Forum: Developing New Work for the Theatre

By Matt Cohen

On Saturday, April 27th, I attended the Program in Educational Theatre’s 2013 Forum, Developing New Work for the Theatre.  For the first session, I attended the Case Study on New Play Development, moderated by Professor Joe Salvatore.  This seminar featured representatives from the New York Theatre Barn and Luna Stage.  For the second session, I participated in a workshop in Entry Points for Devising New Work, facilitated by Dr. Nan Smithner.

The Case Study on New Play Development provided a fascinating take on the development process of original musicals and plays.  Sammy Buck and Brandon James Gwinn, respectively the librettist and composer/co-lyricist of Speargrove Presents, NYTB’s musical about the drama surrounding a high school production ofRent, discussed how in the beginning of the process, they were two of numerous writers involved in the project, until Joe Barros (director) and Jason Najjoum (producer) whittled down the pool.  The musical is still a work in progress.

Nikkole Salter, playwright of Carnaval, discussed how she moved to New Jersey and discovered a theatre near her new home, Luna Stage, which accepted open submissions of new work.  She submitted Carnaval, and she and Cheryl Katz (Director of Play Development) discussed how impactful it was to have multiple readings of the work in her writing process, as well as the often surprising reaction of the predominantly blue-haired audience.  The seminar concluded with a brief question and answer session, and all of the panelists were wonderfully open in answering our questions.

In the workshop in Entry Points for Devising New Work, we learned about the various approaches to creating new theatrical work in many different settings.  These ranged from brainstorming specific topics to simply using inspiration from props.  At the end of the session, we were divided into two groups, and each group devised a brief piece about internet dating.  Both performances were indicative of a great deal of growth within the short time period.

The afternoon concluded with a Plenary Session, in which we discussed what was learned in the previous sessions.  We primarily addressed the topics of establishing rigorous, intentional new works development processes that are innovative and sustainable, holding the stakeholders accountable, and defining and measuring success in the process.  All in all, my peers and I attained a wealth of knowledge that day, and I appreciate having been given the opportunity to participate in such an enlightening forum.




Student and Alumni Updates

Kristin R. Benner (EDTA ‘12)  received a full time drama elementary (K-2) teaching position in the Montclair Public Schools in Montclair, NJ at the Gifted and talented/performing arts magnet. She puts on three productions a year and could not be more thankful for what NYU did to prepare her for this position.



Jeanine DeFalco (EDTC ‘12) is a Doctoral fellow in Cognitive Studies at Teachers College, Columbia, on an Army Research Lab grant studying detection of engagement and affect in a simulation-based combat medic training environment. Her general focus is on embodied cognition, narrative, and creative problem solving using role play.

Mary Leigh Filippone (Undergraduate ‘06) runs the Theatre Department at Springfield High School just outside Philadelphia where her production of Our Town was recently honored as Best Play of 2013 by the Greater Philadelphia Cappies. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Arts Administration at Drexel University. Mary currently serves as the President of the Board of Governors at the Players Club of Swarthmore Pennsylvania.



Julianna Krawiecki (EDTC ‘12) was awarded with a State of New Jersey Commendation Citation Award for the development and performance of “Our Stories of Sandy”, a student devised performance piece that illustrated Hurricane Sandy through the eyes of a middle school student. She teaches music and theater at Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School in New Jersey.

Christina Kosyla (EDTA ‘13) has accepted a teaching position with Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. Stuart is an independent, Catholic school for girls in grades K-12. Christina will be teaching religion (K-2), drama (3-5), and directing the Upper School fall play.

Robin Levenson (PhD ‘07) is currently a Professor at City College, CUNY, in the Interdisciplinary Arts Department where teaches speech and theatre, specializing in non-native speakers and actor training. Her students won prizes for speech at LaGuardia Community College in 2011 and 2012, and first place in 2013 at the CUNY‐Wide Annual Student Speech Contest.

Alex Sarian (EDTC ‘07) was appointed to the newly created position of Director of Finance & New Business at Lincoln Center Institute, the education division of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  In this role, he oversees all aspects of business development, marketing, digital/social media and consulting services for programs with an annual reach of 350,000.  He joins Lincoln Center after serving as the Director of Education at MCC Theatre and founding Affinity Arts Group, a private consulting practice.


Robert Stevenson (UG ‘13, EDTC ‘14) was one of several recipients of the Ida Bodman Service Award at the Steinhardt Baccalaureate Commencement in May. The award, recognizing his work with Uproar Theatre Corps, celebrates superlative and extraordinary service and exhibiting the highest standards of leadership in school activities.

Lantie Tom (EDTC ‘12) has been professionally designing and building masks, puppets, and the occasional prop for theatre and education programs – sometimes with Educational Theatre alumni! Each project is unique, and she had the recent pleasure of working with Barnard-Columbia Ancient Drama Group, The Forum Project, and Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study.


From the Program Director: Welcome to Fall 2013

Welcome back to the fall 2013 semester. What a memorable summer it was for the Program in Educational Theatre! In addition to our on-campus course offerings, the New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) series completed its 16th season in June. NPYA once again saw student-actors and professional directors, as well as dramaturg Dr. Cecily O’Neill, develop three new TYA plays: What We Lost Along the Way by Corrine Esme Glanville, Meeka’s Rising by Carol Korty, and Shahrazad 1001, written by our very own Educational Theatre alum, Ramon Esquivel. This was followed in July by a spectacular production of As You Like It.  With teenagers from the Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) program performing the play, this version took place in the 1960’s and was great fun. Under the direction of Dr. Smithner, the annual LFS program once again gave graduate students registered for the accompanying course the invaluable experience of working with the youth acting ensemble, as well as the chance to delve into Shakespeare’s language and hone their coaching skills.

Students attending our London study abroad program, Drama and Youth led by Dr. Philip Taylor, had numerous rich experiences, including TYA programming at Rose Bruford College and site visits to Oily Cart and the Conference on Dorothy Heathcote as new additions to the curriculum. Some students continued on after the London program to join a new cohort of Educational Theatre students in our course on Community-Engaged Theatre in Dublin, led by Joe Salvatore, where they worked with Ireland’s finest drama practitioners with affiliations through Upstate Theatre and the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. It’s exciting to see the Program have such international visibility.

The summer months went by quickly but we enthusiastically embark on a new academic year. As always, there are lots of opportunities for students to get involved in projects outside of their course work. The main stage Educational Theatre production this fall is Myths of Metamorphoses, written and developed by Deborah Zoe Laufer (with help from the ensemble). This exciting new play is being directed by Dr. Amy Cordileone, with musical direction by Rachel Whorton, and will presented in the Black Box Theatre. You won’t want to miss it!

Throughout the year our annual storytelling events, produced by Regina Ress, will feature renowned artists telling tales from around the globe. Our Shakespeare to Go (STG) troupe will be inviting you to audition for their cut version of Julius Caesar. Directed by Daryl Embry, the play and its actors will travel to schools in New York City, providing inspiration to hundreds of our city’s young people, many of whom will see Shakespeare performed for the first time in their lives. Our Theatrix! project, launched in 2003, will continue to profile new work by students and provide them with opportunities to develop their artistry and collaborate with classmates. Last year Theatrix! brought the Educational Theatre community together with students from the Program in Music Composition to bring original musicals to life.  It was highly memorable–and we’ll keep you posted about similar Theatrix! events and projects as they develop. So remember to read all the educational theatre emails you receive about artistic projects, program announcements, seminars, internships and employment opportunities from the educational theatre list-serve.

Other artistic happenings throughout the year will transpire through Uproar Theatre Corp and Lamplighters, two very active Steinhardt clubs that were formed by Educational Theatre students. Uproar will be presenting Godspell on the weekend of November 21st, so keep a look out for more information about where that will be presented. Also, our Writers’ Roundtable will continue to investigate the roles of structure and accountability in the creative processes of playwrights at various stages of their careers.

I am pleased to announce that after another thought-provoking annual Forum last April that explored the process of Developing New Works for Theatre, next year’s Forum will investigate and pose questions around the work of Teaching Artists. Rest assured there will be lots of opportunities for students to get involved in this two day investigation of the teaching artist and teaching artistry that is sure to bring major interest and constituencies together to the NYU campus.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year, and I want to thank the outstanding Educational Theatre adjunct faculty, as well as my dedicated colleagues Philip Taylor, Nan Smithner, Joe Salvatore, Amy Cordileone and Jonathan Jones, for creating a dynamic environment where invigorating artistic work and meaningful learning transpires.

Instant Gratification 2013 / 24-Hour Play Festival in Pictures

By Jonathan Jones

On Saturday, September 7th, the Program in Educational Theatre kicked off the 2013-2014 school year with our annual Welcome Party and Instant Gratification: the 24-Hour Play Festival. Here are some pictures from the performances:

Playwrights and Directors introduce themselves. From Left to Right: Micaela Blei, Jenna Briedis, Kathleen Turner, Daphnie Sicre, Oriana Miles, Marco Santarelli, Lyssa Deehan, and Robert Stevenson.


“The Story of Jack” by Robert Stevenson; Directed by Lyssa Deehan

Featuring: Liana Costable, Luke Doyle, Chelsea Flores, and Haven Mitchell-Rose






















“Living With It” by Jenna Briedis; Directed by Corey Rubel

Featuring: Crystal Gulley, Elizabeth Lozada, Gala Radinovic, Patti Veconi, and Charlie Wright














“Inconclusive” by Daphnie Sicre; Directed by Kathleen Turner

Featuring: Jenny Aaron, Alexis Lounsbury, and Owen Scott































“The ELf with the Iron Fist” by Marco Santarelli; Directed by Oriana Miles

Featuring: Brigid Donovan, Gina Grandi, and Catherine Talton













“The Physicist Always Rings Twice” by Micaela Blei; Directed by Katie McSherry

Featuring: Andrew Anzel, Kordell Draper, Kaylin Hawkins, Melanie Ridgway, and Emma Vissicchio





Audition Notice: Myths of the Metamorphoses

Myths of the Metamorphoses***

(*** official title forthcoming)

Written and Developed by Deborah Zoe Laufer (with assistance from the ensemble)

Directed by Amy Cordileone

Musical Direction by Rachel Whorton

Join the Program in Educational Theatre for an exciting new venture this fall… a brand new, mainstage play with music & movement!

The creative team is excited to collaborate with an ensemble of 12-16 diverse female and male storytellers (including singers and dancers) interested in weaving select tales from among the 360 myths of Ovid’s epic poem, The Metamorphoses.

Actors, singers, and/or dancers interested in auditioning should email Amy Cordileone to schedule an appointment & receive more specific information regarding the audition itself, ^^

^^ Auditions will be scheduled in 10-minute increments on the date listed below. Please email Amy with a preferred window of at least 90 minutes during which your 10-minute audition and dance call will be scheduled (given times will be honored, should times within said window continue to be available).

Auditions and callbacks will take place at the Provincetown Playhouse (133 MacDougal Street).

Audition Date: Saturday, Aug 31 (10:00 am – 1:00 pm & 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm)

Callback Date: Sunday, Sep 1 (10:00 am – 5:00 pm)

For the audition, participants will be asked to:

tell a 1-2 minute story & sing a 1-2 minute a capella piece

learn a group movement piece

Rehearsal days/dates: Tuesday – Sunday (Sep 3 – Oct 24)

Show Dates:

Friday, October 25 at 8 pm
Saturday, October 26 at 8 pm
Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm

Monday, October 28 at 10 am (school show)
Thursday, October 31 at 8 pm

Friday, November 1 at 10 am (school show)
Friday, November 1 at 8 pm
Saturday, November 2 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 3 at 3 pm

From the Program Director

Time goes by quickly.  It seems like we just started the fall 2012 semester and now we are preparing to graduate many of our students this spring. As the semester comes to a close and I reflect on the academic year, I’m astounded by the quality and depth of student work that has transpired in our educational theatre classrooms and performance spaces, much of which is documented in this blog. Projects that have happened beyond coursework have also been impressive–and inspiring. All one has to do is look back over the numerous Educational Theatre list-serve notices and invitations sent over the last 10 months to find an abundance of theatre activities on display–including applied theatre workshops, play readings, TYA productions, fully produced plays, and many other teaching/learning opportunities and events for which our students have been involved. These reveal an incredible record of collaboration, artistry, diversity and passion within the Educational Theatre community.

While the semester comes to an end, the summer and fall launch new and exciting course possibilities for students who are continuing their studies.  In its 16th year, this summer we are excited to continue our annual New Plays for Young Audiences series at the Provincetown Playhouse in June, as well as the class that accompanies it, Problems in Play Production. Students of our London summer program, being led by Philip Taylor, will have numerous rich experiences, including site visits to Oily Cart and the Conference on Dorothy Heathcote as new additions to the curriculum. Some students will continue on after London and join other Educational Theatre students in our course in Dublin, led by Joe Salvatore, as they study community-engaged theatre. Back on campus, our annual Looking for Shakespeare program continues as Nan Smithner is getting ready to direct Shakespeare’s As You Like It with young people and graduate students helping through their enrollment in the course,Directing Youth Theatre.  There’s still space available for Educational Theatre students to register for this course. In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be the instructor for Teaching Through Drama, where middle school students will come once a week over a three week period to experience drama with the graduate students, one time with special guest Cecily O’Neill leading a drama workshop–and the NYU students will facilitate a drama experience for the young people in week three. There’s also an Acting: Scene Study class to consider, being taught by Amy Cordileone, as well as other summer course offerings. All of the course titles and descriptions are listed on the blog posted on May 3rd (see below), and I want to stress that it’s not too late to register for any of these classes.

What a great year! Congratulations to all who are completing their studies and receiving their degrees.  Your hard work and commitment have contributed to the successful completion of your degree requirements, and more importantly, the Program in Educational Theatre is a better place because we have talented students like you.

Have a wonderful summer everyone!


David Montgomery, PhD

Director, The Program in Educational Theatre

What Makes My Thursdays Special: A Glimpse into the NYU Steinhardt Youth Theatre Ensemble

By Lauren Durdach

As my final semester as a graduate student in the Colleges and Communities track quickly draws to a close, I feel incredibly blessed for a stellar journey here at NYU. Today I write to you about my most meaningful and rewarding experience of all… being the Company Manager of the NYU Steinhardt Youth Theatre Ensemble (YTE)!

Karoline and Yordy in Waiting for Godot

The YTE is comprised of 20 zany and mad-talented middle and high school students from across the five boroughs. Students audition for the esteemed program, and most often continue with the team until they graduate from high school. This year-long commitment begins in the fall with Joe Salvatore’s Shakespeare’s Theatre graduate course. The young actors are coached by a graduate student one-on-one to prepare a Shakespearean monologue. For many, this is their first introduction to theatre! Additionally, they participate in a series of ensemble and skill building workshops throughout the fall to prepare them for the work to come. Each spring, YTE members join Amy Cordileone’s Acting, Pedagogy, Technique and Performance graduate course every Thursday… true dedication!  Throughout the semester, students are directed by the graduates on contemporary scenes and monologues which culminate in a weekend’s worth of showcases for the public.

Amy Cordileone, our fearless leader, leads an end of year debrief

Our fabulous team this year embraced the very essence of ‘ensemble’. Collaboration between directors and actors was evidenced in the strong performances in our showcase at the end of April. Respect, lasting friendships, and positive attitudes exuded from not only the YTE members, but also the graduate students. Through our art making, these young actors discovered mentors, role-models, and a home away from home.  Over the course of the year this group continued to surprise me every day with their talents and kindness. As the Teaching Assistant for the class and the Company Manager for the YTE, I was constantly inspired by the relentless contribution of quality artistic work, spirit, and passion from both parties. Congrats to a fabulous year, everyone!

SPREAD THE WORD! Auditions for the ensemble will be held in late September early October for the 2013-2014 season. Know some fun and talented teenagers? Please encourage hard working students to apply! Email for more information.

Ed Theatre Students and Youth Ensemble Memebers


The Program in Educational Theatre’s Youth Ensemble is comprised of young people aged 13-18 from the New York City area. They work with NYU students in Shakespeare’s Theatre I in fall and Theater: Pedagogy and Practice in spring with a culminating performance in April.

Applied Theatre 2: Engaging Communities with Transformative Theatre

By: Ashley Hamilton and Clare Hammoor

Professor Taylor’s Applied Theatre II class was assigned the mission of exploring the field of transformative theatre through several different projects this semester. Each student in the class was asked to choose a site and a population that they could work with. They were given a number of tools and techniques to apply the theoretical concepts discussed in class within their communities. The sites ranged included: classrooms, religious spaces, alternative learning centers, traditional theatrical stages and more. Each project worked with a unique population within the site. The populations included: grade school children learning about kindness, women being interviewed on body image, suspended middle schoolers, actors seeking development, and more. Here are a few snippets from these experiences.

Dana and Hoyeung: Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops

We led weekly Theatre of the Oppressed workshops with nine actors who have an interest in social justice. After the 6 sessions had taken place, a forum theatre performance happened on April 28th. Our goal was to expose the actors to TO work and pass along some knowledge about it so that they can use it in their future work. Our performance goal is to expose a systemic issue and create dialogue about possible solutions and what we can do as a community. A brief video of part of a session can be viewed here:

Ashley, Nikki, and Nicole: DISORDERED

Ashley interviewed 25 different women on their experiences with body image and the American media. The data was then transcribed and assembled into a script. A play reading was held on April 25th with four actresses. There was an inner- active component of the reading in which the audience participated in answering the question: “my body is…”. Their answers were then transplanted into the script reading. After the reading, there was a talkback with a member of the NYU Health and Wellness Eating Disorder team and the audience was asked to fill out a response to the reading with their questions and thoughts. The intention behind this piece was to both raise awareness around female body image in America and also report on the experience on being a researcher pursuing interview- based theatre. Ashley also performed a part of the piece at the -ISM Project Showcase hosted by NYU’s CMEP on April 23rd.

Interested students should take Professor Philip Taylor’s Fall course, Applied Theatre 1, for an introduction to this work. The course will take place on Tuesdays from 4:55pm to 6:35pm for 3 credits. The course number is: MPAET-GE 2101-001.

Applied Theatre: Sanctuary for Homeless LGBTQQI Youth

By: Jamie Cacciola-Price

Sanctuary, an ethnodrama in one act is based on the stories and writings of LGBTQQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex) homeless youth that live at a local shelter. For the past two years I have conducted interviews with the youth, as well as facilitated writing workshops where they wrote journals, poetry, and letters. The piece explores topics ranging from lack of employment, prostitution, discrimination, sexual abuse, HIV, love, skinny jeans, Little Debbie’s and Beyoncé. I was drawn to tell these stories because of the growing epidemic of homeless queer youth in New York City, particularly among transgender and intersex youth of color. During the script development stage I was influenced by the vividness and graphic nature of the youth’s writings and chose to showcase their stories through a combination of flashback/frozen action sequences scattered within a linear story structure that follows the youth over a period of three days in June of 2012. Further aiding my process was Stephen DiMenna’s playwriting class, where I was able to try different approaches to the storytelling to see what was affective. Sanctuary is important because it raises awareness and provides a voice to a population that so desperately needs to be heard. The rich talk back and discussion following the premiere reading on April 27 at NYU illustrated to me that this play has the potential to change hearts and minds, and should a production ever come to fruition it will be because of the mentorship and guidance of the many great professors, researchers and artists that I’ve had the privilege to work within the Program in Educational Theatre.