The School for Scandal – Opening This Weekend!

The School for Scandal posterLOCATION: Provincetown Playhouse
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Ticket Central
ONLINE: NYU Ticket Central
BY PHONE: 212 352 3101
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place
(at Washington Square South)

Friday, February 28 at 8pm
Saturday, March 1 at 8pm
Sunday, March 2 at 3pm
Thursday, March 6 at 8pm
Friday, March 7 at 8pm
Saturday, March 8 at 8pm
Sunday, March 9 at 3pm

News from the NYSTEA Student Conference

By Gus Jacobson

Hello, Educational Theatre world! My name is Gus Jacobson. I graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Educational Theatre way, way back in 2012! Every year, for the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working at the New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) Student Conference as a teaching artist and Conference Committee Member. The Conference is an amazing whirlwind of a weekend attended by close to one thousand public high school students and their teachers. In the coming years, the conference is expected to continue to grow in size. We are already close to filling an entire resort hotel to capacity!

NYSTEA is a strong, statewide organization of theatre educators that promotes and supports theatre education for students in grades pre-K through 12. In addition to the Student Conference, NYSTEA oversees an Educator’s Conference (held at Niagara Falls, NY this autumn) as well as arts education advocacy all over New York State. The Student Conference, which just celebrated its 17th year, creates a wonderful opportunity for high school students from all over New York to come together for a full weekend of workshops given by colleges, universities and other theatre professionals, as well as networking with one another and experiencing a variety of performances throughout the conference. Students come from all over New York State to attend the conference –from Long Island to the Finger Lakes to the St. Lawrence River! In fact, I met fellow Undergraduate Program Alum Andy Germuga (’12) at the Student Conference in 2008 when we were both only seniors in high school. I was in school down in Westchester County, and he was from Rochester. Still, the NYSTEA Student Conference brought us together for the first time!

In previous years, NYU has sent its own delegation of theatre teachers to lead workshops for the high school students. This past January, I was thrilled to see two familiar faces, Rachel Tuggle Whorton and Ashley Lauren Hamilton. As I am sure they can attest, the energy of the conference is incessant, contagious, and remarkably “theatre kid.” Some students play their guitars in the hotel lobby, leading their new friends in song, while others might choose to brush up their monologues for our College Auditions or perhaps go snow tubing outside. Our friends from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also attend every year to raise awareness, accept donations, and raffle off autographed posters, Playbills, and other unique memorabilia.

Speaking for the attending high school kids (for I was once one myself), this conference is a high school career highlight. In the over 100 workshop offerings, students receive expert instruction in technical theatre, acting, dance and voice. Each and every student schedule is hand crafted to reflect what the student’s interests are as well as workshops that might creatively challenge the student. In one weekend, every student will take five, 90-minute workshop, in addition to the social activities that high school students can choose from in between workshops.

Working at NYSTEA has become many things for me. There is the nostalgia of remembering the amazement that I felt as a high school student; the honor of working alongside so many teachers and practitioners who are as passionate about theatre education as I am; and the sheer joy of seeing how excited these students become. For those of us on the Conference Committee, the hours are long, the paperwork can be tedious, and the To-Do List can seem never-ending! But when all is said and done, it is because of this conference that I know of the power of theatre education, and I never hesitate to return for another year.

If you think you might be interested in working at the NYSTEA Conference on the Conference Committee, as a Teaching Artist, or perhaps as a College Representative or Vendor, we’d love to have you at the next conference. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments at! For more information about NYSTEA, please visit their NYSTEA website.

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to the spring semester!

As Program Director, David Montgomery. noted in his semester in review post in December, we have many exciting projects which have occurred during the winter break and which will follow later this semester including our study abroad trip to Puerto Rico, Nan Smithner’s main stage production of The School for Scandal, among others. Be sure and check the blog every Tuesday throughout the semester for program news and announcements. And, as always, remember that Revue is all about the experience of the NYU Educational Theatre community – so if you would like to contribute, be sure and let me know.


Jonathan Jones

Revue Editor

Posted on | Posted in Uncategorized |

First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes Project Discovery

By Rachell Hull

First Lady, Michelle Obama at left, and Rachel Hull at right

First Lady, Michelle Obama at left, and Rachel Hull at right

Shortly after completing my MA, EDTC in 2004 I applied for jobs in the wide ranging theater education, specifically within a regional theater. Ten years ago there was amazing pockets of work being done regionally, though not the pulsating hives that exist now, enough stimulating stuff for a recent grad and I was eager to put all that we had theorized and practiced to the test.

Being from Texas originally I wasn’t planning to return, thinking rather about setting sails for new horizons. But, through the interview process I found that Dallas Theater Center had been running a unique program whereby students in the surrounding public high schools were coming to the theater to see Suzan-Lori Parks and Nilo Cruz – playwrights I had just discovered in my grad classes.

How was it possible that this new work was finding its way so quickly to a high school audience, many of whom had never been to the theater before? What did that experience feel like? How was a regional theater providing this level of artistry for students at NO COST to the student? When I discovered further that these students weren’t being shepherded into a student matinee, but rather were attending evening performances and holding their own against the upper echelon of arts patrons in Dallas, I threw all expectations out the window and signed on.

That was more than 9 years ago, and it was the best decision I’ve made. Project Discovery led me through a deep exploration of community, an urban city like Dallas, a blue city in a red state, amidst a complex web of suburban and urban communities. It led me from a Manager of Education programs to the Director of Education and Community Enrichment – examining the intersection of arts education and community development. Project Discovery has shown me time and again the power of dedicated teachers and young people who demand and surpass high expectations. And it led me on November 22nd to the White House, where we received the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Though the experience of walking the hallowed halls of the White House was amazing and surreal! It paled in comparison to the moment Project Discovery’s name was called. This award, presented by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama recognized the 12 out of school arts and humanities programs in the United States that are at the top of their game! First Lady Michelle Obama opened up the ceremony telling the youth award recipients of how proud she was of them, and how proud they should be of themselves. To the educators she said, “You know better than anyone else the effect that art can have on a young person’s life. Giving the child a chance to fill a canvas, or to perfect a harmony or to shine on stage, that can spark the flames of a lifelong passion. And it can teach valuable skills: skills like hard work and persistence. It can open up possibilities that young people might not realize for themselves. There are thousands of programs all across the country that are doing this kind of important work every day.”

All of us at Dallas Theater Center are humbled by the excitement, congratulations and shared joy that has come from past students, classroom teachers, actors and teaching artists. There is an amazing team of support for this program, two of which are also NYU grads – Mara Richards, NYU Class of 2000 is our Manager of Education programs and uses her passion for Augusto Boal’s work to spark civic conversations prior to Clybourne Park just a couple of months ago. And Jenci Pavageaux, one of our dedicated, fearless Dallas ISD teachers spends her off nights bringing students to the theater. This tremendous recognition will be celebrated in January with participants, artists and supporters and the ripples of the award will continue to be felt, just as the impact of Project Discovery continues throughout North Texas. Though this award only confirms what Dallas Theater Center and participating schools throughout North Texas know, that this program is essential to the social and cultural development of our young people.

From the Program Director

By Dr. David Montgomery

The holidays always serve as a sudden reminder of the fact than an entire year has almost past.  It’ fun to look back, and when reflecting on Educational Theatre’s fast moving fall semester, so many events pop to mind that helped to make it exceptional.

The fall main-stage production of Meta, by Deborah Zoe Laufer and directed by Amy Cordileone, appealed to audiences of all ages by combining ancient stories with modern styles and music to examine the cyclical nature of humanity. With strong direction and top-notch performances and ensemble work by the actors, the story of Echo who looked critically at her own life was both educational and entertaining.  It was wonderful to see the high school audiences at matinees so highly engaged with the piece and asking significant questions during the post-show talk-backs, revealing the notable ways in which the show sparked audiences’ curiosity about the myths and their relevance to current society. Another collaborative effort resulted in performances of Sam Shephard and Joe Chaikin’s play Tongues. Directed by Dr. Nancy Smither in partnership with Jonathan Haas, the Director of Percussion Studies who oversaw the percussion ensemble, educational theatre actors and percussion students worked creatively to bring the play’s monologues to life through movement, words and inspired percussion instruments/sounds, creating a dynamic and visual theatrical experience.  The group was a big success at the The PASIC conference in Indianapolis, and performed again on campus at the Loewe Theatre.

Congratulations go out to our two student organizations as well. Uproar Theatre Corp had great success with their production of Godspell, directed by educational students  Sarah Jaffee and Dan Walsh, which incorporated clever staging and imaginative choreography to showcase students’ fantastic singing and acting abilities. Very impressive! Also, members of The Lamplighters created 5 beautiful pieces of theatre for young people that were showcased in December. Looking ahead, next semester we look forward to seeing Educational Theatre’s main stage production of School for Scandal, directed by Dr. Nancy Smithner, as well as the Theatrix short play festival and the performances of the NYU Youth Theatre Ensemble and Shakesspeare to Go. Additionally, an exciting collaboration between Drama Therapy and Educational Theatre will result in an upcoming performance about bullying, directed by Joe Salvatore. More information is to come regarding this performance, so stay tuned.

This semester’s Applied Theatre series featured workshops from facilitator Peter Friedrich who demonstrating theatrical techniques he used when working with an Islamic post-conflict society, from Anna Hermann and Imogen Ashby of the organization Clean Break who who explored their work with women in the UK criminal justice system, and from political-artistic coordinator Geo Britto who lectured about Augusto Boal and the work of the Center of the Theatre of the Oppressed’s in Rio. Other guest lecturers visited the Applied Theatre and Drama in Education classes, and in many courses, exciting work was created and shared. Theatre-making projects, as found in the Theatre of the Oppressed and Devising Theatre classes among  others, were showcased for the public at the end of the semester which celebrated the tremendous artistic work of our students.  I’ve also seen some very impressive masks and puppets floating around the office, created by students in Ralph Lee’s Mask and Puppetry class.

Importantly, several students put drama education theory into practice this semester as they student-taught at schools throughout the city. These students confronted the issues that every beginning teacher faces, planning lessons, knowing students as individuals and as members of a group, creating a positive classroom climate, expecting the unexpected—and much more.  Additionally, with the help of their instructors, they focused on successfully preparing for the new edTPA test.

So many other significant events transpired this semester, some of which are reflected in the older pages of this blog, and I want to thank the students, faculty, and larger Educational Theatre community for making it so special. Looking ahead, I’m struck with a wave of excitement for 2014, where the Program in Educational Theatre will continue to flourish, thrive and do great things. On behalf of the Program’s faculty, we wish you all the happiest of holidays and hope this year brings you joy, good health and success in all your endeavors.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability (April 25-27, 2014)

NYU Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

April 25-27, 2014

Hosted by The Program in Educational Theatre at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

For our 2014 annual forum, The Program in Educational Theatre spotlights the Teaching Artist. The intersection of pedagogy and aesthetics has extended its reach to a broad array of interdisciplinary perspectives and multiple art disciplines. We invite all allied professionals, newcomers, administrators, and researchers to exchange perspectives and collectively envision our shared future. The forum will begin Friday night, continue all day Saturday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.


Submissions are due Monday, January 20, 2014 (11:59pm, EST), and we strive to notify potential presenters by February 17.

Submit your proposal here, review a comprehensive description of the event, and consider the governing questions behind this forum.

Feel free to email any additional questions to  or to add yourself to our mailing list for future updates…

Please share this information with a colleague, friend, list, and...wait for it…like us on Facebook!

We look forward to seeing you at NYU in the spring!

~Your 2014 NYU Forum Committee

The Program in Educational Theatre

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

New York University

82 Washington Square East

New York City

Reflections on the Program in Educational Theatre and Beyond

Hello Educational Theatre Blog Readers! My name is Naomi Avadanei, and I graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Educational Theatre this past May (2013). I consider myself very lucky to have found and been a part of the Educational Theatre community for 4 years–those 4 years were filled with so many incredible opportunities, inspiring moments, and (of course) invigorating classes. Upon entering senior year I had to make the ever-so important decision: to go to grad school right away or to take a few years off and apply what I’ve learned in the workforce. Clearly, I decided on the latter.

I started applying to jobs pretty early during my senior year around October/November and didn’t really stop until I got my first teaching job in mid-August. Currently I’m what many would call a “freelance teaching artist.” I work as the Theatre and Movement teacher at Hunter College Elementary School (3 days a week), the Education Associate at TADA! Youth Theatre (4 days a week) and a Teaching Artist with TADA! (several times a month), Brooklyn Children’s Theatre (1 day a week), Salk Middle School (1 day a week) and The Paperbag Players (several times a month). Throughout my application process I would estimate that I applied to over 100 different positions in total. It was a long, arduous, and VERY stressful process, but I’m really happy with the companies I’m working for, the people I’m working with, and the work that I’m doing. It all paid off. When I was applying to jobs I was pretty stubborn about only applying to and accepting positions teaching theatre. In my case this was the most important non-negotiable. I realized I wouldn’t be happy in my chosen career path unless I was working in some respects teaching theatre to kids. As I was applying to positions (and it got closer and closer to the beginning of the school year) I started to have doubts about my non-negotiable. Was I being unrealistic? It turns out that just as I was starting to give up hope, a posting for a Theatre Teacher at Hunter College Elementary School came up on the List Serv (the List Serv is a gold mine–read those emails, they could lead to something!), and I applied. I was offered the position on August 19th, just 23 days before the first day of school. After that I kept getting various Teaching Artist positions from previous connections and interviews and everything sort of just came together. So while my story is unique to my experience, I’d like to share with you some of the things that helped me get where I am now and what I wish I knew/know as I was looking for a job and as I start my first year of teaching Theatre and Movement with students ages 3-12.

Classes (required and not) that you should take (and pay really, really close attention in):

First and foremost, I think this needs to be said because I didn’t figure it out until late in my Junior year/early Senior year. There’s a point in your college career where you have to stop thinking about classes and class work in terms of being a student and getting good grades and start looking at it as preparation for your future career. This may sound really silly but let me explain; I always prided myself on good grades and completing assignments well but often once the assignment was handed in that was it. I forgot about the bulk of the work necessary to complete the assignment (these are the details are really valuable and helpful later on) and moved on. My advice to you is to take those good ideas, great activities, and awesome tools and create a running list (preferredly an organized one). You’ll thank yourself later on. Ask questions in class and complete assignments through the lens of a teacher and an artist, not just a student–you will inevitably get good grades and you’ll make your transition into teaching much easier.

  • Any of the artistry/practical classes (Playwriting, Directing, Physical Theatre, Stagecraft, any Shakespeare Class). Even if you’re not interested in a career in Shakespeare or don’t want to become a playwright it’s important you LEARN about these things so that you’re prepared to TEACH them later on.

  • Dramatic Activities in the Elementary and Secondary Classroom–that running list I was talking about, these classes will be the equivalent of gold for that list.

  • Theory of Creative Drama

  • Some sort of Movement Class–I took Intro to Teaching Creative Movement through the Dance Ed. department. This class will help make you a more dynamic theatre teacher and a more attractive candidate.

Things I wish I had known:

  • Teaching Portfolio

    • Spend a lot of time on it, it’s worth investing the time.

    • Be organized when creating it, you will inevitably print and reprint the material in your portfolio. You will add, you will subtract, you will create new material. Create separate folders and documents for everything.

    • Be pushy about showing your portfolio to your interviewer. I wasn’t always so assertive in presenting my portfolio. For my first few interviews I waited for the interviewer to ask me for it. They didn’t. Assert yourself. Bring your portfolio and gently suggest (read: force) them to look at it. Show them all of the time and effort you put into it. Pick a few highlights to show them–no one will have time to look at the whole thing. Show what’s most relevant to the position.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    • Ask for them even before you need them. Don’t expect people to have a fast turn over. You want the person who is recommending you to take their time and do a good job on your letter so give them the opportunity to do just that. Ask them for the letter 1-2 months before you anticipate needing it.

    • Get a variety of letters: people who have seen you teach (both in the elementary and secondary classroom–if you’re interested in teaching both–you want those letters to be separate so that you can have them ready should you be applying for a position in that area), people who have supervised you in an administrative position, people who have worked with you in an artistic setting etc. You want a variety so you have at least one letter for every type of job you might apply to.

    • This point is similar to the Teaching Portfolio point. Most employers won’t ask you for a letter of recommendation. Give one to them even if they don’t ask for one either in a hard copy at the end of an interview or as an attachment to your follow up email.

  • Get all of your certification paperwork and exams out of the way and submitted as early as possible. You don’t want to be thinking about them when you’re applying to jobs–you’ll have enough stress without worrying about whether or not you’re teaching certification went through.

  • Get in touch with past employers and internship coordinators, let them know you’ve graduated and are looking for work. You never know, sometimes the stars align and they’re looking for someone just like you.

  • Have a backup curriculum prepared for all age groups you’re interested in teaching–even if it’s just an overview

    • Some employers might ask you to create a curriculum on the spot (mine did).

    • In case you get hired last minute (I did) you won’t have to start from scratch, but you’ll have somewhere to pull from and creating a year long curriculum in 2 weeks (or 2 days) won’t seem as daunting as it could be. Remember that list I talked about? This is when that comes in handy.

    • Speaking of creating a curriculum I don’t think we really talk so much about the logistics of creating a curriculum. It’s an area the program could work on. This is not to say you don’t get a lot of tools during your time at NYU, but not exactly: How do I create a curriculum? What should YOU do? Take initiative. I recommend you ask your Cooperating Teachers, they’ve been there and they’ve done it. So while their teaching styles might be very different from your own, take the time to ask them and talk through the process. It’ll help you when you have to create a curriculum of your own.

In Conversation with Finegan Kruckemeyer and Gabriel Jason Dean

In Intro to Theatre for Young Audiences with Jonathan Shmidt Chapman

By Tamara Weisz

When I started Jonathan Shmidt Chapman’s Intro to Theatre for Young Audiences class a few weeks ago, I knew that we were extremely lucky to be analyzing the world of TYA through reading some of the most incredible, thought-provoking TYA scripts out there today. Little did I know I’d be in for a treat, when two authors whose work we had been reading joined us for a lively discussion on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.  As Gabriel Jason Dean and Finegan Kruckemeyer entered the room, our faces were giddy with big grins of excitement, and we were automatically greeted with a charming hello by Finegan – he’s Australian – and Gabriel, saying he was sorry not to have an accent to woo us with. Thankfully their sense of humor made us laugh and calm our nerves before delving into this exciting conversation.

Who are they?

Finegan Kruckemeyer and Gabriel Jason Dean

Finegan Kruckemeyer and Gabriel Jason Dean

Gabriel Jason Dean is an American playwright whose first TYA play, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño, received a lot of praise at last year’s John F. Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices conference for dealing with issues of gender identity through a humorous and compelling story. ‘Doodle’ has been work-shopped in a variety of settings, and is being made into a children’s book as we speak, but has yet to have a full professional production. Finegan Kruckemeyer is based in Australia and has had 52 of his plays performed around the world. In class, we have read two of his plays, Helena and the Journey of the Hello, and The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy. You can probably tell by all of the above play titles that these two playwrights are challenging the notions of what is children’s theatre, and we were eager to hear their opinions.

Taking Risks in a Changing Scene

Both writers are challenging norms of what we think that children can handle or understand. They believe that children are capable of exploring heavier subjects, and their plays deal with complex emotions, including sadness. Often, producers get nervous that their audiences will not understand this type of subject matter and they may think that sad moments ultimately classify a play as inappropriate  – something not to be shown to children. A lot of times, adults are trying to speak for kids and it is here we realize that the problem is not with the children – it is with the adults. How do we change this conversation? How do we take risks in producing plays and trust that child audiences will go on the journey, even if it includes ups and downs? The taboo of sadness in TYA is something that both of these writers are trying to break, which is an amazing feat.

In all, Kruckemeyer said that he writes plays that he feels will resonate with audiences that bare the same humanity as him; if he can be moved towards empathy, he hopes that will resonate with anyone, regardless of their age– and in that sense, there is no difference between children and adults. If we focus on telling great stories, they will be universally understood.

Where Are We Now?

What was really inspiring was hearing both playwrights talk about working in America right now, at a time where we are on the cusp of an exciting directional change; something new is brewing in the world of TYA – we are doing some soul searching, and people are starting to realize that it is okay to take risks and challenge preconceived notions of what TYA is fundamentally. They also mentioned how amazingly collegial the TYA scene is in the States, where different people from different companies across the nation are actively in conversation about TYA’s future.

Hopes for the Future:

Kruckemeyer hopes that we stop focusing on the ‘what’ – what will the show be about? Everyone wants to know everything beforehand – can we trust our audiences? He hopes people will come experience the ‘what’ in the theatre itself, and he hopes that a lot of how’s and why’s come along with it. Dean looks forward to seeing braver choices, and stepping away from current trends (adaptations and “safe” titles). While both writers understand that there’s financial risk involved, they hope new work is created which invests in the storytellers of our generation.

Some Fun Facts:

– Did you know that Finegan Kruckemeyer has a 13 year old dramaturg that he’s been working with for years now? He says she scrutinizes his work in every aspect!

– Gabriel Jason Dean work-shopped his play, Doodle, in a middle school in Austin, TX for 6 weeks and working with children fundamentally changed the play. He believes if we trust children with the work, they may truly have something to teach us.

For more information on these playwrights, please visit:

Finegan Kruckemeyer and Gabriel Jason Dean


Tamara Weisz is a graduate student in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities. She will continue studying new play development as a Graduate Student Observer at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices conference in 2014.

Announcing Auditions for The School for Scandal

Please come out to audition!! All ages, sizes, shapes and levels of experience are welcome!!

The School for Scandal, a Restoration comedy, has been called a superbly crafted laugh machine, and  “timeless in delivering delectable comeuppance to a viper’s nest of gossip mongers!” Written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in 1777, the play demonstrates his narrative vivacity, verbal sheen and degree of wit in purely polished stagecraft — indeed, his theatre sense was acute and he knew how to write rewarding roles.

Masquerading behind the veneer of polite London society, malicious prattlers trade gossip like gamblers. After all, what could be more fun than a good scandal?

Come on, Ed Theatre, let’s do some COMEDY (of manners)!

Performance dates encompass the last weekend of February and the first week(end) of March.

Audition dates (please sign up in the Ed. Theatre office): 

Wednesday 12/4 7 – 10pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Friday 12/6 5 – 6:30pm Room 303, Education Building, 35 W. 4th

7 – 10:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement

Saturday 12/7 10:00am – 1:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Saturday 12/7 CALL BACKS  2 – 4:00pm, Acting Studio, Pless Basement
Please prepare a 2 minute comedic monologue, either classical or contemporary. Please note: willingness to work in a dedicated creative ensemble is essential.


Directed by:

Dr. Nan Smithner
Clinical Associate Professor
Program in Educational Theatre
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

The Program in Educational Theatre Graduates Its First Married Couple!

History will be made in the Educational Theatre doctoral program May 2014 as we graduate our first married couple, Drs Jennifer and John Socas.

Jen’s study, “Performing through Layers: reading the world through theatre in Zanzibar,” and  John’s, “Enhancing self presentation through drama at a community college: Rehearsing the job interview,” make exceptional contributions to the field.
Jennifer and John Socas with their daughter Arden.

Jennifer and John Socas with their daughter Arden.

Professor Taylor, chair of both dissertations, commented that it is a rare feat to have two doctoral studies by a couple, let alone two from the same college program in one year. “We are all so incredibly proud and humbled by the achievement of the Socas family,” said Taylor. “Maybe one day their 4 year old daughter Arden will enroll at NYU too to make a hat-trick, but no pressure please!”

While used mostly in sport, such as cricket, a hattrick is accomplishing a positive feat three times .