to most who enjoyed her quiet, perceptive presence at ATCA conferences, she had had a long battle with cancer. An alum of the critics boot camp at the O’Neill Theater Center, she was a free-lancer for Backstage, the Washington Post and Playbill. Her day job was as a writer with the National Institutes of Health, from which she retired in 2010.

ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel pays tribute here to both Barbara and Clara Hieronymus. 


Clara Hieronymus, ATCA founder and 40-year critic for Nashville Tennessean, dies at 100

The doyenne of American theater critics, Clara was one of ATCA’s founders, following Henry Hewes in the central role of executive secretary, 1984-2001. She died Saturday in Savannah, Tenn., according to her daughter-in-law Martha Hieronymus, who told Evans Donnell of ArtsNash, “She went peacefully at home around 9:05 p.m.” Evans first reported her passing; here’s The Tennessean’s full obituary. You should find some comments on the ATCA Facebook page.

ATCA chair Jonathan Abarbanel pays tribute below to both Clara and Barbara Gross (above).

Click to read more ...


NCI seeks new director: apply now!

If ATCA has a home, it’s where it was born in 1974, under the copper beeches at the O’Neill Theater Center, home  of the annual National Critics Institute. NCI has had just two directors -– Ernie Schier and Dan Sullivan, both founding members of ATCA -– and Dan has just retired. NCI is seeking his successor, as O’Neill executive director Preston Whiteway explains in the following letter seeking applicants. The deadline to apply is Nov. 15. 

Click to read more ...


Spotlight on Broadway

“Spotlight on Broadway” is an ambitious, fact- and people-filled website devoted to the history, architecture and much more of the 40 Broadway theaters. Executives, producers, designers, architects, historians and lots and lots of actors provide video background and anecdotes. Former ATCA chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins provided historical research on all the theaters and is featured talking about 27 of them. Take a look.