Criticism in a Changing America Panel

STARTS 10/14/2017 The Alice Center
6pm Free, reservations required.

Join us for a FREE conversation about Arts Criticism

Saturday, October 14 | 6pm
in the Alice Center at Goodman Theatre


Goodman Theatre presents a free public panel discussion about the current state of arts criticism and the impact on the art, artists and audiences when there is a lack of diversity amongst critical voices. The conversation features some of the industry’s leading voices, including panelists Diep Tran, Associate Editor for American Theatre magazine; Wei-Huan Chen, Theater Critic for the Houston Chronicle; Jose Solís, editor/critic at Stage Buddy and New York Times contributor; Martha Steketee, American Theater Critics Association and editor/critic at Urban Excavations; and Dr. Lori Baptista, Director of the African American Cultural Center at University of Illinois (Chicago). The panel is moderated by Time Out Chicago Senior Theater Critic Kris Vire.


Diep Tran is currently the associate editor of American Theatre magazine. She has a monthly column with the magazine focused on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She is also the founder and producer of American Theatre’s biweekly Offscript podcast. In 2014, Diep led the creation and launch of, the first official website for the magazine. She is also a freelance journalist, whose writing has appeared in the The New York Times, Playbill, Time Out New York, TDF Stages, Backstage, and Salon, among other publications.

Wei-Huan Chen is theater critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also writes about classical music, opera and the performing arts scene. Before arriving at the Chronicle in 2016, he worked for the Indianapolis Star, the Lafayette Journal & Courier, the Needham Times and the Boston Phoenix. Chen is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2016 National Critics Institute Fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. He has won several awards for his writing on the arts, including First Place from Indiana Associated Press Media Editors for Feature Writing.

Jose Solís is the Chief Theatre Critic at He has been writing about film and theatre since 2003 and his work has appeared in major film and theatre publications including The New York Times, American Theatre, and Backstage. He is a member of the Drama Desk, the American Theatre Critics Association, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and the Online Film Critics Society. When he's not at a show, a screening or writing about all the art he loves, you can find him singing along to any cast recording featuring Kelli O'Hara. 

Martha Wade Steketee is a NYC dramaturg, critic, and current Drama Desk nominator. She works with playwrights, reviews scripts for programs and competitions, researches projects in development, and currently serves on the boards of American Theatre Critics Association, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and League of Professional Theatre Women. Recent pieces have appeared in TDF Stages, HowlRound, The Clyde Fitch Report, and other publications. Her site focuses on live performance and film.

Lori Barcliff Baptista, Ph.D. is the Director, African-American Cultural CenterAdjunct Assistant Professor, School of Theatre & MusicFaculty Affiliate, Program in Museum and Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago. An interdisciplinary scholar/artist, Dr. Baptista integrates arts, humanities and social science frameworks, practices and perspectives to examine cultural representations and their impact on marginalized communities. Her scholarly work and research interests reflect a long-standing preoccupation with how members of diverse communities transmit social knowledge and a sense of identity through seemingly mundane objects, materials and expressive formats. Dr. Baptista earned a Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rutgers University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches film, literature, ethnography, museum studies and performance-based courses.  

Kris Vire is senior editor and chief theater critic at Time Out Chicago, where he's covered theater in Chicago since 2005. He's a frequent contributor to American Theatre magazine and was a founding staff member of the Chicago web publication Gapers Block; he's also written as a freelancer for the Guardian, Vulture and the Chicago trade paper PerformInk. Kris is a two-time finalist for the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for Arts Reporting and Criticism, and his Time Out profile of Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy preparing for The Iceman Cometh at the Goodman Theatre took bronze for best single article in a city/regional magazine in FOLIO: magazine's Eddie Awards.