For a long time, I knew Alice T. Carter only as the critic across the aisle. I was the newbie Post-Gazette theater writer, joining Chris Rawson on the beat, and she was the longtime Tribune Review theater critic, a fierce rival and a woman devoted to Pittsburgh theater, from high schools to the pros. It wasn't until I became a Gene Kelly Awards judge -- she had me by more than a decade there -- that we really sat talked and I could fully experience the passion and joy she got from her job and her family.
Alice died Nov. 26 of complications from a stroke. She was 69.
She was an active member of the American Theater Critics Association, which issued this statement after her passing:
"A passionate, lively personality, Alice served ATCA as its hard-working secretary, c.2000-04. As president of Foundation ATCA for several years thereafter, she supervised the publication of ATCA’s Under the Copper Beech: Conversations with American Theater Critics, ed. Jeffrey Jenkins (2004). She died Nov. 26, age 69, following a stroke. She will be profoundly missed."
ATCA members from other cities also offered tributes:
- "I'm pretty sure she's taking copious notes somewhere …" -- Rick Pender, who writes about the theater scene from Cincinnati to Kentucky.
- "Alice was a force of nature" -- Jeffrey Jenkins, a writer and head of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- "Pittsburgh was indeed fortunate to have her, and so was ATCA. I'm glad that I was active when she was" -- Robert Faires, a critic and arts editor for The Austin Chronicle.
- "To Alice's family and loved ones: Thank you for sharing her with all of us. It was our honor to be in her company" -- Bill Hirschman, ATCA executive committee chairman and founding publisher and chief critic of Florida Theater On Stage.
At home, colleagues and members of the theater community expressed shock and sadness. Andrew Paul of Kinetic Theatre and formerly of PICT said he had lunch with Alice within weeks of her passing.
Many were quick to react on social media. I found out when I read the Facebook post by Patrick Jordan, head of barebones productions, who summed up what she meant within the local theater community. "I am terribly heartbroken to hear of Alice Carter's passing," he wrote. "I am currently in a bit of a state of shock. Alice was as instrumental in the development of barebones and the theater community in Pittsburgh in general as anyone I can think of. Alice got it. She understood and actually cared about our community and was a huge part of it. I am going to have to let this sink in but I can't imagine not talking to her about shows upcoming, past, and present. My thoughts and love go out to Rod and Alice's family. Rest in peace Alice you were one of a kind."
Filmmaker/playwright/theater artist Gab Cody wrote on Twitter: "So very sad to hear that Alice Carter has passed. Such an enthusiastic, supportive, talented piece of our community."
For those who want to pay their respects, friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, and from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the Healy-Hahn Funeral Home, 512 Grant Ave., Millvale. The family suggests memorial donations be may be made in lieu of flowers to the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, PO Box 9024, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.