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Martha Wade Steketee

Critic. Dramaturg. Researcher.

New York, NY

Martha Wade Steketee

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

Featured

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Theater Critic Helen Shaw: Monster in the Audience

Debates about cultural criticism question its relevance, who is and is not a critic, and the audience for critical writing. We believe critics themselves must not be sidelined from these debates. In our occasional series, Critical I, critics tell their own stories and offer their personal views of criticism.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Barb Jungr and John McDaniel Find the Zing in Sting

British-born Barb Jungr is often described in creative cross-breed superlatives: Edith Piaf meets Carmen McRae, jazz meets blues, pop rock meets the Great American Songbook. She is, in fact, an absolutely charming raconteur with a taste for pop rock song stylists, with whom you are delighted to spend time in an intimate performance venue.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Seth Sikes Embraces His Divas

I am a fan of the divas that inspire the passionate fandom Seth Sikes revealed in his June 24 cabaret show. I’ve wondered, as I’ve read reviews of his tribute show appearances over the past few years, whether his performance style would land as gushing fan boy, assiduous fan, or somewhere in between.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Cultural Omnivore, Arts Critic: The Vanguard of Jose Solis

Debates about cultural criticism question its relevance, who is and is not a critic, and the audience for critical writing. We believe critics themselves must not be sidelined from these debates. In our occasional series, Critical I, critics tell their own stories and offer their personal views of criticism.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Hal David’s Magic Moments in Memory and Song

We make our way to the second floor Buttenwieser Hall at the 92nd Street Y on a sultry June evening without benefit of functioning elevators. Our goal: an upper floor concert hall in which we are promised recollections of the life and legacy of lyricist Hal David in words by his widow Eunice David and in song by assembled guest artists.
Theater Pizzaz Link to Story
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Evangeline – Moves Elegantly but Loses the Plot

Remembering Evangeline, written and directed by Renee Philipp, begins gradually, proceeds in elegant movements, offers images and intriguing visual and aural juxtapositions, and lands 60 minutes later suggesting a journey of sorts, and loads of textual questions. Why make this titular reach to an epic poem concerning two separated lovers on a single continent when the story you’re telling is expanded to an international, war-influenced story involving a daughter and rejection of culture and loads of other stories?
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Parity, Politics, and Survival: WiTFESTNYC 2017

This June, the Women in Theatre Festival (with its creatively capitalized WiTFESTNYC tag) will unfurl its second year of programming, helmed by Project Y Theatre Company artistic director Michole Biancosino. WiTFESTNYC grew out the company’s work in gender parity. “We had a gender parity reading series where we required plays to have 50 percent or more women in the cast or be written by women,” Biancosino explains.
Brooklyn Rail Link to Story
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How Diep Tran Hones Her Theater Criticism — With Anger

It is fashionable to debate the importance of cultural criticism. The debate questions what criticism is and who is and is not a critic, challenges us to imagine what the audience for criticism should be, and considers proper critical comportment. We believe critics themselves must not be sidelined from the debate.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Karen Mason and Songs of Love Just in Time

I’ve spent the past 12 hours melting into the memory of Karen Mason’s voice. Her current show Mason in May runs for the rest of the month in Don’t Tell Mama, the intimate New York cabaret space that she helped to open in 1982. The long narrow main theater space wraps its low-lit warmth around audience and performer, underscoring each sigh, each smile, each wise articulation.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Jamie deRoy Hosts the Toast of Broadway Old and New

Broadway performances past and present were evoked in the newest “Jamie deRoy & Friends” cabaret show on the intimate Birdland stage. This established, curated, and regular series of ensemble shows hosted by the personable deRoy has appeared in a range of venues around town. Sunday’s show took its theme from the theater awards season and the Tonys, featuring award winners and aspirants from across the years who delivered rare tunes from forgotten shows as well as beloved standards.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Making More Space for Latinx Artists

"How can our Latino writers be in conversation with the writers that are produced in mainstream theatre?" A traumatized doctor named Moisés sits in a washtub filled with pineapples that he repeatedly crushes open and bites into. A badly wounded character whimpers in pain, unattended, in an upstage courtyard while paralyzed townspeople listen.
TDF Stages Link to Story
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Finding the Personal in the Political

"Smaller revolutions within people accumulate and have impacts that echo in a community." How one social justice theatre company uses real-life stories to inspire its art. Last summer, Houses on the Moon, a socially focused, community-committed theatre company, began developing a pair of projects about gun violence.
TDF Stages Link to Story

About

Martha Wade Steketee

Martha Wade Steketee works as a researcher, policy analyst, editor, theater critic, and dramaturg.

She 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 developing their work. She currently serves on the boards of ATCA (americantheatrecritics.org), LMDA (lmda.org), and LPTW (theatrewomen.org).

She writes for numerous outlets including her own site UrbanExcavations.com that focuses on theater, film, and live performance.

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