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Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Announces Chris Jones to Lead National Critics Institute


Longtime Chicago Area Theater Critic & Columnist
Appointed Director of Summer Program

WATERFORD, CT (January 30, 2014) – The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announces the appointment of Chris Jones, chief theater critic and a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, as Director of the O’Neill’s National Critics Institute (NCI), effective immediately.

A “boot camp for theater writers,” NCI is an intensive two-week workshop, designed for arts journalists, bloggers, and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. The Institute convenes annually at the O’Neill’s Waterford campus alongside the National Playwrights Conference and National Music Theater Conference.

Selected after a national search, Dr. Jones is a familiar voice to millions. Aside from his hundreds of reviews and columns a year for the Tribune, he appears weekly on Chicago’s CBS-2 news and on WGN Radio. His critical work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and American Theatre Magazine. Prior to his post at the Tribune, he wrote for many years for Variety and Daily Variety, where he was known for his coverage of the Broadway road. He has twice served on the drama committee for the Pulitzer Prize, is frequently heard on NPR, the BBC, and CBC, and teaches as an adjunct professor at DePaul University.

“Few figures in criticism command such respect as Chris Jones,” remarks Executive Director Preston Whiteway. “At the intersection of fifty years of new play development at the O’Neill and a fast-paced media age, Chris stands to chart a path for a new generation of theater writers. I am thrilled to welcome him to the O’Neill family, as he ushers in a new era of the National Critics Institute.”

“I’m thrilled to be associated with a program, run with such care by the remarkable Dan Sullivan, that has trained so many great arts writers and critics," says Dr. Jones. "I hope to expand the scope of the program to include all kinds of arts criticism and entertainment reporting (everything from theater to movies to food), reflecting the reality of the range now required of writers who specialize in culture, entertainment and the arts. But the honored traditions of the O’Neill will remain.”

Dr. Jones succeeds Dan Sullivan, a co-founder of NCI, who served as Director from 1999 to 2013. Mr. Sullivan, a former critic for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, will continue with NCI as a faculty member. Mark Charney will also continue as Associate Director of the program.

The 2014 National Critics Institute will convene June 28 to July 13. NCI, founded in 1968 to offer training and professional development for theater critics, is unique in that it runs alongside the professional new work, playwrights, and artists who are also under development as part of the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference and National Music Theater Conference. Offering a window into artistic creation and development, critic fellows at

NCI gain necessary tools for their craft, and artists gain a deeper understanding of the role, responsibilities, and value of informed criticism.. For more information about the Institute and to apply for the 2014 session, visit

About the O'Neill:

Founded in 1964, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for American theater. In the bold tradition of its namesake Eugene O’Neill – four-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature – the O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and to more than 2,500 emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, and major regional theaters.

Recipient of a 2010 Tony Award for Regional Theatre and 1979 Tony Award for Theatrical Excellence, O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and the National Theater Institute (NTI). NTI offers intensive theater training programs for academic credit, including the Moscow Art Theater Semester (MATS), a semester of study abroad, as well as the six-week summer program Theatermakers.

The O’Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The childhood summer home of Eugene O’Neill, the Cottage is a National Historic Landmark.

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Andrew C. McGibbon



Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, The site was subsequently bought by, and became He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway LeagueJazz at Lincoln Center, and as the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Since 2015, Andrew has been working as an architectural photographer and virtual tour photographer known for his photography of theatres such as the Kimmel Center, Tanglewood, Signature Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, Arena Stage and the Goodspeed Opera House. His photography work can be previewed at

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers AssociationActors' Equity Association and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell