2017 - 2018 Current Membership

indicates membership in the American Theatre Critics Association


President Barry M. Willis * 
 Vice-President Linda Ayres-Frederick * 
Secretary Gary Gonser * 
Treasurer Jeffrey R. Smith
 Chief Information Officer Harry Duke  *

Full Members
(are those members of the community who regularly review or write about theatre via print , radio, television or digital media.)

Kedar K. Adour, MD * is a retired physician. A playwright since high school, he had plays produced at New York’s Hamilton College (Prize winner), in Key West, Florida, and San Francisco. A former President of the SF Playwrights Center, Dr. Adour is the San Francisco Bay Area reviewer for TheatreWorld Internet Magazine, based in London, and posts on the For All Events website.

Email: kedar.adour@criticscircle.org 

Denise Armstead, while having virtually no onstage theatre experience (other than a very minor role in a production of The Best Christmas Pagent Ever), has long enjoyed live theatre as an attendee. At the urging of a current SFBATCC member, Denise began writing reviews for local productions, and eventually made her way into SFBATCC, where she is delighted to find herself in the company of San Francisco bay area’s theatre elite. Living in St. Helena makes it a challenge to visit all the splendid theatre companies in the bay area; nevertheless, she has made it her personal goal to see as many productions as she possibly can. 

Linda Ayres-Frederick * is Phoenix Arts Association Theatre's Artistic Director since its founding in 1985 and has acted on stages in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally since moving to San Francisco in 1972. A native of Washington, D.C., and a member of AEA, AFTRA, SFBATCC and ATCA, she spent ten years covering theatre for the SF Bay Times. She currently contributes to San Francisco's Westside Observer and the For All Events website.

Ken Bullock has written performing arts reviews regularly for such publications and websites as The Commuter Times, Berkeley Daily Planet, San Francisco Classical Voice and 21st Century Music since 2000, more occasionally in the years before that for arts magazines like Invisible City and Third Rail. A native of the Bay Area, he sold theater and film books at Limelight and has been associated with the Green Room Players and Theatre of Yugen.

Email: ken.bullock@criticscircle.org 

Gaetana Caldwell-Smith was a member of the Circle from 2001 - 2006 and has returned as an active member. A native San Franciscan, Gaetana has acted in plays since grammar school and in the last few decades has turned to playwriting and directing. Her works have been see at the Exit Theatre, the A.C.T. Costume Shop, the Fringe of Marin, and the Shelton Theatre complex. Her theatre reviews can be found on the For All Events website.

Email: gaetana.caldwell-smith@criticscircle.org

David J. Chavez * is a South Bay-based theatre critic/reporter who has been covering local theatre for the past five years, the first three writing for examiner.com, and a journalist, theatre educator and director for the past 24 years. With a plethora of journalism experience, he gets out to as many shows as possible. David teaches Theatre Arts at Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose, has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from California State University, Fresno and a Master of Arts in Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He reviews can be found on the BayAreaPlays.com website.

Email: david.john.chavez@criticscircle.org

Alexa Chipman is a North Bay-based theatre critic with Imagination Lane, and has been performing in or writing about theatre for over twenty years, primarily in Sonoma and Marin counties. Her background is in dance and acting, historical interpretation with National and State Park museums, and as a maritime history and science fiction author. Her podcast Maudelayne has been a finalist in the Parsec Awards.

Email: alexa.chipman@criticscircle.org

Susan Cohn * is a senior correspondent for the San Mateo Daily Journal, writing weekly features about the performing arts, travel, and museums. She is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, Bay Area Travel Writers, the North American Travel Journalists Association, the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association and the State Bar of California.  


Richard Connema * has reviewed around 1900 productions for talkinbroadway.com for the past six years. He worked in film for over 50 years, as a cameraman at Republic Studios, Warner Bros., and Paramount, working with such notables as John Ford and Orson Welles. Went into publicity, worked with Hitchcock, traveled to NYC, London, and elsewhere, giving him opportunities to see thousands of theatre productions and legendary performers such as the Lunt & Fontaine, Hayes, Merman, Holiday, Streisand, Preston, and more. Now semi-retired, still works as point man on feature films being created locally.

Email: richard.connema@criticscircle.org

Victor Cordell is a performance devotee who's actively attended theatre in the many places he's lived, from generously sampling the bright lights of New York and London to grabbing anything that came along in the slightly less luminous Singapore and Hong Kong theater scenes.  He is on the Board of Directors of Island City Opera and was previously on the boards of Cutting Ball Theatre, San Francisco Lyric Opera and the Monterey Opera Company.  A PhD in marketing, Victor is a retired professor and banker who now spends a good deal of his time supporting theatre, which he believes is a form of performance entertainment that is unsurpassed in its intelligence, its humanity, and its evocativeness. He and reviews for theater and opera productions can be found on www.forallevents.com. He has established his personal site at www.cordellreports.com.

Email: victor.cordell@criticscircle.org

Harry Duke * is an actor, director, teacher, and theatre critic whose reviews can be seen online at the For All Events website and in print in the the Sonoma County Gazette. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Sonoma State University where he graduated magna cum laude. He is an active member of the North Bay theatre community and has appeared in an average of three shows a year for the past several years. He has been seen on stage in roles as varied as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot to Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors.  He appears weekly on Sonoma County's "The Drive with Steve Jaxon" on KSRO News Talk at 1350 AM/103.5 FM to talk theatre and hosts Second Row Center on North Bay Public Radio's KRCB 91.1 FM. He is also the Senior Arts and Entertainment Editor for The Worst Show on the Web, a popular podcast and entertainment site where his musings on the current state of film, television and pop culture can be found.

Email:  harry.duke@criticscircle.org

Susan Dunn finds a community, inspiration, revelation and joy in live theater that is unique to this art form.   She has participated in Bay Area Theater in many varied roles since her move from New York in 1991:   Board and Staff at Hillbarn Theater, Altarena Playhouse, Berkeley Playhouse, and Virago, and she has worked as Producer, Box Office or Stage Manager on several new productions in San Francisco and San Jose.  She is proud to bring needed business skills to the arts.  Recently retired from a technology career in the corporate world, where her specialty was reservations system design, she currently indulges her passion for live theater full time as Staff Historian at Altarena, and Development Director and Stage Manager for Island City Opera in Alameda.  She delights in the ever-changing variety of theater companies and venues all over the Bay Area, and is associated with several local play writers and play readers associations.  Susan has begun reviewing Theatre for the Theatrius website.  

Email: susan.dunn@criticscircle.org

Gary Gonser * has produced theater productions in Marin for over 15 years.  He has designed and built sets for groups in Marin and Sonoma counties and is especially proud of his work with Montgomery High School Drama Production students.  He has an MA in Psychology and is a project manager for business and theatre projects.  He co-founded the Novato Theater Foundation in 2004 as a non-profit to help raise money for local performing arts and formed Marin Onstage under the NTF in 2012 to support high-quality collaborative productions in local venues.  His reviews can be found on the ImaginationLane.net website.

Email: gary.gonser@criticscircle.org

Marc Gonzalez was bitten by the theatre bug in his Junior year of high school, and has been in the throes of performing, choreographing, and seeing shows ever since. This past spring, Marc graduated from Foothill College with degrees in Theatre Arts and English Literature, and is currently at San Francisco State University in pursuit of a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. Since moving back to the Bay Area in 2015, Marc has had the privilege to perform with Contra Costa Music Theatre, Pinole Community Players, Foothill Music Theatre, Palo Alto Players, Broadway By The Bay, South Bay Music Theatre, Silicon Valley Shakespeare, Pacifica Spindrift Players, Sunnyvale Community Players, and Coastal Repertory Theatre. Marc has been reviewing shows since he began his blog in 2011, which you can find on Tumblr called The Road to 1,000.

Email: marc.gonzalez@criticscircle.org

John Angell Grant * was a founding member of the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle in 1976, when the very first meetings were held to determine the nature of the Circle. He holds a literature degree from Columbia, with another from Stanford currently in progress. Grant has written about theater for American Theater magazine, BackStage West, Theater Bay Area magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the East Bay Express, the Oakland Tribune, the San Mateo Times, KRE radio, and other publications. John reviewed theater for the Palo Alto Daily News for 12 years before joining The Daily Post in 2012.

Email:  john.angell.grant@criticscircle.org

Barry David Horwitz  taught English and Drama at Saint Mary's College, for many years. His has also taught at U.C., Berkeley; Univ. of Paris, Sorbonne; and as a Visiting Prof. of Contemporary Drama at Univ. of Montpellier, France.  He served as the Founding Artistic Director of The Quixotic Players for many years and acted and dramaturged with Shotgun Players, Berkeley. He has published on Langston Hughes and U.S. '50s Drama. Now, on FUN-Employment, he is running and reviewing plays at Theatrius.com.

Email: barry.david.horwitz@criticscircle.org

Flora Lynn Isaacson has a BA in Speech and Drama from Mills College, an MA in Theatre and Drama from Stanford and has worked toward her PhD at UC Berkeley. She was a college professor for 28 years before retiring in 1994. She has performed with the Fringe of Marin Festival and has been writing reviews for the last seven years. She posts on the For All Events website and is a contributor to San Francisco's Westside Observer. 

Email: flora.lynn.isaacson@criticscircle.org

Doug Konecky came to theater from the music side. His songs have been recorded and performed by many artists through the years, including Barbara Streisand, Patti LaBelle and Glen Campbell. He began reviewing theater for AOL in 2000 and was their principal San Francisco writer for five years. His independent San Francisco Theater Blog has been in operation since 2007.

Charles Kruger is "The Storming Bohemian" and the lead reviewer and editor for TheatreStorm.com, an offshoot site of StormingBohemia.com. He is a regular contributor to Litseen.com, the "go to" site for literary doings in the Bay area. He also contributes occasional reviews to TheRumpus.net, and has served on the Board of Directors for Quiet Lightning.org, a literary nonprofit that produces a monthly reading series and publishes the literary journal, sPARKLE + bLINK. Charles can often be seen performing his original poetry at spoken word venues around San Francisco.

Email: charles.kruger@criticscircle.org

Vince Mediaa has spent over 42 years working in Bay Area Media including theatre, broadcast television and film. During his stint in broadcasting he earned two Emmy awards and produced various TV magazine format projects, including assisting in the creation of  the original Evening Magazine daily for KPIX in late 70's. After successful assignments with KPIX, KRON, KGO and Beyond Pix,  Vince retired from professional broadcast projects. In 2008, he began working  with his own clients. He created VmediaFilm and TV and established a client-list based in Berkeley, CA. He is presently retired but is still an A&R and reviews theatre and other live arts events for his own blog. His reviews can be found at www.vmediabackstage.com.

Email: vince.mediaa@criticscircle.org

Steve Murray started producing theatre in 1998 with his critically acclaimed benefit series Viva Variety, branching out into one-man performance pieces, burlesque, parodies of Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Trog, and over 50 standup comedy shows. For the past six years, he’s been the Bay Area correspondent for Cabaret Scenes Magazine, covering vocal music. His reviews for music can be found on cabaretscenes.org as well as For All Events. He’s a foodie, competitive swimmer and tennis player, and loves film. His day job is in biotech, mainly oncology research. His reviews can be found on the For All Events website.

Email: steve.murray@criticscircle.org

Kris Neely began acting in theater in 1988 and directing in 1999. In 2013, he won an SFBATCC Best Director Award for Lend Me a Tenor at RVP. Kris trained at Studio ACT and Berkeley Rep. He's served on the board of directors of Novato Theater Co. and other non-profit committees and boards. He's worked with Aurora Theater's GAP program and has directed at Playwright's Center of San Francisco, Fringe of Marin, Novato Theater Co., Pittsburg Community Theater, SF Jewish Community Center Players, and Ross Valley Players among others. Kris is the published author of 200+ articles and 8 books (to date.) He is the Founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Repertory Company. And -- he somehow won an "Honorable Mention" award for his acting in a production at the Fringe of Marin. His reviews can be found on the Onstage and For All Events websites.

Email: kris.neely@criticscircle.org 

Jordan Nickels is a playwright and dramaturg, originally from the Midwest, with a Bachelor of Science in Theatrical Studies from Ball State University. He previously worked with Nashville Children’s Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Florida Studio Theatre, and The Walt Disney Company. He also served as a Blog Contributor and Managing Editor for two years at Camp Broadway in New York City. Jordan currently resides in San Francisco, CA and works as a Development Assistant at American Conservatory Theater. His reveiews van be found on OnStage Blog. 

Email: jordan.nickels@criticscircle.org

Christine Okons love of and appreciation for theater goes back to childhood in Chicago when she would read along with Living Shakespeare LPs (Othello, Macbeth etc.) that her mother would play.  She eventually earned an MA in literature and linguistics at Northern Illinois University where she also participated in theater productions, her claim to fame being the clock that rings 13 times in The Bald Soprano. She has many rich memories of attending productions by the Steppenwolf, Goodman and other great Chicago theater companies, but her special love was, and still is, for small, ambitious, black box theater companies that take chances with new forms of expression. She moved to the Bay Area in 1990 and developed and taught courses in Multimedia Content at San Francisco State University and wrote about digital media for several publications. Continuously thrilled by the vibrant and diverse San Francisco theater scene, her reviews can currently be read at Theater & Such.

Email: christine.okon@criticscircle.org

Cari Lynn Pace writes theatre and entertainment reviews for the six Marinscope Newspapers in Marin County. She has an extensive background supporting the arts, including Marin Symphony, Novato Theater Company, and 12 years on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Marin Center for the Performing Arts. As a real estate broker, she writes and instructs real estate and consumer protection courses. Her latest book, Don't Shoot Me...I'm Just the Real Estate Agent! was published in 2010.

Email: cari.lynn.pace@criticscircle.org

Eddie Reynolds * is a former Board member and Board Chair of TheatreWorks whose love of theatre began in his freshman year at the University of Tennessee. He attends an average of 100 shows a year throughout the entire Bay Area region and reviews them via his website Theatre EddysBesides being avid supporters of several local theatre companies, he is a season subscriber to the SF Opera, SF Ballet, and SF Giants. Eddie also sings with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.  During the day, Eddie is an independent organization development consultant to for- and not-for-profit organizations throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay. His reviews can be found on his own site, Theatre Eddys, and on the Talkin' Broadway website.

Email: eddie.reynolds@criticscircle.org

Jeanie K. Smith has been reviewing theatre for the Palo Alto Weekly for over 15 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Drama and has directed numerous productions for the Palo Alto Players, Pear Theatre, Dragon Theatre and Shady Shakespeare. She is an Associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Email: jeanie.k.smith@criticscircle.org

Jeffrey R. Smith grew up in a renovated shop where willow baskets were previously made by his immigrant grandfathers. It was marginally heated by a wood stove; it offered no indoor plumbing. The experience left its mark: to this day, Jeff only reviews at theaters with heat and plumbing. In high school, he became interested in theatre. Occasionally he passed by the Regent Theatre on East Genesee Street in Syracuse, New York. He never attended a single performance at the Regent but, theatre was added to his list of things do when he ascended from family penury: as Gerald and Sara Murphy vowed, “Living well is the best revenge.” Jeff judges a show purely by its strengths. Those who read his reviews are urged to look beyond the dross and to appreciate the magical elements of the show. His reviews can be found on the For All Events website.

Email: jeffrey.r.smith@criticscircle.org

David Templeton is best known in the Bay Area as a long time writer and theatre critic for the North Bay Bohemian. He is an award-winning journalist, playwright, and creator of the site northbaystageandscreen.com

Email: david.templeton@criticscircle.org

Patrick Thomas *  is a writer with a wide range of experience, having written for several magazines, including WIRED and San Francisco, the travel newsletter Gemütlichkeit, as well as for some of the Bay Area's most prestigious brands, including Apple, Oracle, Charles Schwab, Genentech and Cisco.  He sees as many as 80 shows every year, most in the Bay Area, but also in New York, London, Chicago.His reviews of Bay Area productions can be found on the Talkin'Broadway.com website. 

Email: patrick.thomas@criticscircle.org

Barry Willis * has worked extensively as a writer/editor for publications and websites including StereophileGuide to Home TheaterUltimate AV, AudioVideo Interiors, Home TheaterPhotographic Magazine, The Absolute Sound,The Perfect Vision, and DTV Magazine. Since 2007 he has been American correspondent for British audio-and-music journal Hi-Fi News. He is also an occasional contributor to Food Arts, garnering a nomination for a James Beard Award in Journalism. Formerly the art-and-theater critic with the Pacific Sun, he currently writes theater reviews for the Marin Independent Journal 

Email: barry.willis@criticscircle.org

Adjunct Members

(are those who, through their participation in the community as directors, designers, performers, non-reviewing media members, etc., bring an additional level of critical perspective and experience or other theatrically-related background to the Circle.)

Joseph Cillo is a supporter, fan and regular attendee of theater and various performing arts performances presented in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of For All Events, a website devoted to travel, wine, dining and entertainment with calendar listings, reviews and news content. As of May 2015, For All Events features more than 1,200 reviews written and posted by 44 different critics/reviewers, of which many are members of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. He also reviews films and performing arts as time allows.

Email: joe.cillo@criticscircle.org

Clay David has enjoyed a career in the theater that has spanned acting, directing, artistic design, and production management in London, Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre and national tours. Clay has served as theatre professor and instructor at Loyola Marymount University, University of Connecticut, Contra Costa and Diablo Valley College.  Clay is currently Executive Director of FOGG Theatre, Director of Development and Designer of The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and former Artistic Director of the Altarena Playhouse, Associate Creative Advisor of San Francisco’s Speakeasy, and Theatre Right’s Worldwide in NYC.  He is an advocate for authenticity and color-conscious casting, theatre gender equity, and ambitiously embraces diversity honoring non-binary gender identity, LGBT artists, the personal experience of one's own gender and ideally deepening theatrical conversations.

Email: clay.david@criticscircle.org

Jeff Dunn first began to love the creation of musicals when Meredith Willson played a preview of his The Unsinkable Molly Brown on the piano at Jeff's childhood home. Earning a B.A. in Music at Grinnell College, Jeff went on to a career in geology and project management while composing  incidental music for plays, art songs, a musical, film score, and chamber works, many of which were performed as part of concerts for the National Association of Composers, USA, where he is a lifetime member. Jeff has been a music critic in the San Francisco Bay area since 1993, writing for many journals including San Francisco Classical Voice. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, and the Dramatists Guild. Along with his wife, Susan Dunn, he has managed the EastBay PlayReaders meetup for the last six years.

Email: jeff.dunn@criticscircle.org

Mitchell Field just celebrated his 50th year as a professional hairstylist. From his days as an apprentice at the posh and world-renowned Mayfair salon of Vidal Sassoon, to Montreal, Los Angeles and eventually Marin County, Mitchell has cut, curled and colored his way through the last five decades. During his career he helped establish iconic hair designs; played an important role in popularizing punk-culture and rock ‘n’ roll hair styles of the 1980s; and even styled Michael Richards’ iconic ‘Kramer’ look for his role in the popular television series Seinfeld.  In addition to his career as a hairstylist, Field also ventured into entertainment, establishing himself as a respected Bay Area actor and radio host. He’s appeared in independent films and commercials and in stage plays and musicals for theater companies including the Marin Mountain Play, Ross Valley Players and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. 

Email:  mitchell.field@criticscircle.org

Michael Oesch is a San Francisco-based lighting designer for dance, theatre, opera, musicals, and film. He has worked with Smuin Ballet since 2004 as the Lighting Director, where he has designed lighting for many of their world premieres. He has also designed lighting for  The Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Contra Costa Musical Theatre,  Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre, West Wave Dance Festival, El Teatro Campesino, Solano College Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival,  New Conservatory Theatre Center, as well as many other Bay Area companies.  He earned his BFA in Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University and his MFA in Lighting Design from UC Davis.  He is also a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 – the Union of Theatrical Designers.  He sees over 100 productions a year in the bay area, in all disciplines of live entertainment.

Email: michael.oesch@criticscircle.org

Michael Ross has been interested and involved in theater for most of his life through his work as an actor, producer, designer and director. He is currently a Board Member with Sonoma Arts Live. He is an avid theatergoer, seeing an average of over 50 productions a year. He believes it is important to recognize, support and encourage theater throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Email: michael.ross@criticscircle.org

Michael Walraven is an actor and set designer who has been working primarily in the North Bay since 1995.  He attends theater throughout the entire Bay Area.

Email: michael.walraven@criticscircle.org

Members Emeriti:

Greg and Suzanne Angeo * are theatre critics who work as a team.They have been deeply involved in theatre during their 28 years together, from Los Angeles to Northern California. Greg has over 50 years' experience in theatre as an actor, director and lighting designer. He performed onstage as a professional actor in both New York City and Los Angeles. For six seasons, he was Assistant Artistic Director and won awards for directing plays with the Fringe of Marin Festival at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. Suzanne writes their theatre reviews with Greg acting as technical adviser. She has a background in journalism and community theatre, and studied the dramatic arts, as well as working with the Fringe of Marin as script consultant and play reader. They recently relocated to Michigan.

Adrianne Goff is a mother, master herbalist, certified clinical nutritionist, publisher, book manufacturer, chef, writer, dancer, poet, singer, actress, gardener, poker player, wine drinker and reviewer of all things edible, drinkable and fun to do. She was named one of the "Top 100 Young Business Women Under 30" by Women's Business Enterprises in 2006. Adrianne is also the Editor-in-Chief of Best of SF Bay Area (BoSFBA), www.bestofsfbayarea.com.

Charles Jarrett has been the theatre columnist for the Rossmoor News for 29 years, has freelanced  for the Contra Costa Times and is a full time reporter and staff photographer for the Orinda News.  His areas of theatre coverage include Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano and Santa Clara counties.

Mark Johnson * icurrently the youngest member of the SFBATCC. He has been writing theatre reviews since he was a Freshman in high school. Mark is also an occasional actor and director, and shares his views of all things theatre at  theatreartsdaily.wordpress.com. Mark is currently enrolled in Pace University's Directors program.

Paul Myrvold has been an Equity actor for over forty years and has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, off-off Broadway, in regional theatres, summer stock and as a guest artist at colleges and universities from coast to coast. He recently appeared as Percival Brown in the 42nd Street Moon production of The Boy Friend and in 2008 he was given an SFBATCC Award for “Outstanding Performance” in a supporting role in the musical Grey Gardens at TheatreWorks (2008). He trained at ACT and holds a BA and MA in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University. Mr. Myrvold has been writing theatre commentary in the Bay Area for over twenty-five years, first with the Gilroy Dispatch and for the last fifteen years as Arts and Entertainment Editor for Out & About Magazine.