Each of the criterion below is scored 0-10 by each of the two reviewers.  (0 -worst, 10-best with 5 average)


  1. Clear/Effective Interpretation
    Is the production a reflection of a well defined understanding of the piece by all involved? Does this understanding work for this play, or is it off the mark?
  2. Pacing
    Is the show moving at the correct rate or is it rushed or too slow? Does it seem to be on the shoulder of the Parkway, or in the fast lane of the express? Either is not necessarily wrong depending on the piece. Glen Garry Glen Ross, for example, had better be in the fast lane or it should get off at the next exit!! Basically, does the pace of the show coincide with the flavor of the play?
  3. Consistency
    Are the various aspects of the show fairly even throughout. Are the actors hot and cold or are they on an even keel and sustain their levels through the whole performance? Do the tech cues stay sharp or are there peaks and valleys?
  4. Instrumental Accompaniment
    Was the band good or bad?
  5. Performance Aspects
    Was the acting believable and real, or stifled and unmotivated? Did you find yourself being emotionally moved by all the performances, or just one or two? Were the performances exciting or bland?
  6. Technical Aspects
    Are the sound, lighting and set characteristics of the show embellishing or merely lackluster? Did they better your experience or detract from it? Did they enhance the production or merely coexist with it?


  1. Character Well Defined/Executed
    Did the actor have a clear understanding of who his character was and was he able to portray that understanding effectively? Did his emotions seem to motivate his actions or was his performance contrived and the recitation of lines? Is his portrayal filled out or somewhat shallow?
  2. Consistency
    Is the actor always in character and "on"? Does he seem to be less in the role at some times than he is at other times? If he has an accent or affectation, is it always at the same intensity?
  3. Diction
    Can you understand what he's saying? Does he have an accent that is more his colloquial, rather than the character's, way of speaking?
  4. Body Language
    Does the actor's physical life belong to the character or to him? Does he seem comfortable on stage and in his role? Do his physical movements intensify the emotions behind the words or do they belie what he's saying?
  5. Believability
    Can you believe that actor as the character, or does he appear to be an actor saying the lines? Do you find yourself watching the character or the actor portraying the character? Are you able to care what happens to that character, or has the actor not been able to acquire your belief?. If you notice yourself saying, "Oh, he delivered that line very well.", guess what? He didn't!!! To accomplish believability, the actor has to be able to have you forget he's saying the playwright's lines, and have you think he's saying his character's own, for the very first time.
  6. Performance Level
    Is the actor's energy level sufficient and appropriate for the role? Does he sustain this level on a consistent basis throughout his performance? Even when he is not the focal point on stage, is he still maintaining and creating moments?
  7. Execution of Blocking/Choreography
    Has the actor appeared natural and fluid in all his physical movements? Have they been correct and believable for his character? Does he meld into his choreography or does he seem to be working at it?
  8. Vocal Performance
    Has the actor, as singer, been able to perform his songs effectively? Has he successfully conveyed the meaning and intentions behind the lyrics? Does he sound and appear to be comfortable while singing? Are his pitch, tone and overall quality where they should be?


  1. Clear/Effective Interpretation
    Does the director have a clear understanding of the piece and all of it's subtleties and underlying subtext? Has he been able to successfully bring this understanding to his actors and the performance? Is his concept clear and forthright? Is his hand too visible throughout the play or has he correctly nurtured it to where his influence has allowed it to stand on it's own?
  2. Appropriate Casting
    Are the actors right for their role? Physically, are they correct for the character? Is the actor talented enough to be cast in that role?
  3. Effective Blocking
    Does the movement on stage seem motivated or contrived? Has he used the playing area to it's fullest? Are the characters correctly and appropriately placed? Are their backs to the audience too much? Do the actors seem to be crowded or running into each other all the time? Have all aspects of fluid movement been considered in the blocking process?
  4. Pacing
    Does the play move right along or does it seem interminable? Are cues being picked up in a timely fashion?
  5. Character Development
    Do the characters seem to have a clear understanding of their intentions? Are the relationships clearly defined? Can you understand why the characters are doing what they're doing or do they seem inconsistent? If a character does experience a change or catharsis, is this believable?
  6. Coordination of Technical Aspects
    Has enough attention been paid to the set, sound, lights and other, non acting, aspects of the show? Do these aspects embellish the production or is it apparent that they've taken a back seat to the performances of the actors?
  7. Musical / Non Musical Elements Compliment/Support Each Other
    Has an equitable amount of the director's energies been aimed to all aspects of the musical? Is the acting strong while the singing and dancing weak, or vice‑versa? Does there seem to be a balance and mutual support of all the elements?


  1. Stage Evenly Lit
    Are there dark or bright spots on the stage, or is the entire stage consistently lit? This would be particularly obvious on the fringes of the playing area.
  2. Establishes Mood
    Does the lighting create the correct look for the play and setting? For example, a bar scene should be more subtly lit than an outdoor scene.
  3. Use of Color.
    Do the colors help depict the mood and time of day. Do they tend to soften or harden the look correctly?
  4. Use of Levels.
    Does the intensity of the lighting define that particular scene? Is it intrusive or embellishing?
  5. Special Effects
    Are the special effects believably done? For example, if there is supposed to be lightning, does it look like real lightning? If the sun is supposed to be setting throughout a particular scene, does it do so believably?


  1. Clear Reproduction
    Are the sound effects free of hissing and realistic? If the actors are miked, is there any feedback or humming?
  2. Audio Source Loc
    Is the source of the effect correctly placed? In other words, if the phone is down stage left, and the phone rings from back stage right, the audio source is incorrectly placed.
  3. Use of Recorded Music
    Is there appropriate music as the audience enters the theater? If there is music used as part of the play, is it correct? If the play is supposed to take place in the 40's and the radio is playing music from the 50's, this would be incorrect. Also, if the play is a romantic drama, but the entrance music is 9 Inch Nails, this would also be incorrect.
  4. Use of Levels
    Is the level of sound correct for the scene? If a car is supposed to pulling up out front and the volume is such that it seems like it's going to run over the actors, the use of levels is not appropriate.
  5. Compliments / Supports Production
    Does the sound aspects of the show embellish or detract from it? Is it a welcome addition or an annoying intrusion?


  1. Effective Use of Colors/Fabrics
    Are the colors and fabrics appropriate for that particular character? If it is a very conservative character, and yet he is clothed in bright yellows and reds, that would not seem to be an effective use of colors.
  2. Fit Well/Functional
    Do the costumes fit the actor properly? Are they able to move freely in their garb or are they prohibitively restricted?
  3. Well Constructed/Maintained
    Are the costumes splitting at the seams or inappropriately dirty? This may be particularly obvious towards the end of a play's run.
  4. Detail
    Are all aspects, no matter how minute, correct? Nothing is more annoying than to see a production of Oliver with one of the orphans wearing a pair of Guess jeans. How about a pair of modem day eyeglasses, or a watch, on a character in a play from the 40's?
  5. Compliments / Supports Production
    Do the costumes support the time period and character's traits? Conversely, are they clothes that the individual actors happened to have hanging in their closets and have absolutely nothing to do with the character they are portraying?


  1. Attention to Detail
    Are the props correct for the time period and the play? If the play calls for an indigent family of the 30's reading a newspaper, yesterday's copy of the Courier News should not suffice!
  2. Well Constructed
    Are the props withstanding abuse or are they falling apart?
  3. Well Maintained
    Are the props being maintained correctly? If the character is supposed to be coming home from the grocery store with a fresh batch of groceries, but the bag is obviously one that has been used throughout the run, the props have not been well maintained.
  4. Functional
    Do they work or do the actors always have to prod them? A suitcase that does not have enough space to contain what it has to hold would not be a very functional prop.
  5. Compliments / Supports Production
    Do the props do what they are supposed to do or are they so wrong that they break your suspension of disbelief ?


  1. Creative & Varied
    Are the steps and dances original, or have you seen the same things over and over again in other productions? Are the same routines used throughout the play, or are there variations and exciting ideas used?
  2. Suited to Ability
    Is the choreography appropriate for the talents, or lack thereof, of the dancers? Has the choreographer considered this aspect of his cast or not?
  3. Space Utilized to Fullest Advantage
    Does the dancing correctly fill up the stage and make full use of what the space has to offer? Does it appear crowded or jammed up?
  4. Compliments and Supports Production
    Is the production enhanced by the choreography or is it innocuous and an obvious shortcoming?


  1. Set Changes Smooth and Well Timed
    Have the set changes been rehearsed and choreographed? Are they slipshod to where the techs are running into each other and looking for something to do? Do they take an inordinate amount of time, or are they brief and not bothersome?
  2. Entrances Accurate
    Do the actors enter on time or are they late? Keep in mind that this is the stage manager's responsibility to assure the actors are where they should be at all times.
  3. Intermissions on Time
    Are the intermissions ending at their posted times? If the program states there is supposed to be a 15 minute intermission, was it 15 minutes? Were the house lights used to indicate the 2nd Act was about to start?
  4. Tech Cues Sharp
    Do the sound and light cues occur when they are supposed to? Does the phone stop ringing precisely when someone picks up the receiver? Does the curtain open and close in a timely fashion?
  5. No Offstage Distractions
    Can voices be heard backstage? Can we hear the techs chatting while they're making coffee for intermission in the lobby? Can we see backstage activity or hear preparations for the next set change?


  1. Attention to Detail
    Have the designers heeded enough attention to the finishing touches and aspects which make the set fun to see? When a door is opened, can you see backstage or does it appear to be another room? Are there moldings? If it is supposed to be a front door, does it appear so, or is it obvious that it's a spare interior door that was used. Are the correct knobs and locksets on the doors? Are there electrical outlets on the walls, as there are in a real home? Are the tops of the flats even, or if they're not, are they concealed by a curtain? Is it architecturally correct?
  2. Well Constructed
    Is it of sturdy construction or do the flats sway when a door is closed? Do the doors close properly or are they always ajar?
  3. Use of Colors
    Is there a correct use of colors? Do the colors set the environment or are they inappropriate? Surely, a log cabin would not have pastel walls just as an upscale mansion would not have anything garish. Has the color or treatment of the floors been thought out?
  4. Use of Materials
    Are the correct materials used to convey the proper image? Should the flats have been covered in fabric instead of Masonite to give the proper look? If Styrofoarn was used to replicate moldings, did they do it effectively?
  5. Set Dressings
    This plays such an important part in a set. Does the set look lived in? If it is a house, does it have an appropriate # of knick knacks and sundry items that fill a home? Are there things hanging on the wall such as art or shelves? Are the window dressings correct? Does the kitchen have enough pots, pans and other assorted gadgets to make it appear as if it's truly functional?
  6. Use of Space
    Have the confines or expanse of the stage been taken into consideration when designing the set? If there are any unique characteristics of the playing space, have they been used or ignored? Does the set work for that space?


  1. Tempos
    Are the musical performances correctly paced, or do they seem to be too rushed or too draggy?
  2. Pitches/Tones
    Are the singers and instrumentalists on key? Are the instruments properly tuned and have the sound of quality and fullness? Are the harmonies correct and melodious?
  3. Vocal Performances
    Are the singers singing well? Is their vocal range capable of performing that particular song? Can you understand the lyrics they are singing, or are they garbled and indecipherable? Is the chorus staying together and their cutoffs synchronized?
  4. Instrumental Performances
    Are the instruments keeping the same pace and playing together? Do they have a sound that is full and on key? Are they consistently playing incorrect notes and not in conjunction with each other? Are they balanced or is one instrument noticeably louder than the others?
  5. Instrumental/ Vocal Balance
    Are the instruments overpowering in the sense that they're drowning out the vocals? Does there seem to be a symbiotic relationship between the two where both the vocals and the band are embellished by the other?

Role Definitions

Please note that there are no black and white defining lines between these categories. Sometimes, as in an ensemble piece, for example, there may not be a lead per se, as all would be considered featured. If I'm having a hard time deciding who the actual lead is, I'll wait until the curtain call and see who the last one out is. That would seem to be a good way to define the lead. If a character is of very minor importance and is rarely seen on stage, but has a few lines, he could be ensemble rather than featured. It is really a judgment call on your part. If you're stymied, don't be afraid to ask someone from the theater who they consider the lead to be. Keep in mind that Joe compiles the data and he has a working knowledge of pretty much any show. He should be able to notice any blatant misjudgments. If there is a discrepancy between reviews, we might call you to get further clarification.

    Copyright 2003, New Jersey Assocition of Community Theaters, Inc.
    Reprinted here with the permission of NJACT, inc.