Why Read This Column

Headshot Final – Square

Cathy Hammer, Member of the American Theatre Critics Association. Photo by Joyce Anderson.



I grew up in New York City and theater has always played a leading role in my cultural life.  My mother’s best friend was Marian Seldes, a glorious Broadway actress who secured a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having never missed a performance of the long-running Death Trap.  It was she who gave me my first peek backstage at live production.

Although I eventually moved into television professionally, joining the Directors Guild of America in 1988, the stage remained my first love as an audience member.  I was therefore thrilled to be given membership in the Drama Desk in 2015.  This opportunity was followed by an invitation to join the American Theatre Critics Association in 2017.  I have learned a great deal about theatre journalism from my fellow critics and maybe more importantly from the playwrights I have had the pleasure to meet.

It is essential that theater stays vibrant, varied, and accessible.  This can only happen if audience members are driven by their own tastes and not solely by large marketing budgets and buzz.  It is from that viewpoint that I created my column and make this pledge to my readers:

1) I will keep personal opinion to a minimum and instead provide a sense of what makes every event special.  In this way you can better determine what appeals to you and how to spend your ticket dollars wisely.

2) While I will cover some well publicized shows, my emphasis will be on emerging artists, playwrights of color, and lesser-heard voices.  Often presented at smaller venues, these productions usually offer more reasonable ticket prices.

3) If you are looking for a blow-by-blow plot description, look elsewhere.  Reviews will be spoiler-free.  I love to watch a play unfold and will strive to preserve that experience for you.

If all of this sounds good to you, then read on.  Feel free to leave comments, particularly if you have a suggestion for how I can better serve the theater-going community.  You are also invited to check out my lengthier columns on Theater Pizzazz, edited by Sandi Durell.


One thought on “Why Read This Column

  1. Kim February 10, 2015 at 5:35 pm Reply

    Wonderful! Just wonderful!


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