Martha Wade Steketee

Critic. Dramaturg. Researcher.

New York, NY

Martha Wade Steketee

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



In ‘Mary Page Marlowe,’ Six Actors Create One (Un-) Exceptional Woman

Six actors and a fake baby in sequential performances dramatize one woman’s life journey in Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater. The story is an expertly selected set of key points in this woman’s life, from infancy to terminal diagnosis. And it’s a kind and cruel and glorious ride.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Vivian Reed Performs Her Story to a Lena Horne Set List

We assembled to celebrate, with Broadway Baby and cabaret veteran Vivian Reed, what would have been Lena Horne’s 101st birthday.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story

Ezra, Henry and a Refuge From Adulthood in ‘Log Cabin’

What happens when you fold three couples with overlapping friendships and lurking past connections up against one another, throw in gender flexibility and sexual shenanigans, and add an element magic realism where infants speak more coherently than the adult caregivers around them? In playwright Jordan Harrison‘s Log Cabin, currently running at Playwrights Horizons, you have an old-fashioned romantic farce and comedy of manners seen through an early-21st-century social and political lens.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

In the Theater of Nwandu, Black Men Yearn to ‘Pass Over’

Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over, currently at Lincoln Center Theater, invites comparison with other plays but, in the end, stands on its own. “Waiting for Godot Meets Black Lives Matter,” mused Chris Jones in his Chicago Tribune review of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 2017 world premiere — and the text and plot does hint at Samuel Beckett’s Godot, as well as the call-and-response conventions of vaudeville and sketch comedy.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

“The Camera is My Beloved”: Memran on Fornés

"The Rest I Make Up" is a poetic rumination by filmmaker Michelle Memran about playwright María Irene Fornés, now in her late 80s and living with late-stage Alzheimer’s. The film is a visual and literary love letter to its subject. I talked with Michelle in late February 2018, about a week after the film’s world premiere screening at MOMA.
HowlRound Link to Story

At Last, There’s ‘Peace for Mary Frances’ (and Lois Smith)

In The New Group’s production of Lily Thorne’s painful and beautiful play Peace for Mary Frances, an extended family contends with an aging parent and numerous family legacies. One by one, in groups of two and three and four and sometimes more, family members and health care workers cope with both past and present and hope for the future.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Unpacking The Role Of Women In Ibsen’s “The Enemy Of The People”

Goodman’s Resident Dramaturg on how her work gives texture and specificity to a production.
The Theatre Times Link to Story

‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire’ Feels Dim

Caryl Churchill’s 1976 play Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, now revived Off-Broadway by New York Theatre Workshop, takes its title from a 1648 political pamphlet outlining the sources of economic slavery amid a murky mess of religion and politics. The execution of Charles I in 1649 then left England without a king, and years of oppressive, experimental governance ensued.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Women Count: Women Hired Off-Broadway 2010-2017

Whose plays are being done, who is directing them, and how many women are being hired for theatrical off-stage roles?

Positation in Action: Director Erin Ortman’s Multi-Year Journey with the Arabian Nights

Several coincidences align to admit me to design meetings, workshop readings, and rehearsal rooms for One Thousand Nights and One Day [OTNAOD], a musical based on Jason Grote’s play 1001, produced by Prospect Theater Company.
HowlRound Link to Story

Despite Stiff Staging, Deft Denzel Warms ‘Iceman Cometh’

On the page, Eugene O’Neill’s mammoth and imperfect four-act play The Iceman Cometh comes at you through a series of monologues, some raucous camaraderie, and spates of fisticuffs. Set over a two-day period in Harry Hope’s bar in lower Manhattan in 1912, lives are bemoaned, redeemed, relieved and perhaps resolved.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

This Play Wouldn't Exist Without Her Students

"It's a remarkable thing to watch people turn from children to adults, to watch them become themselves." Obie-winning playwright Lucy Thurber is as interested in talking about her teaching experiences as her new drama Transfers at MCC Theater.
TDF Stages 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 served on theater awards committees (Jeff in Chicago, Drama Desk and Henry Hewes Design Award in New York); reads scripts for theaters, festivals, and competitions; and works with writers on plays and books in development. Has served on the boards of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and League of Professional Theatre Women, and is currently on the Executive Committee of the 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.