Jonathan Abarbanel is a past chairperson of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA). With 250 members across the land, ATCA is the only national organization for print, broadcast and new media theatre reviewers. His articles on theatre and opera have been published globally in Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Polish and Portuguese. Jonathan is one of the few theatre critics to serve as a site reporter and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has represented the USA at five World Congresses of the International Association of Theatre Critics, a UNESCO-affiliated cultural NGO.
Jonathan is a longtime theatre critic for the Windy City Times and writes an arts news column for Chicago Footlights magazine. He reviews theatre every Sunday morning for "The Arts Section" on WDCB public radio. His theatre reviews and reportage have been published nationally in scores of newspapers and magazines, among them American Theatre, Back Stage and Variety. His own plays, libretti, lyrics and revue sketches have been performed in Chicago at the Center for New Music, Court Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory, Theatre BAM! and The Second City. His work also has been produced at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Westside Theatre (Off-Broadway), at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and broadcast on WFMT.
Jonathan has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Friends of Literature, the Illinois Theatre Association, Season of Concern, and the Prix Italia (for radio production). He has received multiple grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Rosenbaum Foundation. Jonathan has appeared on The Antiques Road Show and, in an earlier life as a copywriter, coined the immortal slogan, "America spells cheese K-R-A-F-T." Jonathan was born in Chicago, attended Tufts University (Magna Cum Laude) and Tufts-in-London, a year-long concentration in theatre studies. He has taught previously at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.