CLO E-mail Alerts

Kelly Critics Program

“This is great. Once again, great job on putting together a great night for the kids. My son is a freshman, so it was our first Kelly awards. I thought the roof was going to blow off the theater from all the energy the kids (in the audience and on stage) bring to the show. Thanks.” Patrick Halferty, Teacher, Central Catholic Masque

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