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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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Praise for A Theater Criticism/Arts Journalism Primer

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Praise for

A THEATER CRITICISM/ARTS JOURNALISM PRIMER

“Bob Abelman and Cheryl Kushner’s accessible and information-rich primer is useful to beginners eager to develop their critical voices. It’s also worthwhile to those of us who have been practicing criticism for years but need to recall the basics: Why we write criticism, how to do it well, and why it matters.”

—David Cote, theater editor and chief drama critic, Time Out New York

“A Theater Criticism/Arts Journalism Primer provides an element-by-element analysis of what goes into constructing an artful, journalistically sound review. The book’s insights into how critics prepare and then react to a work of art are valid and valuable. The authors also acknowledge that the best criticism, like the work it analyzes, requires creativity.”

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