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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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Review: The Price at American Airlines Theatre

Arthur Miller wrote The Price in the late 1960s when he was in his early 50s and America was erupting in civil demonstration about wars and race relations. His domestic drama of legacies and antagonisms between brothers was hemmed in and energized by that cultural reality. The Roundabout revival directed by Terry Kinney, deflates the animating tensions.
Exeunt Magazine Link to Story
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Roundtable: Is Jesse Green the right choice for the New York Times?

As yet another white man is hired to the most prestigious job in US theatre criticism, Exeunt's New York writers ask when the conversation will really change. [Steketee offerings at the end.]
Exeunt Magazine Link to Story
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Fornes Meets O’Neill in Talbott’s Gravedigger’s Lullaby

For the trio of society’s cast-offs at the core of Jeff Talbott’s 90-minute play The Gravedigger’s Lullaby, life is having a pot with barely enough stew, a work day sweating over laundry or digging graves, and an evening enduring an inconsolable baby’s cries.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Chess Match No. 5 – Movement, Light, Sound, A Board Game

The experiential onslaught of Chess Match No. 5 begins as you enter the steeply pitched seating of the June Havoc Theatre. Suspended iridescent strings of bare bulbs – a not infrequent element of set designs over the past few years – are illuminated before the show begins at high intensity. Audience members to a person squint, shield their eyes, settle in, prepare for something new.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Chris Rawson, Theater Critic, On Honoring August Wilson

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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Wrestling With the Legacy of a Real-Life Attorney

"They were very upset with some of his later cases, had fights with him." Playwright Jeffrey Sweet was inspired by a shock of hair and a lanky swagger. "It started off as a fairly pedestrian impulse," Sweet says of his play Kunstler, about the activist attorney William Kunstler. "As I was watching the documentary Disturbing the Universe by Kunstler's daughters Sarah and Emily, I thought: he looks like Jeff McCarthy on a really bad day."
TDF Stages Link to Story
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Catherine Filloux and Poetic Political Theater

Filloux's "Kidnap Road" is a story of global and personal politics, professional aspirations of women, family legacy, kidnapping as power and cultural turmoil.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Bill Hirschman: Theater Criticism’s Cockeyed Optimist

It is fashionable to debate the importance of cultural criticism. The debate questions what criticism is, who is and is not a critic, challenges us to imagine what the audience for criticism should be and to think about 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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Class Fades In

Class, culture, language, appropriation, and integrity underscore the quiet power of Tanya Saracho’s Fade produced by Primary Stages at the Cherry Lane Theater. A story about storytelling, a play about the creative process, a demonstration of culture meeting commerce and two characters from very different worlds who meet at work.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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A Most Visible Baby Mama on Multiple Births

Edgy and sweet, tenacious and joyous, raucous and calm, crude and demure: Mariah MacCarthy long has been refining a theater of extremes.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Tulis McCall on Aging, Invisibility and Regret

“When you’re a woman of a certain age,” Tulis McCall impishly informs us, “regret is everywhere.”
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Ute Lemper: Brecht, Bukowski, and Broken Hearts

Ute Lemper was framed in her recent 54 Below engagement by comfort and edginess – black leather pants topped with a short sleeveless black sheath dress. These costuming contrasts were mirrored in the juxtaposition of her elegant physicality (dancing arms and calm composure) with the grit of her lyrical substance and the smooth growls of her vocals.
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), and a script reader for theaters, festivals, and competitions. She currently serves on the boards of ATCA (americantheatrecritics.org), LMDA (lmda.org), and LPTW (theatrewomen.org).

She writes for numerous outlets including HowlRound and TDF Stages. Her blog UrbanExcavations.com primarily focuses on 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.