Karen Topham : Owner/Critic; Member American Theatre Critics Association

Karen Topham

Owner/Critic; Member American Theatre Critics Association

I have a long history with Chicago, having graduated from Northwestern in 1978 with a BA in English (with some theatre thrown in for fun) and a year later again with a Masters in Teaching. I also have a Masters in Directing from Roosevelt, and I taught high school English, Creative Writing, and Drama around here for almost four decades. During that time, I spent 23 years coaching forensics and directed 37 plays: I’ve been breathing the stage for a long, long time. I've also written four novels that silly agents don't think are worth publishing and I am a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. Oh, and I was the first transgender teacher to transition in place in America, which was a hoot. No wonder I needed to retire. Now I wish to immerse myself in the footlights in one way or another, and that passion, together with my experience as both a director and an English teacher, led me to start this site. When not watching plays (or spending hours driving to the city to do so), I hang out with my husband or my cats, or I talk to my grown children. Or I read or write; yeah, there’s still that...

karen@chicagoonstage.com http://www.twitter.com/@chicagonstage ; @chidramagirl


Kelly Romack MacBlane : theatre critic

Kelly Romack MacBlane

theatre critic

Theatre has always been a part of Kelly’s life but it became a passion after she saw her first professional musical, Les Miserables, while in 6th grade. Kelly has a degree from Northwestern University where she double majored in Theater and History and a Master’s of Education from DePaul. Currently she is a theatre and history teacher at Lake Forest High School where she has directed over 15 plays and musicals including last year’s production of Urinetown for which she and her co-director were nominated for a directing award from the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards. When Kelly is not teaching or directing, she is watching and playing baseball with her husband and 3, 6, and 9-year-old sons.

kmacblane@lfschools.net http://www.twitter.com/


Lauren Van Hemert : USAOnStage Critic

Lauren Van Hemert

USAOnStage Critic

Lauren Van Hemert is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where she majored in Journalism with a minor in Theater. Prior to graduation, Van Hemert hosted her own weekly talk show on Public Radio WDNA Miami and worked as a production intern for As The World Turns. A native of Miami, Florida, Van Hemert’s love of theater started at an early age during a New York trip when her father took her to see the revival of OklahomaThe Music Man starring Dick Van Dyke, and Peter Pan, starring Sandy Duncan. She currently lives in Cary, North Carolina with her husband and two children. In addition to being a freelance writer, Lauren is a Regional Contributing Editor to Broadway World.  Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @onlylaurenart.

vanhemla@gmail.com http://www.twitter.com/@onlylaurenart


Beverly Friend : Critic; Member American Theatre Critics Association

Beverly Friend

Critic; Member American Theatre Critics Association

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a BS in English (1956) and Northwestern University with a PHD (1976), I have been reviewing plays for the past 20 plus years for Pioneer Press, the Lerner Newspapers and Chicagocritic.com, and am a member of the American Theater Critics Association. I am a retired professor of English and Journalism at Oakton Community College. My 1975 doctoral dissertation was "The Science Fiction Fan Cult," and I was both a book reviewer and science fiction critic for the Chicago Daily News. Sixty-five years after the shock of being told "There are no girls in the marching band" at the University of Wisconsin, I have returned to my love of drumming as a percussionist with the North Shore New Horizons band.

friend@oakton.edu http://www.twitter.com/


Kitty Drexel : Boston Area Critic, American Theatre Critics Association member

Kitty Drexel

Boston Area Critic, American Theatre Critics Association member

Kitty Drexel is a Massachusetts artist living with Brachial Plexus Palsy, a paralysis affecting her left arm. The Orangina, thin skinned bigot currently occupying the White House enables behaviors that dismantle free-thinking investments in the arts and humanities. Please go to https://www.arts.gov for ways to support the Arts. Mrs. Drexel reigns as Queen at the New England Theatre Geek.

kmdrexel@gmail.com http://www.twitter.com/


Aaron Krause : FL critic; American Theatre Critics Association member

Aaron Krause

FL critic; American Theatre Critics Association member

Aaron Krause is a native South Floridian who has reviewed live theater for about 15 years. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and maintains a reviewing blog at www.theatricalmusings.com. He also is editor of a new website, www.theatrecriticism.com, founded by ATCA member Alan Smason. In addition, Aaron reviews for www.berkshirefinearts.com as a Florida correspondent. He is a freelance writer living near Ft. Lauderdale.

aarkrau@aol.com http://www.twitter.com/


Joe De Rosa : Critic

Joe De Rosa

Critic

Joe De Rosa is a part-time writer, full-time teacher, and all-time dad. In his spare moments, he enjoys reading, running, writing theater reviews, thinking about going on vacation, and baseball. You can follow him on twitter @joe_derosa_.

jderosa@lfschools.net http://www.twitter.com/@joe_derosa_


Bradley Laas : Critic-at-large

Bradley Laas

Critic-at-large

Bradley Laas is currently pursuing his B.A. in one form or another of the liberal arts at DePaul University. His most recent majors include Theater, Religion, Philosophy, and Political Science. The only thing consistent in his life is his love for theater. He is beyond thankful his dear friend Karen Topham reached out with this opportunity.

bradleylaas@gmail.com http://www.twitter.com/


Jason Rusch : Critic-at-large

Jason Rusch

Critic-at-large

Jason Phoebe Rusch has an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. His stories, poems and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Lambda Literary Poetry Spotlight and Vice, among others. More of his writing can be found at www.jasonphoeberusch.com.

phoebus@umich.edu http://www.twitter.com/


Mark Osing :

Mark Osing



And now for a MUSIC(AL) VIDEO

A quick note: I don’t own or have anything to do with this. I just enjoyed it and wanted to share. It is the winning video from this week’s Musical Video of the Week Challenge on our Facebook page. To vote in our new contest and determine which video make the home page, go here.