ONLINE CLASSES FOR THEATER LOVERS

Deepen your knowledge or explore a new aspect of theater with our award-winning artists alongside fellow theater lovers.

We will announce a new slate of exciting classes in the coming week. Until then, enjoy this nascent fall season!

We prefer participants log in via computers (with microphones and speakers), but if need be they can call in by phone. Registrants will receive detailed instructions from the teacher within a few days of registering. Each individual in a household must register separately.

*Use the email address attached to your Theater J account and the subscriber discount will automatically be taken in your cart. If you have questions, call 202.777.3210 and we will be happy to help you complete your transaction.

Policies

Each student must register individually, including those in the same household, to ensure the correct class size. This helps us maintain a level of in-class participation and intimacy, and enables us to pay the instructors the correct per registrant fee.

Registration is easiest to do online, but can also be done over the phone, or in person if you have made arrangements to do so.

Theater J reserves the right to cancel classes that do not have the minimum required number of students. Students may request a full refund for the cancelled class or apply the money toward future Theater J classes.

Theater J can refund tuition up to one-week prior to the class starting.

Tuition for classes that have already started is not refundable.

Students may only apply one discount per class per registration period.

Real-time captioning is available for all classes. Please email Director of Patron Experience Chad Kinsman at chad@theaterj.org for this access need.

Please feel free to contact Theater J at 202.777.3210 or theaterj@theaterj.org with any questions or concerns.

Theater J is not responsible for providing make-ups or issuing credit or refunds for programs missed as a result of personal scheduling conflicts, illnesses, emergencies, or other circumstances beyond Theater J’s control. If you are unable to attend a program for any of these reasons, we encourage you to consider your registration fee a form of support, helping Theater J sustain our programs.

If a session is cancelled for weather, instructor illness, or other unanticipated events, we will have a make-up session on the date listed.

Theater J Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr
Kevin Place, Associate Producer Theater J

ADVANCED PLAY-WATCHING
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Kevin Place

CLASS CLOSED

The dynamic duo who brought you the popular How to Watch a Play are back for our first advanced-level class. Building on the skills learned in the first course, we’ll watch, discuss, and debate five more filmed productions online, with even more time for you to unpack what you’ve seen. Now that we have the foundations of play-watching under our belt, we’ll take it to the next level—with additional lectures on new topics and even more time for you to share your insights in facilitated discussions.

Please note, How to Watch a Play is a mandatory pre-requisite for this course (no exceptions). Students will be required to subscribe to BroadwayHD and/or purchase online access to the plays.

Theater J Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr
Felicia Curry

AT THE INTERSECTION: BLACK AND JEWISH PLAYS
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Felicia Curry

CLASS CLOSED

Black and Jewish stories have intertwined throughout the history of our country, spurring some of our nation’s top playwrights to write plays that explore the intersection of these lives. Join Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr and acclaimed DC actress Felicia Curry (Helen Hayes Award winner, nine-time Helen Hayes nominee, and two-time host of the Helen Hayes Awards) as we delve deeply into these foundational texts. We will read one play each week, and examine and discuss the story of Black and Jewish lives that it presents in this highly participatory, book club-style course.

Please note: script purchases will be required.

Diep Tran

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC: HOW TO WATCH A PLAY AND THEN WRITE ABOUT IT
Taught by Diep Tran

CLASS CLOSED

Do you ever wonder how a critic decides if a play is good or bad? How does someone even become a critic? Diep Tran’s writing about theater has appeared in the New York Times, NBC, Playbill, CNN, Time Out, and American Theatre magazine where she served as the senior editor. She is the co-founder of Token Theatre Friends, a POC-led media company. With lessons on how to watch a play/musical, how to evaluate it artistically, how to draw out a play’s major themes, how to understand your own biases AND how to write all of those things down, this class is aimed to help you unleash your inner arts critic. It will be a fun, participatory dive into arts analysis and writing, with no prior background or experience required. Just bring your pencil and your opinions!

Jenna Duncan
Kevin Place, Associate Producer Theater J

THE HIDDEN WORLD OF CASTING
Taught by Jenna Duncan and Kevin Place
CLASS CLOSED

Have you ever wondered why a particular actor was cast in a role? Or ever wanted to hear what really happens during and after auditions for a play? Take a peek into this exciting world as we fling the doors open and let you learn about and witness the process first-hand. Theater J Casting Director Jenna Duncan and Theater J Associate Producer Kevin Place lead this dynamic and enlightening course on all the components of the casting process, from the casting director’s first reading of the play to the final callbacks themselves. You’ll have a front-row-seat to every step along the way, and will get to watch auditions from top DC actors including Regina Aquino, Felicia Curry, Kimberly Gilbert, Tracy Lynn Olivera, and Awa Sal Secka. By the time you’re done, you’ll never watch a play the same way again!

CREATING A CHARACTER
Taught by Holly Twyford

CLASS CLOSED

Where does an actress find the clues that shape her portrayal of a character? How does a performer transform herself into someone else? Holly Twyford, one of DC’s most esteemed actor/directors, will pull the curtain back to reveal how an actor understands, interprets, and plays different roles. Using characters from modern plays as the foundation, she’ll lead discussions on how a professional reads and analyzes the text to crack open a character, and what an audience can learn from the choices an actor is making on stage. This is not an acting class; no prior experience in acting is required. Please note that students will read several plays as homework, specific titles to be assigned by instructor.

Tyler Herman

TORAH AS DRAMA: AN ACTOR’S APPROACH TO READING SCRIPTURE
Taught by Tyler Herman

CLASS CLOSED

This class brings together theater and Torah, as it offers the skills and techniques in the actor’s toolkit to offer new ways to study Jewish texts. Join actor Tyler Herman (Theater J’s Trayf) and fellow theater lovers in this humanistic look through an actor’s lens at some of the Torah’s stories. Together we will study Torah scenes as though they are scripts in a play, with dialogue, action, objective, obstacle, and events. This class offers a new way to understand these rich and meaningful stories and, by extension, ourselves. As a previous student noted: “acting provided an unexpectedly insightful and creative lens for studying Torah.”

This is not an acting class; no acting experience is required. All Torah text will be read in English.

Debra Caplan

YIDDISH THEATER: FROM PURIM PLAYS TO SECOND AVENUE
Taught by Debra Caplan
CLASS CLOSED

The Yiddish theater was a dominant cultural art form for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, traveling from Europe to the US where it led to the development of the musical theater and television we know today. There’s a rich history and literature in this magnificent and fascinating canon of work, which illuminates both the Jewish and American experiences in surprising ways. Debra Caplan, Yiddish theater scholar, co-founder of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, and Associate Professor at Baruch College, will lead you in a fun and engaging dive into this forgotten world. Through reading plays and histories, you’ll come to understand Yiddish theater in a whole new light! Please note: this course will require some text purchases.

Caleen Sinnette Jennings

HOW TO WRITE A PLAY
Taught by Caleen Sinnette Jennings

CLASS CLOSED

Ever wanted to write a play, but not sure how to get started? Or have you tried your hand at playwriting and are ready to take your work to the next level? Unlock your own creativity and voice with playwright and professor Caleen Sinnette Jennings (author of Theater J’s acclaimed Queens Girl in the World). Jennings creates a warm and supportive atmosphere, offering ways to get started, approaches to character and dialogue and strategies for development and revision. By the end of the class, you’ll have written a short play, or the first pages of a full-length play. No previous writing experience is required.

Note: The class will rely on images, music, and writing by hand to inspire the creative process. If you have a visual or auditory impairment, please let us know so that we can make the class accessible for you.

Jose Carrasquillo

INTRODUCTION TO ACTING
Taught by José Carrasquillo
CLASS CLOSED

Master teacher José Carrasquillo, Director of Artistic Programming at Ford’s Theatre, leads an introductory journey into the art of acting. With a series of exercises and tools that you’ll practice over Zoom, this class will teach you the key vocabulary and techniques that form the foundation of acting study in the US. This warm and affirming class, under the guidance of a top-tier director, is a great way for you to stretch your muscles, discover new talents, and maybe even polish up some existing skills. No prior experience necessary.

Erin Weaver

HOW TO ZOOM BETTER: AN ACTOR’S TECHNIQUE FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE
Taught by Erin Weaver
CLASS CLOSED

Most of us are spending more time than ever on video calls in our new virtual world. Join award-winning actress and teacher Erin Weaver as she helps you get more Zoom-savvy and Zoom-comfortable. Using core principles of acting, along with practical and specific tips and tools, you will learn to feel more at ease and better able to communicate over video, whether it’s in a meeting, a class, a family reunion, an office party, or any other online gathering! No prior experience required.

Tyler Herman

READING BETWEEN THE LINES: ACTING OUT THE HIGH HOLY DAYS
Taught by Tyler Herman

CLASS CLOSED

A student in Tyler Herman’s An Actor’s Approach to Torah said: “I’ve studied and taught many of these texts, but this this class made these ancient texts come alive in a brand-new way!” Now, Herman brings his expertise and charismatic teaching style to the high holy days, and you can be sure he’ll go whole chag! Join this master teacher and acclaimed actor/director as we prepare for Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. Take your experience of these holidays to a new level as we learn to warm up our bodies, our voices, our imaginations, and our souls. Be prepared for some easy improvisation activities, some vocal and physical exercises, and loads of imagination gymnastics in this fun and informative course. No matter what your background or experience is, you’ll leave knowing more about acting techniques such as The Method, Meisner, and Grotowski, while deepening your emotional and spiritual connection to the Days of Awe. No acting training is necessary.

Co-Presented with the EDCJCC’s Center for Jewish Living and Learning.

THE ACTOR’S ART OF COMMUNICATION AND PERSUASION
Taught by Paul Morella

CLASS CLOSED

Hone your public speaking, your day-to-day communications , and especially those critical moments of persuasion using theater techniques. Gain insights, philosophies, and tools on the art and science of verbal communication from actor Paul Morella (Theater J’s BROKEN GLASS). Morella, a master storyteller, trial advocacy consultant, and faculty member at American University’s Washington College of Law, focuses on how to successfully convey ideas and emotions through language, voice, and physicality in order to communicate more effectively in professional and personal life, whether you are speaking to a single colleague, a group of clients, or at a major presentation. There will be opportunities for students to bring material to present or work on, if they wish.

This is not an acting class; no acting experience is required.

Susan Rome

THE ACTOR AS COLLABORATOR
Taught by Susan Rome

CLASS CLOSED

Prepare for a deep dive into the process of acting with a Theater J favorite, award-winning actress Susan Rome. For an actor, the journey of preparing a performance is full of collaborations, beginning with the audition process and continuing in the rehearsal room, working closely with directors, playwrights, designers, and other actors. Learn how all these relationships combine to enable the final—and most essential—collaboration: that of the performer with the audience. The class will use texts primarily from productions Rome has worked on at Theater J. The focus will be developing an understanding of the actor’s process that students will find valuable when viewing theatrical performances. This is not an acting class; no previous acting experience is required. 

Aaron Posner

THE ART OF ADAPTATION
Taught by Aaron Posner

CLASS CLOSED

Aaron Posner (Theater J’s Life Sucks and others) has written award-winning adaptations of works by Chekhov, Chaim Potok, Shakespeare, and more. Ever wondered how a writer transforms a story from one genre to another, from novel to play, play to movies, movies to musicals, or real life to play? Explore the process of adaptation from conception and composition through completion and performance using great Jewish short stories as examples. Whether you aspire to create your own adaptations or want to better understand the art you see on stage, this class is sure to open your eyes. This is a participatory discussion-based course; no prior writing experience required.

Rachel Grossman

BECOMING A RAISED-CONSCIOUSNESS AUDIENCE MEMBER
Taught by Rachel Grossman
CLASS CLOSED

Are you interested in becoming a more engaged, discerning audience member, who leans into crucial conversations around who we are as individuals and a country when attending the theatre? Join director, devised theater artist, and audience-enthusiast Rachel Grossman in exploring ways to bring raised-consciousness about our social identities into our “roles” as audience members. In this interactive class, participants will examine definitions of theater, bias, intersectionality, audience agency, types of engagement, cultures of arts participation, and how to create engaging, personal experiments to develop your ability to critically consider race and identity in theatrical performances. This class is for everyone looking to become a more culturally and identity-informed patron. Lessons will include visits from guest artists, short readings and/or videos, and the ability for out-of-class discussion in a private Facebook group.

Guest artists include Danielle A. Drakes (DC-based actor, director, and educator), Katherine MacHolmes (Omaha-based theatre maker, actor, activist, and community builder), and Bea Udeh (UK-based writer, producer, mentor, and poet).

Co-Presented with the EDCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility.

Theater J Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr

BEYOND THE SCRIPT
Taught by Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr

CLASS CLOSED

Learn in real-time, virtual, small group setting with Theater J’s Artistic Director! Take a deep dive into Theater J’s 2020-2021 plays in a friendly, book club-like setting. Understand how a theater professional analyzes a script as we read and discuss fascinating Jewish plays. Have a special sneak-peek and insight into the following year’s plays and how they are chosen. (Participants will need to purchase scripts.)

Theater J Managing Director, Jojo Ruf

THE BUSINESS OF SHOW BUSINESS
Taught by Managing Director Jojo Ruf

CLASS CLOSED

Learn in a real-time, virtual, small group setting with Theater J’s Managing Director! The magic we see onstage would not be possible without a lot of creative thinking on the business side. Gain a better understanding of the theater you attend by learning the secrets behind “the business,” from the way an institution creates and markets its season, to how union negotiations have shaped our art form.

Aaron Posner

A DIRECTOR PREPARES
Taught by Aaron Posner
CLASS CLOSED

What does a theater director truly do? How do they take a script as a blueprint for a performance and shepherd it from the page to the stage? How do they figure out what their launching point will be, what will guide them in the process, and how they will work with designers, actors, and other theater artists to create a compelling theatrical world on stage? Award-winning director Aaron Posner, whose work has been acclaimed both in DC and throughout our country, leads this fascinating dive into the process of direction for the stage, from reading a script for the first time to the opening night. Whether you wish to dabble in direction, or simply better understand what you see on stage, this class is sure to open your eyes. Classes will include lectures and small-group discussions; no prior directing experience is required. Additional script and course text purchases will be required.

HOW TO WATCH A PLAY
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Kevin Place

CLASS CLOSED

What does a theater professional “see” when they watch a play? Deepen and enrich your experience of the live theater with the techniques and approaches that theater professionals use. From evaluating a production’s concept to unpacking the staging choices, develop your theater reviewer’s “toolkit” in lively group discussions. Students will watch recorded productions (from a range of companies across the country) before each class and then unpack them as a group under the guidance of Theater J’s Artistic Director and Associate Producer. Some purchases of online viewing may be required.

Naomi Jacobson

INSIDE THE ACTOR’S PROCESS
Taught by Naomi Jacobson

CLASS CLOSED

Learn in a real-time, virtual, small group setting with Naomi Jacobson (Theater J’s BECOMING DR. RUTH), one of DC’s finest actors and master teachers. Step into an actor’s process and learn about the techniques used to interpret a script, personalize language, and make the audience believe that everything spoken is an original thought, not memorized text. Take a peek into how an actor uses personality, experience, vulnerabilities, and attributes to create deeply complex fully realized, emotionally connected characters.

This is not an acting class (and no prior acting experience is required), however students will have chances to try out some of these techniques and deepen their understanding of the work they see on stage. (A script purchase is required, separate from tuition payment.)

INSIDE THE DESIGNER’S STUDIO
Taught by Nephelie Andonyadis

CLASS CLOSED

Design is a critical element in telling the story of a play; it creates an aesthetic and a context, while supporting and interacting with every other element of a production. Acclaimed scenic and costume designer Nephelie Andonyadis (Edward Albee’s Occupant) will provide a window into the designer’s point of view and share the process through which the physical world of the play is created on stage. Where do the ideas come from? How much leeway does a designer have? And how should an audience member look at the designs in performance? Broaden your understanding of theater through a series of readings, lectures, discussions, and projects in this participatory class. No prior design or art experience required. Learn more about Nephelie here.

Theater J Artistic Director, Adam Immerwahr
Kimberly Gilbert
Kimberly Gilbert
Eric Hissom

INSIDE THE REHEARSAL ROOM
Taught by Adam Immerwahr, Kimberly Gilbert, and Eric Hissom
CLASS CLOSED

Have you ever wondered what happens inside a professional rehearsal room? How does a director interact with actors, and how do actors take a text and interpret it to make strong and compelling choices? Get inside access like never before as you join director Adam Immerwahr and two top-tier DC actors, Kimberly Gilbert and Eric Hissom, through rehearsal for Kate Cayley’s Bakelite Masterpiece, a fascinating play about retribution, justice, and doubt. Each session will feature a presentation on an aspect of the rehearsal process, followed by a rehearsal for you to observe, with time for your questions as the team unpacks the play. Get a true “behind the scenes” view of theater-making in this raw, unfiltered, and one-of-a-kind class for all theater lovers. No prior experience is needed.

Please note that this class is primarily a lecture/demonstration class, and less participatory than other Theater J courses.

WRITING YOUR LIFE STORY
Taught by Caleen Sinnette Jennings 

CLASS CLOSED

Everyone has a story they’ve been meaning to write. Unlock your own creativity and voice with playwright and teacher Caleen Sinnette Jennings (author of Theater J’s acclaimed, autobiographical QUEENS GIRL IN THE WORLD). This class is for anyone eager to learn how to use memory to develop story (both narrative and dramatic writing), while infusing relaxation and fun into the writing process. Jennings will offer ways to get started, strategies for development, methods for moving forward when “stuck,” and how to celebrate completion.

Students will have the opportunity to share their work, and no previous writing experience is required.

Note: The class will rely on images, music, and writing by hand to inspire the creative process. If you have a visual or auditory impairment, please let us know so that we can make the class accessible for you.