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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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A ABBA, 125 Abbot and Costello, 150n24 Abbott, Bud, 137 Abelman, Bob, 246, 248–249 Absurdism, 127 Academy Awards telecast, 4 Academy of Country Music Awards telecast, 4 Acculturation, 192 Active voice, 221 Actor, 21, 73–74, 78, 83–84, 123, 131, 132, 144, 155, 169, 170–174, 180, 194, 213 and the critic, 32, 35, 43, 76, 82, 154, 174, 239–240, 243, 249 evaluation of, 17, 33, 37, 82, 172–174, 195, 219 and rhetorical devices, 172 see also Paradox of Actors’ Equity Association, 93, 99, 115n8, 171, 236 Adams, Charles, 81 Adams, John, 81 Adams. John Quincy, 81 Addams Family, The, 5 Adjmi, David, 66 Adler, Stella, 103 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 215 Advertising revenue, 32, 80, 159 Aeschylus, 74, 87n6, 92, 133 Aesthetic distance, 54, 144, 193 Agee, James, 21, 113 Aisle Say, 185 Aisle-sitters of Gotham, 99–100 Akins, Zoë, 99 Albee, Edward, 54, 101 Algonquin Round Table, 98, 99 Alighieri, Dante, x All About Eve, 109 All My Children, 143 All Shook Up, 125 All’s Well That Ends Well, 64 Allen, Peter, 125 Als, Hilton, 66, 90, 108, 114n1, 172–173, 189 Amaringo, Pablo, xi, 23, 24, 43, 44–45 Ambassadors Theatre, 136 American Association of University Professors, The, 20 American Book Review, 215 American Dad, 4 American Magazine and Historical Chronicle, 78 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 107 American Society of Features Editors, 112 American Theatre, 112, 185, 229–230 Analytic, The, 81 Ancient Greek theater, ix, 1,...

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