Martha Wade Steketee

Critic. Dramaturg. Researcher.

New York, NY

Martha Wade Steketee

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 (, LMDA (, and LPTW (

She writes for numerous outlets including her own site 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.