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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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A Happening to Celebrate Birthday Girl Annie Ross

July 25, 2017 really is the 87th birthday of Annie Ross and marks the 11th year of regular appearances at the venue by this actress and jazz musician. The celebratory vibe at the Metropolitan Room this fine summer evening is deep and buzzy—Ms. Ross hasn’t been performing lately and we all want to welcome her back to the stage and raise a glass to her legacy.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Linda Lavin and the Women Who Haunt Her

Linda Lavin is a New York City girl who holds audiences rapt by comedic and dramatic performances on television, film, and stage. What cabaret lovers have discovered over the years is that that she brings all her performance skills and a now-burnished vocal instrument to storytelling in a cabaret setting.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Karrin Allyson Swings Low

The scene at Birdland this steamy July evening skews young—tables of college-aged pals, a large group of teens from Britain. The bubbling young crowd, perhaps here on a first visit to this venue, perhaps a first visit to the city, could perhaps have come on a lark, taking a chance on an unknown performer.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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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 Pizzazz 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

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 LMDA (lmda.org), ATCA (americantheatrecritics.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.