Dr. Chris Jones, Director, the chief theater critic and a Sunday cultural columnist of the Chicago Tribune, has reviewed and commented on culture, the arts, politics, and entertainment for the Chicago Tribune for more than 16 years. He also appears weekly on CBS-2 news in Chicago, and on the Tribune'sWGN Radio. Before joining the staff of the Tribune a decade ago, Dr. Jones wrote for many years for Variety and Daily Variety, publishing several hundred reviews and commentaries, especially of pre-Broadway tryouts. He also spent a short time as Variety's Broadway critic. He has twice served on the drama committee of the Pulitzer Prizes. His arts criticism also has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, theWashington Post, American Theatre Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. He has taught criticism, arts writing and cultural reporting in several universities. He's the author of a new history of theater criticism in Chicago, "Bigger, Brighter, Louder." In 2015, he was awarded the George G. Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.
Mark J. Charney, Associate Director, served as Director of Theatre for the Department of Performing Arts at Clemson University for many years before retiring as a Professor Emeritus and accepting the role of Chair of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University. A past Chair for Region IV, a past member of the National Selection Team, and presently National Coordinator of Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy/Dramaturgy for KCACTF, Mark currently serves as Associate Director of the National Critics Institute for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and Focus Group Leader for Playwrights and Creative Teams for ATHE. His play, The Power Behind the Palette, won the David Mark Cohen Award and received a stage reading at ATHE in Los Angeles. His chapter on "The Entertainment Marketplace from 2000-2014" was published in Screenwriting by Rutgers Press this past August. His play, Shooting Blanks, was recently performed at the Prague International Festival. Mark was just an invited guest to the Actors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Los Angeles, where he received an award and was an honorary inductee for his work in criticism and dramaturgy nationwide (and made an honorary inductee), and is recently headed to Dubai, where he will head the Playwriting Institute at the American University of Sharjah First International Theatre Festival and to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he is now the Artistic Director of the International Cultural Festival of Schools from Southeast Asia. Mark serves as Executive Director of WildWind Performance Lab and the Marfa Devised Theatre Initiatives.
(2016 faculty, subject to change year to year)
Mark Blankenship currently serves as the Theatre Development Fund's Editor of Creative Content where he edits the magazine TDF Stages and produces and directs Meet the Theatre, a film series about theater companies in New York City. He also hosts the pop music podcast Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs and writes regularly for Playbill and American Theatre. He has contributed to the New York Times, Variety, NPR, The Village Voice, Backstage, and many others, and he recently lived the nerd dream of competing on Jeopardy.
Ben Brantley became chief theater critic of The New York Times in September 1996 after having served as its drama critic since joining the newspaper in August 1993. Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Brantley was a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine from August 1992 to July 1993. Before that, he was a writer at Vanity Fair magazine from January 1987 to August 1992 and he reviewed films for Elle magazine from September 1988 to March 1993. From June 1985 to December 1986, he was a freelance writer and from January 1983 to June 1985, he was European editor, publisher and Paris bureau chief for Women's Wear Daily. Previously, from 1978 to 1983, he was a reporter and then editor at Women's Wear Daily. He was a summer intern at The Winston-Salem Sentinel in 1976 and an editorial assistant at The Village Voice in 1975. Mr. Brantley is the editor of “The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century,” which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2001. He received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 1996-1997. Born in Durham, N.C., on October 26, 1954, Mr. Brantley received a B.A. degree in English from Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, P.A., graduated with high honors, and is a Phi Beta Kappa.
Sarah Kaufman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, author, journalist and educator. For more than 30 years, she has focused on the union of art and everyday living. As the dance critic and senior arts writer of the Washington Post, she has written about the performing arts, pop culture, sports and personal expression since 1993. She earned her MSJ from Northwestern University, has taught and lectured around the country and is a former French-American Foundation Journalism Fellow. Her first book, THE ART OF GRACE, was a Washington Post Notable Book of 2015 and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award Winner.
Peter Marks, joined the Washington Post as its chief theater critic in 2002. Prior to that he worked for nine years at the New York Times, on the culture, metropolitan and national desks, and spent about four years as its off-Broadway drama critic.
Michael Phillips, is the Chicago Tribune's film critic, covering everything from “Godzilla” to the latest in Turkish cinema. He has appeared on Turner Classic Movies, “CBS Saturday Morning,” “Charlie Rose” and the long-running nationally syndicated program “At the Movies.” He joined the Tribune in 2002 as theater critic, a post he previously held at the Los Angeles Times; the San Diego Union-Tribune; the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and the Dallas Times-Herald. He appears regularly on the Chicago Public Radio show “Filmspotting,” and lives in Logan Square on Chicago's Northwest Side with his wife, Heidi Stevens, and their three children.
Tejal Rao reporter for The New York Times and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine. Formerly a restaurant critic at Bloomberg News and The Village Voice, where she won the James Beard Foundation Award for restaurant criticism in 2013 and 2016, and was named one of Forbes magazine's 30 under 30. She was born in London and lives in Brooklyn. It's pronounced TAY-jull with a hard j like in jump.
Dan Sullivan, was theater critic of the Los Angeles Times for 20 years. Earlier he covered Off-Broadway for the New York Times and reviewed the Guthrie Theater’s first seasons for the Minneapolis Tribune. Having returned to the Twin Cities after his retirement, he teaches journalism at the University of Minnesota. He succeeded the late Ernie Schier as NCI’s director in 1999. He is married to Faith Sullivan, author of The Cape Ann and other fine novels.