CLO E-mail Alerts

Kelly Critics Program

“I wanted to thank you and all of the people at the Kelly's for your help this year and especially for the wonderful day that the students from North Hills had yesterday. All day they were treated in a firm but polite and respectful manner. One of the lessons we try to teach our theater kids is to behave 'professionally' when traveling, rehearsing and performing. I was proud of them and really pleased that they were given the opportunity to be exposed to the great theater and crew that you have. From the orchestra conductor at rehearsal (who took extra time to make the kids feel secure) to the guides who escorted us around the facility, it was great. I hope you have the opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone involved.” Glen Richey, Teacher, North Hills High School

In an attempt to reach as many students as possible through the Gene Kelly Awards, the Pittsburgh CLO, in partnership with Dr. Christopher Rawson, Senior Theater Critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and long-time member of the University of Pittsburgh English Department, created the Kelly Critics program. Offered exclusively to participating Gene Kelly Awards Schools, the Kelly Critics program provides an opportunity for students not involved in the musical, but who are interested in pursuing literature, journalism or professional writing and enjoy musical theater.  Each year ONE student will be awarded a "Kelly Critic Gene Kelly Award," presented by Dr. Christopher Rawson.   


  • Students will be offered the exciting opportunity of a one-time preliminary seminar at the Post-Gazette, taught by Dr. Rawson, to introduce them to the program and to reviewing musical theater. A brief tour of the Post-Gazette is included. The date of the seminar is TBA.
  • Students chosen to be Kelly Critics CANNOT be involved in the musical. They can be any students not involved in the show, although juniors or seniors are prefered. 
  • Each Kelly Critic will be assigned by the Gene Kelly Awards staff to review two musicals by other participating Gene Kelly schools. For each show, they will be given two tickets so that a friend or parent can accompany them. Each school that participates in the Kelly Critics program agrees to provide up to four pairs of tickets for Kelly Critics from other schools.
  • Kelly Critics write their reviews and e-mail them to Dr. Rawson within a week of seeing the performance. Dr. Rawson will then provide light editing, a short student evaluation, and online posting of the reviews on the Post-Gazette’s special Kelly Critics section of its High School Musicals Website. You can see the last several years’ coverage at, under the A&E Theater tab.

No school is obligated to participate in the Kelly Critics program, but since other schools' students will be reviewing your shows, why not give your students a chance to do the same and see their work published on the Post-Gazette website?

If you are interested in the Kelly Critics Program, please contact Mary Wattick and Jiane Amoroso at with the name, e-mail address, and phone number of the teacher who would like to coordinate your two Kelly Critics.  Teacher information needs to be submitted by Monday, February 10th, 2014. 

 Kelly Critics Student Availability Form