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A Theater Criticism/Arts Journalism Primer

Refereeing the Muses

Bob Abelman and Cheryl Kushner

A Theater Criticism/Arts Journalism Primer: Refereeing the Muses examines the skill set associated with being a critic and arts journalist. It explores the history, evolution, and future of the profession in the United States, and carefully and purposefully dissects the preparation, observation, and writing process associated with generating thoughtful and interesting arts criticism.
Using theatrical productions as the best and most vivid example of a storytelling enterprise that employs creativity, imagination, collaboration, aesthetics, and artisanship to effectively engage an audience, this book is intended to generate the critical thinking and critical writing skills necessary to effectively engage in all forms of arts journalism.
It is designed to be used as a college-level textbook on theater criticism and arts journalism courses, for those looking to become more thoughtful, critical consumers, for casual critics thinking about starting a blog or working for their university newspaper, and for working critics hoping to improve their craft.
The text is written in an accessible style and includes quotes from renowned critics and arts practitioners throughout as well as frequent sidebars that offer timely, insightful, and entertaining examples of the points being made in the text.
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The authors would like to thank the following arts journalists, playwrights, artistic directors, directors, music directors, choreographers, scenic designers, actors, publicists and students, whose valuable insights into their enterprise and kind assistance made a significant contribution to this endeavor: Peter Marks, Jacqi Loewy, Vicky Bussert, Rajiv Joseph, Eric Coble, Tom Jacobson, Hilton Als, Carol Pribble, Lisa Craig, Christine Dolen, Kerry Lengel, Julie Kistler, Jay Handelman, Betsey Maupin, Damon Chua, Donald Jordan, Eric van Baars, Oliver Mayer, Seth Gordon, Patrick Dooley, Nick A. Olivero, Neil LaBute, Mark Jackson, Charlie Fee, Fabio Polanco, David Anthony Smith, Jonathan Cerullo, Tracee Patterson, Jeanne Beechwood, Stuart Brousel, Jessica Ryan, Jon Bastian, Che’Rae Adams, Patrick Seitz, Ava Roy, Mark Wilson, Sheila Callaghan, Tim Dang, Adria Dawn, Oliver Mayer, Jeff Revels, Jen Maisel, Matthew Wright, Sidonie Garrett, Josh Rhett Noble, Celeste Cosentino, Jodi Dominick, Fred Sternfeld, Dorothy Silver, Cameo Ibsen, Risa Brainin, Martin Friedman, Martín Céspedes, TJ Jozsa, Clyde Simon, Benjamin Rexroad, John H. Binkley, Derdriu Ring, Bebe Weinberg Katz, Leonard Jacobs, Leonard Conolly, Larry Laneer, Robert Waddell, Lindsey Christians, Nicole Gluckstern, Angie Fiedler Sutton, Mayank Keshaviah, Misha Berson, Thomas Sudik, Amanda Bura, Lillshell Gray, Kayleigh Joyce, and Mollie Ames.


Cover art is La promenade du Critique influent (The Promenade of the Influential Critic), by French lithographer Honoré Daumier from Le Charivari magazine, June 24, 1865. It is reprinted with permission by the Bridgeman Art Library.

Photography for the Preface title page is reprinted with permission...

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