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Three on the Aisle: Cataclysm Criticism With Soraya Nadia McDonald

This month the hosts talk to an award-winning colleague about gatekeeping and pandemic-era criticism.

Once a month, Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal; Elisabeth Vincentelli, contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker; and Peter Marks of the Washington Post get together to talk about what’s going on in the American theatre.

This month the critics talk to Soraya Nadia McDonald, culture critic for The Undefeated. Soraya is the 2020 winner of the George Jean Nathan prize for dramatic criticism, a 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism, and the runner-up for the 2019 Vernon Jarrett Medal for outstanding reporting on Black life. The critics talk about the evolving role of their work in a time of pandemic, about the multi-layered issue of theatrical and critical gatekeeping, and about the ongoing question, “What is theatre?” Critics’ picks this month include Blood Meal on Youtube from Theatre in Quarantine, Mike Nichols: A Life, a biography by Mark Harris, and Simply Sondheim from Signature Theatre.

The full episode can be downloaded here.

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Have comments or requests for what the critics should talk about? Email them at, or go to @ThreeOnTheAisle on Twitter.

Three on the Aisle is produced by Erica Huang.

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