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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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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
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Outdated ‘Children of a Lesser God’ Falls on Deaf Ears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
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‘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
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Can Conservative Values and Progressive Politics Coexist?

"I took some great lessons from learning the Gospel as a kid, but you're exposed to a lot of toxic lessons as well." Playwright Abby Rosebrock tries to work that out in Dido in Idaho.
TDF Stages Link to Story
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Anita Gillette Sings Me and Mr. B.

It feels as if Anita Gillette has been part of our lives forever. On Broadway and Off-Broadway stages, and on television and movie screens, we’ve seen her play the funny sister or the off-beat cousin or the distracted mom or the deliciously goofy mistress since the late 1950s. In recent years she has added cabaret as another outlet for her many talents.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Baby Wants It All at 54 Below

Three singing couples and a terrific singing chorus of another six performers filled the stage with charm and the room with a joyous noise. The individual tunes draw from traditions ranging from rock to jazz to potent Broadway ballads to explore the lives of three heterosexual couples and the babies they might be bringing into their lives.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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David Yazbek, Lullabies and The Band’s Visit Showstoppers

Monday night at Feinstein’s / 54 Below, David Yazbek’s multi-modal jazz band of extraordinary performers was family welcoming guests stopping by on their night off from The Band’s Visit. Some pals joined the gang on stage, some stayed in the audience, and all added to the charm.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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In Joshua Harmon’s “Admissions,” the Real Test Is Racial Quotas

Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse stage this season has hosted two serious ruminations on the challenges of parenting and navigating the unpredictable waters of secondary school to college. In Dominique Morriseau’s Pipeline, a Black mother in a public high school fights to keep her child in the prep school she has fought to place him in.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Jomama Jones on Black Light and Seeing in the Dark

“What if I told you it’s going to be alright? … What if I told you it began tonight?” Black Light, starring Jomama and her musician “Vibrations” at Joe’s Pub, is part memoir, part fairy tale, part history lesson, part song cycle, and pure entertainment.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Off-Broadway, “An Ordinary Muslim” Offers Extraordinary Journey

“The problem is not the Jamaat," one character declares. "The problem is this family.”. “We’ve lost, Dad. There’s nothing for us here.”. Words of apparent surrender become, in the hands of playwright Hammaad Chaudry in An Ordinary Muslim, a look back to immigration battles won and lost, and a look ahead to battles of assimilation.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Putting the Pageant Cart Before the Plague

"We borrowed liberally from both the idea of a medieval pageant cart and the theatre of our last few centuries." Tony-winning designer David Zinn creates a playful medieval world for The Amateurs.
TDF Stages Link to Story
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“Kings” Passes Bechdel Test, Drowns in Design

Playwright Sarah Burgess plums politics for her newest play Kings at the Public Theater. The production of this timely story of Washington, DC lobbyists and the politicians they serve just barely survives an overwhelming design — sounds disrupt, lights blind, and the set is unnecessarily twee. This is a better play than the design allows it to be.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

About

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 UrbanExcavations.com 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 (lmda.org) and American Theatre Critics Association (americantheatrecritics.org).

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.