Little Shop of Horrors Opens This Week!

Little Shop of Horrors
Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Based on the film by Roger Corman, Screenplay by Charles Griffith
David Montgomery, Director
Program in Educational Theatre

LOCATION: Black Box Theatre
ADMISSION: $15 General, $5 Students & Seniors
For tickets, contact NYU Box Office
BY PHONE: 212-998-4941
IN PERSON: 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)

Friday, October 24 at 8pm
Saturday, October 25 at 8pm
Sunday, October 26 at 3pm
Thursday, October 30 at 8pm
Friday, October 31 at 8pm
Saturday, November 1 at 8pm
Sunday, November 2 at 3pm

The entire cast and crew is made up of undergraduate and graduate students in the Program in Educational Theatre at Steinhardt. The cast includes Andrew Anzul as Seymour, Bethany Moore as Audrey, Zak Ferentz as Mushnick, Katie Braun as Audrey II, Andrew Coopman as the Dentist and Rachel Gubow, Chelsea Flores and Alexandra Richardson as the street urchins.

Other cast members include Josephine Cho, Liana Costable, Kordell Draper, Emma Vissicchio, Christopher Gooley and Alexis Lounsbury.

The production will include four puppets, the pods, to showcase the man-eating plant at various stages of its growth. Josephine Cho, Kordell Draper and Christopher Gooley will serve as puppeteers.

Steinhardt doctoral student Rachel Whorton is the show’s musical director with Dr. Amy Cordileone, a teacher from the Program in Educational Theatre, choreographing.

The crew includes Elizabeth Lozado, Shayna Blecherman, Seohee “July” Bok, Sophie Rosenthal (dance captain), Ashley Miskoff (dance captain), Mark Lussier (assistant stage manager), Orianna Miles (assistant stage manager), Jamie Lerner (assistant director) and Talia Krispel (production stage manager).

The Teacher’s Resource Guide for the show is available here:

And visit for an announcement about the show:

Reflections on the Life of Maxine Greene and the Forum on the Teaching Artist: Navigation, Innovation, and Sustainability

By Andrew M. Gaines

Last spring’s annual Forum was a spectacular three-day event, drawing renowned presenters from across the globe, newcomers to the field, administrators, researchers, and allied professionals from multiple arts modalities and disciplines.

Our theme spotlighted the Teaching Artist, a term coined by Dr. Maxine Greene during her 36-year term as Philosopher-in-Residence at Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts.  On the opening night of the forum, Maxine fittingly presented our Exemplary Teaching Artist Awards to four outstanding practitioners, following a touching introduction by Dr. Philip Taylor who cited her as the inspiration for his acronym ART (action, reflection, transformation).

Sadly, our attendees had the privilege and honor of witnessing Maxine’s last public appearance that night.  On May 29, only one month following the Forum, Maxine took her last breath at the age of 96.  She had continued to teach until her final days as Professor Emeritus at Columbia University Teacher’s College.  In her plenary address, Maxine’s precious words captured the sublime ephemerality of life, art, and education:

These creative ways to teaching cannot be always predicted or controlled. They are emergent–like our engagement with the changing life, of the golden leaves I see outside the window, with the world. It is always becoming and can never be fully captured.

Our Forum proceeded in the spirit of her noble pursuit, enthusiastically exchanging perspectives and collectively envisioning our shared future. We sought to explore such guiding questions as:

• What is the impact of the Teaching Artist, locally and globally?

• How are Teaching Artists effectively recruiting, cultivating engagement, and fostering    accountability?

• How do Teaching Artists negotiate a commitment to both process and product?

In total, we featured 17 workshops and dialogues, 3 plenary panels, and introduced an alluring new format – PechaKuchawhere presenters had 6 minutes to narrate 20 slides automatically forwarding every 20 seconds.  Sunday morning began with and fabulous performance of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare-to-Go, NYU’s traveling Shakespeare troupe. Community Word Project sustained our momentum by hosting a teaching artist job fair that attracted hundreds of talent and dozens of agencies. Our Forum concluded at the New Victory Theater to enjoy a performance of Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys and a post-show reception, including a brief workshop facilitated by Barbara Ellmann and Ted Sod, two of our Exemplary Teaching Artists.

In sum, our Forum synergized our vibrant community and it’s memory will largely remain a testament to the life of Maxine Greene. Like Dr. Greene, our program bravely sought questions more than answers, and embraced many opportunities to sense more deeply, release the imagination, “internalize new modalities for expression” and bring ourselves into “startling relation to the world.”

Study Abroad London – Drama and Youth

By Isaiah Bent

NYU Steinhardt sent nineteen graduate students to London for three weeks; jam packed with new and exciting ways to approach theatre.  We experienced theatre for children with special needs, opera for children, process drama with the brilliant Cecily O’Neill, and of course, all the Shakespeare we could handle.

Isaiah with Cecily O'Neill

It was a once in a lifetime experience. Not only did we get to see around fifteen theatrical productions, but Dr. Philip Taylor put together an all-star group of British educators for us to work with during our stay.

A new wrinkle in this year’s London program was the amazing opportunity we had to devise a theatrical experience for second graders.  We guided sixty children through different “imagined worlds” we created using the new techniques we learned from our London professors.

When we were not knee deep in theatre (which was rare), we were enjoying the beauty of London.  Our lodgings could not have been better, given they were in Russell Square, smack dab in the middle of London.  Museums, world-class pubs, and extravagant gardens were all in walking distance.  My favorite local experience was when we dined on meat pies in the building where Sweeney Todd’s barbershop once stood.

Every student should make an effort to take advantage of this truly special program.  For more student stories, please check out our fabulous blog:

Study Abroad options for 2015 include our Theatre Practices January program in Puerto Rico and our Community Engaged Theatre summer program in Ireland.



Uproar Theatre Corp Awarded President’s Service Award

In recognition for innovative artistic programming and collaborative leadership highlighting the voice and talents of Steinhardt students, Uproar Theatre Corp was awarded the President’s Service Award.

Uproar Theatre Corps is a student-run Steinhardt club sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government. Founded and led by undergraduates in the Program in Educational Theatre, Uproar is devoted to  sponsoring free workshops, panels, and theatrical competitions which supplement (and complement) Steinhardt coursework. Uproar also creates opportunities for students to write, design, direct, and act, while building a community of student-practitioners. All NYU students (undergrad, masters, and doctoral) are welcome to participate in Uproar events.

New Plays for Young Audiences

In the summer of 2014, The New Plays for Young Audiences (NPYA) new play series at the Provincetown Playhouse developed three wonderful new plays: Pollywog by John McEneny, directed by Annie Montgomery; Pink Think by Eric Pfeffinger, directed by Nan Smithner; and Welcome to Terezin by Philip Glassboro, directed by Deirdre Lavrakas.
Two of the shows were reviewed by Theatre Online. You can check out the Pollywog review here: 

And the Welcome to Terezin review can be found here:
The NPYA series looks forward to another exciting summer developing new plays in 2015. If you’re interested in acting in one of the play readings, stay tuned for a posting with audition dates in May.

Looking for Shakespeare

By Corinna Rezzelle

Looking for Shakespeare (LFS) has been one of the most self-reflective experiences of my graduate studies thus far. Now, it is work. It is a lot of work. It’s early-mornings-with-no-coffee-and–so-much-to-do kind of work, but it is such a great experience that I would recommend every grad student in the Educational Theatre program to tackle.

This summer we did Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. How fun, right? Shipwrecks, mistaken identities, over the top-ness in general. It was glorious fun! On top of the already wacky script, we added another layer: we set everything in the early 20th century fit with a Vaudevillian flair and several classic songs. Yes. We embarked on “Twelfth Night: The Vaudevillian Musical” in only 4-weeks. How we did it? I don’t know. Looking back, I am in awe of all that we accomplished in such a short period of time.  Our group (grad students and high-schoolers a like) were such a dedicated and hardworking group, we probably could have accomplished anything.

























It just hit me that some of you all might not have an idea of how LFS works. So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the process. Within the class, you get firsthand experience guiding high school students through the wonders of acting in a Shakespearian play. Like I mentioned earlier, all of this happens in a month. Within that month, you are assigned to a particular group of students, of whom you work with primarily the entire time that you are in LFS. While you work with the teens, you are able to do your own bit of directing all while learning from your fellow grad students and the key instructor. We also even had the opportunity to teach our own workshops for the students. Stage Combat, Improvisation, Musical Theatre, and Auditions were just some of the topics that we covered in our grad student led workshops.











In the session that I took, Jonathan Jones was our key professor. He was truly a great life raft, mentor, and such a wonderful professor throughout the process. He gave us grad students the support that we needed to feel confident enough to let our voices be heard when we had blocking ideas or suggestions for the students; however, he also gave us the right balance of guidance to help lead us to find new ideas and discover other methods of teaching.

Though there were many “ah ha!” moments for me during LFS, what meant the most was getting to work with other theatre educators. The summers are such a fun time at NYU because it is filled with students in the summer-only program (of which I am enrolled in). The summer-only students are a great mix of New York residents and other theatre teachers that come from all over the country. I hail from Georgia; there were several Floridians, a Michigander, and even someone from Canada! It’s so rewarding to meet other theatre teachers that “think like me”!  Getting to learn different techniques, new games, and build a brand new support system of teachers that I can call friends made this summer such a great experience.











Of course, now that the summer is over and the school year has once yet begun, still I find myself going back to the huge stack of notes that I took during the LFS process and trying new techniques that I learned in my own classroom. I would not give up the LFS experience for anything in the world and would love to embark on it again!

Honorary Professorship for Dr. Taylor

Philip Taylor, director of doctoral studies in the Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions was recently made an honorary professor at Nanjing Normal University. Dr Taylor’s award was made after his keynote and masterclass presentations at the “Drama, Dream and Children” conference at NNU. This impressive honor builds on the program’s numerous other global links. “Take advantage of Ed Theatre’s international outreach and consider study abroad,” said Taylor, “it is life changing and career building.”


Life After NYU: Lucky Disaster

Last year, the blog featured a number of posts from alumni writing about their experiences after graduating from the Program in Educational Theatre. The series continues this year with a post from Megan Minutillo:

Megan Minutillo is an alumni of the Educational Theater program – (ETED M.A. 2009). In October, she will be producing and directing the fourth volume of Lucky Disaster, a concert series that she created.

Lucky Disaster Volume 4 features the music and lyrics of Ryan Scott Oliver, with original monologues inspired by the selected songs written by Anna Ty Bergman, Megan Minutillo, and The Write Teacher(s).

The concert features a cast of recent graduates and current musical theater/acting students – Kerri George, Kasie Gasparini, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Blake Joseph, Angelo McDonough, T.J. Newton, Olivia Polci, Taylor Sorice, and Stephanie Turci, with special guests Gabe Violett and Jessica Vosk!

The Lucky Disaster Concert Series is conceived, produced, and directed by Megan Minutillo, and Lucky Disaster Volume 4 will feature musical direction by Nat Zegree.

Stephanie Turci and Jacob Samuels singing \”Collide\” by Drew Overcash

Additional information about the concert can be obtained by visiting:

The School for Scandal

By Jason Boxer

It is a chilly February evening. The condensed rehearsal process for The School for Scandal is in full swing, and I am unshaven, tired, and behind on homework. With only a month to get this show up, I need to be managing my time wisely. I ought to hop on my bike and head home as rehearsal ends; there’s work to do.

But as I exit the historic Provincetown Playhouse, I decide to linger and talk with friends. Unknowingly, I have just set myself up to bear witness to the most memorable event that two years of collegiate life have thus far provided.

Our director – a Clinical Associate Professor of Educational Theatre – an educational veteran with a PhD, decades of experience, and numerous awards in her field – a woman who I had met only weeks before – approaches us.

“Did you know I can burp on command?” she asks.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Dr. Nancy Smithner burped a mighty burp, and I had found a new role model. I will never forget my time in Scandal, nor the dozens of friendships that were forged in moments like the one described above. Thanks for the burp, Nan. It was very impressive.

New Plays: The Visceral Spirit of Theatre

By Jason Boxer

Perhaps appropriately, I am in many ways an academic lover of theatre. The nuanced design of each Spolin game is an incredible feat to me – the meticulousness with which Aristotle explains story structure is as entertaining to me as any of the plays he influenced – and at the risk of brownnosing, I’ll admit that the history and overarching philosophy delineated in Theater for Change is a great read. (Incoming freshmen, bug David Montgomery to let you read more of that in Intro to Ed Theatre; it’s awesome and it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than Everyman).

Despite all this, I am happy to report that I was pushed out of this theoretical, theatre-nerd comfort zone when I was cast in John P. McEneny’s play Pollywog this past summer. Pollywog was the first of three plays produced for Ed Theatre’s annual New Plays for Young Audience series, and in it I was tasked with bringing to life a 14-ish year old kid named Francis. Punky, misunderstood, and confused, Francis is a supporting character whose biggest contribution to the play is his in-flux sexuality. There are rumors all over school that he is gay.

He eventually comes face to face with the primary spreader of this gossip – Tammy, McEneny’s main character – and the confrontation is a harsh, inelegant one. To put it as the character probably would, the scene hinges upon Francis being really pissed off.

He’s so mad he can’t get his words out. He can’t think. His dialogue – which could ideally be a delicate explanation of profound frustration – comes out bluntly and sloppily. McEneny placed him in the throes of a rabid, involuntary, and quintessentially teenage outburst.

The scene called for a wholly unacademic performer giving a wholly unacademic performance. The words of Spolin, Aristotle, and even our fearless leader David Montgomery weren’t going to help me this time.

I didn’t get it right until our second and final performance. I clenched my fists and felt them moisten with sweat. I spit my lines out antagonistically, genuinely hoping they would hurt Tammy. I began to feel dizzy and nearly out of control. For the first time in my life, I think I was really getting a taste of the living, visceral spirit of theatre, and I loved it. The audience did too.

My identity as a theatre practitioner was challenged by this experience. What kind of phony actor only gets excited about theory – I thought – and worse, what kind of phony teacher only gets excited about the on-paper potential of his field of study? I hope to be neither of those phonies, and New Plays for Young Audiences helped me realize that.

I’ll conclude by confessing that I’m uncertain of one thing and certain of another. The uncertain thing is if the words of Marceau and Lecoq will prove my next big theoretical inspiration. The certain thing is that Everyman is the most boring play ever, and I wish the incoming freshmen good luck in trudging through it.

Educational Theatre students perform in Think Pink, New Plays for Young Audiences 2014; Photo courtesy of Chianan Yen