Martha Wade Steketee

Critic. Dramaturg. Researcher.

New York, NY

Martha Wade Steketee

Lover of ghost lights, magic of live performance, and storytelling in song.



David Yazbek, Lullabies and The Band’s Visit Showstoppers

Monday night at Feinstein’s / 54 Below, David Yazbek’s multi-modal jazz band of extraordinary performers was family welcoming guests stopping by on their night off from The Band’s Visit. Some pals joined the gang on stage, some stayed in the audience, and all added to the charm.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story

In Joshua Harmon’s “Admissions,” the Real Test Is Racial Quotas

Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse stage this season has hosted two serious ruminations on the challenges of parenting and navigating the unpredictable waters of secondary school to college. In Dominique Morriseau’s Pipeline, a Black mother in a public high school fights to keep her child in the prep school she has fought to place him in.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Jomama Jones on Black Light and Seeing in the Dark

“What if I told you it’s going to be alright? … What if I told you it began tonight?” Black Light, starring Jomama and her musician “Vibrations” at Joe’s Pub, is part memoir, part fairy tale, part history lesson, part song cycle, and pure entertainment.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story

Off-Broadway, “An Ordinary Muslim” Offers Extraordinary Journey

“The problem is not the Jamaat," one character declares. "The problem is this family.”. “We’ve lost, Dad. There’s nothing for us here.”. Words of apparent surrender become, in the hands of playwright Hammaad Chaudry in An Ordinary Muslim, a look back to immigration battles won and lost, and a look ahead to battles of assimilation.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Putting the Pageant Cart Before the Plague

"We borrowed liberally from both the idea of a medieval pageant cart and the theatre of our last few centuries." Tony-winning designer David Zinn creates a playful medieval world for The Amateurs.
TDF Stages Link to Story

“Kings” Passes Bechdel Test, Drowns in Design

Playwright Sarah Burgess plums politics for her newest play Kings at the Public Theater. The production of this timely story of Washington, DC lobbyists and the politicians they serve just barely survives an overwhelming design — sounds disrupt, lights blind, and the set is unnecessarily twee. This is a better play than the design allows it to be.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Adrienne Kennedy’s New Play of Love, Race and Puppets

Details of her own rich biography are fodder for Adrienne Kennedy’s new, poetic theatrical work, He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, running at Theatre for a New Audience. Kennedy’s birth to an uneasy blend of white and Black relatives, in Pittsburgh in 1931, provides her with images and experiences that animate her first play in a decade.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

How a Tennis Match Changed the Conversation

"We were always interested in the play never being really firmly in 1973 -- it's always 2018 looking at 1973." It's fitting that a coed creative team decided to theatricalize the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between 29-year-old women's champion Billie Jean King and misogynistic 55-year-old huckster Bobby Riggs.
TDF Stages Link to Story

Orlandersmith Finds Documentary Theater in Ferguson, MO

In her resonant work Forever, first staged at Center Theatre Group in 2014 and then New York Theatre Workshop in spring 2015, playwright and performer Dael Orlandersmith includes herself as a character and observer in scenes that visit Paris, childhood abuse and memories of her mother. Creative intimates from her Forever production join in on this new adventure — Neel Keller (director), Takeshi Kata (sets), Kaye Voyce (costumes), Mary Louise Geiger (lighting).
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

When John Lithgow Called, He Said Yes

Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan is known for helming complex, multicharacter plays on Broadway, from sumptuous period pieces like last season's revival of The Little Foxes, to new works by the likes of David Auburn, Donald Margulies, and David Lindsay-Abaire. So what's he doing directing a very personal solo show? Oh, just helping his old pal, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor John Lithgow, pay tribute to his dad and the art of storytelling.
TDF Stages Link to Story

Ebersole and Stritch Sing of Snow and Memories at Birdland

Musicians who have played together for years reunite for two Birdland performances this December. Winter tunes, holiday tunes, tunes of remembrance and family and loss. Billy Stritch at the piano with a few choice and delicious vocals is both support and full-fledged stage partner to Christine Ebersole, who can diva with the best of them.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story

Nuclear Powerless: Cleaning the Mess Boomers Left Behind

Big themes and human-scale stories twine with elegance, humor and some horror in Lucy Kirkwood’s play The Children, now running on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. It’s the first NYC staging of a play seen most recently at London’s Royal Court Theatre; infidelity, guilt and generational legacy haunt a deceptively straightforward yet frequently surprising play.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story


Martha Wade Steketee

Martha Wade Steketee works as a researcher, policy analyst, editor, theater critic, dramaturg. She writes for numerous outlets including her own site that focuses on theater, film, and live performance.

Steketee has been a member of theater awards committees (Jeff in Chicago, Drama Desk in New York), script reader for theaters, festivals, and competitions, and works with playwrights and authors on works in development. Currently serves on the boards of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas ( and American Theatre Critics Association (

She lives in New York City with her husband, no pets, too many books, and four original Art Shay 1962 backstage photographs of Judy Garland at the Arie Crown in Chicago.