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 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

Nottage’s Mlima, and His Tusks, Make Incredible ‘Tale’

“When I was young I was taught by my grandmother to listen to the night.”. The shirtless and magnificent Sahr Ngaujah kicks off and concludes Mlima’s Tale with direct address speeches that, along with Jo Bonney’s staging of the play, evoke deep dark spaces, inter-generational wisdom and danger in the distance.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

Outdated ‘Children of a Lesser God’ Falls on Deaf Ears

Sarah Norman, played by the luminous and graceful Lauren Ridloff in the new Broadway revival of Mark Medoff’s 1979 play, Children of a Lesser God, is a young deaf woman seeking her own voice and way to engage the world. The theme of women coming into their own, on their own terms, is long-established.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

‘Three Tall Women’: A Memory Play Through Class and Mirrors

Director Joe Mantello has crafted an exquisite waltz of a revival of Edward Albee’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning Three Tall Women, in which three phases of an unnamed woman’s life speak to, through, and around each other.
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.