Gene Kelly Awards

Kelly Critics Program

Offered exclusively to participating Gene Kelly Awards Schools, students are invited to take part in a mentorship with Dr. Christopher Rawson, Senior Theater Critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and long-time member of the University of Pittsburgh English Department.

Participants will write theater reviews of two Gene Kelly school musicals, which will be published on the on the High School Musicals section of the Post-Gazette’s website.

The Kelly Critics program provides an opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing literature, journalism or professional writing and enjoy musical theater but are not involved in their school musical.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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, and posts them . You can see the last several years’ coverage at, under the A&E Theater tab.
  • Each year, one student will be awarded a "Kelly Critic Gene Kelly Award," presented by Dr. Rawson during the 2019 Gene Kelly Awards.