Program in Educational Theatre Welcomes Students to the New EdD Program

This year, the Program in Educational Theatre will welcome our first students into the new EdD Program. The first of our esteemed new students is Carmen Meyers.

Carmen Meyers

Carmen Meyers: Thrilled and Honored

I am thrilled to be one of the first two students in the newly revised Educational Theatre Ed.D program for the Fall 2015 semester.  As I embark on this unfamiliar path of doctoral work, I am excited, honored, and to be honest a little nervous.  As with most things, I’ve learned that this combination is the perfect environment for me to begin my work.  I feel proud and a great sense of responsibility to continue to create and explore new strategies for teaching and learning through theatre practice.  As I am a full time instructor in the Communication Arts and Sciences Department at Bronx Community College, my hopes are that my doctoral work will continue to help me serve my students. I am currently working with the Psychological Services Department to address domestic abuse and mental health issues on campus.  It is in this area that I would like to focus my doctoral work by delving deeper in to the barriers of mental health services within Latino/Hispanic cultures.  I plan to create forum pieces to help aid these conversations and bring awareness and understanding to this issue.  I am eager to gain the knowledge and expertise that this program offers and that I will need to go forward.  This program has been a pioneer in the exploration and potency of applied theatre practice and education around the world, and through its outstanding faculty I hope to add to the work that has already been done.

Theatre Practices in Puerto Rico: Once in a Lifetime Experience

By Rachel Gubow

Puerto Rico image

The Theatre Practices in Puerto Rico intersession was a once in a lifetime opportunity that allowed me to explore dance, movement, and theatre through a different cultural lens.

Puerto Rico image

In Javier Cardona’s physical theatre class I was pushed to physical and mental limits as our ensemble explored unconventional ways of creating movement that connected body and voice as one whole instrument.  Our trip was filled with delicious food, meeting brilliant artists, seeing moving performances, and learning to dance bomba.

Puerto Rico image

One of our many adventures in the city of Old San Juan included participating in a parade to celebrate San Sebastian Festival which fills the narrow city streets with over half a million people!  As we all enjoyed the beautiful weather and rich bonding experience, I came to a deeper understanding of how we can use art and theatre to break down barriers and tell stories that connect us within and across cultures.

Puerto Rico image

In Real Time: Educational Theatre Presents Six Original, Student-Directed Plays

In Real Time, a premiere performance of six new short plays written by NYU Steinhardt faculty member Joe Salvatore, will be presented by the NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre February 27-March 8, 2015. Each play is directed by students, working closely with Salvatore and 14 student actors.


The six short plays that make up In Real Time come from a series of eighteen plays that Salvatore wrote in 2012. Three of the plays were subsequently developed as part of a Writers Roundtable sponsored by the Program in Educational Theatre during the 2012-13 academic year. Salvatore also taught playwriting workshops to 180 middle school and high school students throughout New York City, whose feedback provided additional insights to develop the plays. Many of those students will attend the show in special school matinee performances on March 2 and March 6 at 10 a.m.

In Real Time features scenic design by Andy Hall, lighting design by Emily Stork, costume design by Márion Talán, and sound design and composition by Sam Crawford and Zeb Gould. The production stage manager is Talia Krispel, and Keith R. Huff serves as the production’s dramaturg. The directors are NYU Steinhardt students Katie Braun, Elena Stephenson Campbell, Yulissa Hidalgo, Haven Mitchell-Rose, Nick Robertson, and Shanae Sharon. The cast features NYU Steinhardt students Isaiah Bent, Kyla Blocker, Kordell Draper, David Ello, Nicole Gebler, Megan Ibarra, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Alexis Lounsbury, Adam Miller, Charlie Ponty, Sarah Smith, Devin Miranda Weise, Rachel Tuggle Whorton, and Peter Zerneck.

NYU’s production of In Real Time runs February 27-28, March 5-7 at 8pm, and March 1 and 8 at 3pm, at the Provincetown Playhouse (133 MacDougal Street). Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact NYU Box Office at or call the box office at 212.998.4941, or visit in person at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

#TBT Nancy and Lowell Swortzell, 1966

By Jonathan Jones

Next year, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Program in Educational Theatre. So much has transpired during our history at NYU and we will have multiple opportunities to reflect on the historic contributions of the Program during the next 18 months. Starting the journey, I present this image of Program co-founders Nancy and Lowell Swortzell collaborating on a production of Gammer Gurton’s Needle by John Still in the very first year of the Program: 1966.

If you have photographs or memories from the Program that you would like to share with the Educational Theatre community on the blog, please email Jonathan Jones.

#TBT All-Education Revue of 1940

All-Education Revue of 1940

Before Lowell and Nancy Swortzell created the Program in Educational Theatre in 1966, The School of Education had a rich history of drama and theatre programming. Among that history was an annual musical revue titled Blackouts, first presented in 1938. In 1940, superstar entertainer Eddie Cantor served as the technical advisor. Here he is in rehearsals with the student cast:

Eddie Cantor and the cast of Blackouts.

Eddie Cantor and the cast of Blackouts.

The Transition of Doodle Pequeño

By Melanie Ridgway

One year ago, I noticed a similarity in my course syllabi for Intro to Theatre for Young Audiences I and Masters of Modern Drama: both courses were scheduled to read The Transition of Doodle Pequeño by Gabriel Jason Dean. If this play was considered worthy material for both a TYA course and a play about “masters,” I knew it had to be worth reading. I was right; it was love at first “bahfoogee.”

Doodle rehearsal

The Transition of Doodle Pequeño is a magic-filled, multiple award-winning play for all ages about two boys who become friends in spite of their differences. It’s Halloween and Doodle is the new kid in the neighborhood. Accompanied by his imaginary goat, Doodle befriends Reno, a boy who is unpopular with the neighborhood kids because he likes to wear dresses. A blend of English, Spanish and “Goat,” this comic play takes a heartwarming look at the consequences of misused language and interrogates the issue of gender-bullying.

After reading through this play the first (and second) time, I was amazed at the risks this play took, especially considering it was a play for young audiences. Gabriel Jason Dean approaches some very heavy topics, topics that even adults are afraid to talk about. Despite its heavy content, the story is still hilarious, playful and engaging. I needed to bring it to life.

Doodle rehearsal

Doodle has been performed in readings and workshops at universities like Northwestern and The University of Texas, but I was surprised that it had not been performed yet in New York. Thanks to the support of Lamplighters (NYU’s Theatre for Young Audience Club) and the leadership of director (and my dear friend) Kathleen Turner, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño is finally getting its New York debut! As opening morning approaches, I could not be more proud of the hard work put in by the cast and production team. It’s been a beautiful journey and when those lights come up next Saturday, one year’s worth of waiting will finally be over.

Doodle promo image

The Transition of Doodle Pequeño will be performed on November 22nd at 10 am and 1 pm and November 23rd at 2 pm. The performances will take place at 238 Thompson Street (GCASL), Room C-95. Reserve your seat at the Doodle Eventbrite Site.

Suddenly Seymour, and Audrey Too

Little shop image of Audrey and Seymour

(All photos by Chianan Yen)

It seems like only yesterday that I was being eaten, daily, by a carnivorous plant. While our Little Shop may have closed, the doors to reflective practices are ever wider. Thinking back, I am realizing that so much of what I have learned and experienced through my classes and extra-curricular work in this department have shaped me into the performer (/artist/educator/person) who appeared on that folding set.

Some takeaways which come to mind are:

  • the use of urgency during performance from Judyie Al-Bilali/Uta Hagen’s missing object exercise in the Acting: Fundamentals class
  • using improv within structure from David Montgomery’s Forum Theatre unit in the Intro to Educational Theatre class
  • learning to be authentic performer from Jonathan Shmidt Chapman’s Theatre for Young Audiences class and subsequent friendship
  • using presentational and physical styles of acting from all the work I have done with Nan Smithner

While these are potent examples, they are only a few which have contributed to my current artistry and I can’t wait to see how my experiences in Little Shop and other aspects of my final year as a student in the Program in Educational Theatre add to that growing list.

Little shop image of Seymour

– Andrew Anzel (Seymour)

As a first semester graduate student, I figured there was no better way to learn about the Program in Educational Theatre than to throw myself into a departmental musical. I have never been a part of a university production where there was such a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and future plans. As an undergraduate Musical Theater major, the students in my department were all basically in the same place in our lives and had very similar career goals. Little Shop of Horrors provided a fascinating theatrical environment when both graduate and undergraduate students could work together building a show. The points of views, past production experiences and energy levels made the rehearsals and performances an incredibly colorful and rich environment and I thank whoever’s idea it was to let both the younger and older kids play together and put on a show.

Little shop image of Audrey and the urchins

– Bethany Moore (Audrey)

Instant Gratification 2014 – 24 Hour Play Festival

All Photos by Jonathan Jones