Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yarger Selected for Critics Insitute

Everybody’s a critic, but only the best ones get full ride scholarships to The O’Neill Critics Institute. Lauren Yarger, Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. learned last week that she is one of the best. The prestigious program is the only one of its kind in the country and accepts only a handful of applicants each year. Lauren, who has an extensive journalism background but is new to writing theatre reviews, didn’t think she stood much of a chance of being accepted into the program as it is not for novices, but, when Director Dan Sullivan read a few of her reviews, he asked her if she would like to attend this summer’s Institute – on full scholarship.

The Institute is a boot camp for critics. For two weeks in July it runs concurrently with the national Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference on the O’Neill grounds in Waterford, CT. Fellows experience an intensive writing workshop and turn out a piece of copy nearly every night: a review of the previous night’s show, a description of an individual actor’s performance, and interview with a director. Then the copy is dissected by the group under the direction of a seasoned theater writer or editor. Sullivan, who reviewed theater for the Los Angeles Times for 20 years, said, “It’s a tough two weeks, not a vacation at the beach…For two weeks we live and breathe theater…There’s no other program like it.”

Lauren has been involved in just about every aspect of theater imaginable from writing scripts to producing shows, but critical review is a new endeavor for her.
“God just keeps opening doors!” she said.

Her reviews can be found at

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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