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ATCA Critics Join Award Winners At NYC Conference

ATCA Critics Join Award Winners At NYC Conference

What will two Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwrights have to say to each other in a room full of critics about creating drama based on real-life characters and events?

A conversation among Robert Schenkkan ("All the Way," "The Great Society," "The Kentucky Cycle"), Doug Wright ("I Am My Own Wife," "Quills," Grey Gardens") and director Bill Rauch will be featured the first morning of a three-day New York City conference of the American Theatre Critics Association that begins Friday.

More than 50 theater writers and critics from across the country will gather at the new MCC Theater complex to participate in panels and workshops on such subjects as cultural inclusion on stage, the evolving world of musicals and new wave of original cast recordings.

There will also be skill developmental sessions. One session about podcasting by Lauren Van Hemert, producer and host of the weekly RDU on Stage podcast rduonstage.com and another on the latest Google tools from Frank Bi, editorial engineer at SB Nation/Vox Media.

The gathering concludes with a talk by Tony and Olivier Award-winning Tom Kirdahy, producer of the Tony Award-winning "Hadestown," the just-opened "Little Shop of Horrors" and the two-part, six-hour Olivier Award-recipient "The Inheritance," by Matthew Lopez which opens on Broadway in mid-November.

The critics and writers will also hear from theater artists at a Saturday lunch at Sardi's. Guests include Tony Award-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger, Tony Award winner Lillias White, Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Tony Award-nominee Charles Busch, six-time Tony Award winner costume designer William Ivey Long, Tony Award-nominee Hallie Foote, Obie Award winner and Pulitzer finalist playwright Will Eno, "Forbidden Broadway" creator and Special Tony Award recipient Gerard Alessandrini, and other surprise guests.

Ross Golan ("The Wrong Man"), Michael R. Jackson ("A Strange Loop"), Georgia Stitt ("Hello, My Baby") will speak on the changing nature of musicals, moderated by Julie James, program director at Sirius XM.

Van Dean, president of Broadway Records, Kurt Deutsch, president of Sh-K-Boom Records, and Scott Farthing, Senior Vice President of Sony Masterworks Broadway, will address the crowd on sharing the sound of musicals beyond the stage. That panel will be moderated by Sean Patrick Flahaven, president of Concord Theatricals.

Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang ("Soft Power"), playwright Jeremy O. Harris ("Slave Play"), culture critic Soraya Nadia McDonald, playwright Nambi E. Kelley ("Native Son") and playwright Leah Nanako Winkler ("God Said") will speak on "writing with cultural awareness."

Winker will also receive the Francesca Primus Prize for her play "Two Mile Hollow" at the conference. The $10,000 prize is given annually to an emerging female playwright in recognition of a play that received a full production the previous season.

Also featured in conversation on the topic of "identity in theater criticism" is New York Times critic Laura Collins-Hughes.

The conference will include a curated tour of "In the Company of Harold Prince" at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) was founded in 1974 and works to raise standards and public awareness of the functions and responsibilities of theater critics. It is the only national association of professional theater critics and journalists, with over two hundred members working in print, broadcast, and online media. ATCA is a chapter of the International Association of Theatre Critics / Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (IATC-AICT), a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.

ATCA also presents the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, honoring emerging playwrights and administers the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award which grants $40,000.00 annually to recognize the best plays that premiered professionally outside New York City. Additionally, ATCA members recommend an annual candidate for the Tony Award for Regional Theatre presented by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League, and vote on the yearly inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.



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