ONLINE CLASSES FOR THEATER LOVERS

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

Learn more about our exciting Spring 2021 Classes below! 

Felicia Curry

HOW TO LISTEN TO A SONG
Taught by Felicia Curry

July 13 to August 3, 2021 | 4 Sessions
Tuesdays, 6:30pm to 8:00pm (US & Can ET)
Makeup Date: August 10 
Price: $149 Regular / $129 Theater J Subscriber and/or Angel Donor
Registration closes Noon, July 6

From Stephen Sondheim to Lin-Manuel Miranda, American musical theater songwriters craft music, lyrics, and story into artistic masterpieces. Study with acclaimed DC actress and song interpreter Felicia Curry (Helen Hayes Award winner and nine-time Helen Hayes nominee) as we analyze the structure, form, and artistry of a set of superb musical theater songs. You’ll learn new ways to understand lyrics, how the words pair with music, and how a song relates to character, plot, and themes. Join Felicia to open a whole new musical world of understanding and appreciation!

Please note: Students will be required to purchase and download some songs via streaming platforms. No prior music experience required. 

Tracy Lynn Olivera
Evan Casey

HOW TO WATCH A MUSICAL
Taught by Tracy Lynn Olivera and Evan Casey
July 21 to August 18, 2021 | 5 Sessions
Wednesdays, 7:00pm to 8:30pm (US & Can EST)
Makeup Date: August 23 
Price: $169 Regular / $149 Theater J Subscriber and/or Angel Donor
Registration closes Noon, July 19

We all love watching musicals, but have you ever wondered if there is more to see and hear? Take your musical-theater-watching game to a whole new level with award-winning DC musical theater dynamos (and real-life couple!) Evan Casey and Tracy Lynn Olivera as they guide you through this engaging and captivating course. Students will watch recorded productions from a range of companies before each class and then analyze and evaluate them as a group under the guidance of these star teachers. After learning the secrets of how musicals function and understanding the artistry of creating and performing in this quintessential American art form, you’ll never watch a musical the same way again!

Please note: Students will be required to subscribe to BroadwayHD and/or purchase online access to the plays.

Aaron Posner

ADAPTING TEVYE: A HANDS-ON EXPLORATION
Taught by Aaron Posner

July 27 to August 12, 2021 | 6 Sessions
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 7:30pm to 9:00pm (US & Can EST)
Makeup Date: August 17
Price: $189 Regular / $169 Theater J Subscriber and/or Angel Donor
Registration closes Noon, July 22

A once in a lifetime opportunity! Aaron Posner, one of DC’s top directors and adaptors, is adapting Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman stories into a new play for a coming season at Theater J. Now, he’s cracking open the door in his creative process and inviting you to join him at the writer’s desk, as he explores the source material and begins to shape it into a new play. Get an unprecedented sneak peek into the creative process as Posner leads you through his own writing process and guides you in exercises to learn how he approaches adaptation. Who knows, you may even get to be the first to see a piece of a new play being created before your very eyes!

Space is extremely limited, so sign up without delay!

Scroll below for past Classes for Theater Lovers, which may be offered again. 

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.

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.

Registrants will receive detailed instructions from the teacher within a few days of registering.

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.

We prefer participants log in via computers (with microphones and speakers), but if need be they can call in by phone.

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.

Previous Classes

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. 

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.

Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace

AN ACTOR TRANSFORMS
Taught by Craig Wallace
CLASS CLOSED

How does an actor transform into a character? How does someone embody a role that is outside of their own experience? Learn how an actor creates a character with specificity and integrity under the tutelage of one of DC’s finest actors, Craig Wallace. This hands-on class will explore character building and the art of creating a role outside of one’s identity or culture, using Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman as a base text. Don’t miss the chance to learn from one of DC’s top teachers as you explore the role of the actor as a creative transformer, and you’ll be sure to walk away with a new perspective on the performances you see on stage.

Please note: No prior experience required.

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.

Dr. Debra Caplan

AMERICAN JEWS AND THE PERFORMING ARTS
Taught by Dr. Debra Caplan

CLASS CLOSED

From the Marx Brothers to Steven Spielberg to the Coen brothers, Jews have played a critical and enduring role in the American performing arts. How did Jews adapt to American life and construct American-Jewish identities through the theater, film, television, dance, and music? How did the American Jewish experience shape American culture, and vice-versa? Under the guidance of acclaimed Professor Debra Caplan (Baruch College), you’ll learn both the what and the why of American Jews’ indelible influence on American culture in this eye-opening history and literature course.

Please note: Text purchase will be 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.

Felicia Curry
Adam Immerwahr

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

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—spurring powerful and enlightening conversations. In our book club-style sessions, we will analyze the plays and engage in bold and candid discussions about the important issues that they raise around race, ethnicity, and identity in our country. Former participants have praised this course as “thought-provoking,” “insightful,” “educational,” and “wonderful!”

Please note: Script purchases are 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.

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.)

Aaron Posner

BEYOND THE SCRIPT: A DIRECTOR’S APPROACH
Taught by Aaron Posner
CLASS CLOSED

Learn to look beyond the script in this brand-new class with Aaron Posner, a top DC director, playwright, and teacher. This friendly, discussion-focused, book-club style class explores how exactly plays work on the page and on the stage, and offers an intimate, informal window into Aaron’s unique theater-making process. We will investigate three complicated, challenging plays by exploring what insights these plays can offer us…and what we may have to offer them.

Please note: Script purchases will be required. If you have taken classes with Aaron before, this class will use different scripts.

Hadar Galron

BEYOND THE SCRIPT: CLASSIC ISRAELI PLAYS
Taught by Hadar Galron

CLASS CLOSED

Learn to look beyond the script in this one-of-a-kind class with noted Israeli playwright, teacher, and performer. Dive into some of the classics of Israeli writing in this discussion-focused, book-club style class. Discover what these new plays tell us about Israeli society, identity, theater, and politics as we explore fascinating pieces of literature. We will investigate five complicated, challenging plays by five different masters of the art form.

Please note: Script purchases are required. This course will feature different scripts than previous “Beyond the Script” courses.

Hadar Galron

BEYOND THE SCRIPT: MODERN ISRAELI PLAYS
Taught by Hadar Galron

CLASS CLOSED

Learn to look beyond the script in this brand new class with a noted Israeli playwright, teacher, and performer. Dive into the latest in Israeli writing in this discussion-focused, book-club style class. Discover what these new plays tell us about Israeli society, identity, theater, and politics as we explore fascinating pieces of literature. We will investigate five complicated, challenging plays by five different playwrights – some of whom you will get to meet during the course. 

Please note: This course will have different scripts than previous “Beyond the Script” sessions.

Adam Immerwahr

BEYOND THE SCRIPT: Masterpieces of the Jewish Theater
Taught by Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr

CLASS CLOSED

Join Theater J’s artistic director for the book club-like class that started it all. Using the dramatic theories of Aristotle as a guide, we’ll study plot, character, and dramatic tension in the theater as we enjoy five intriguing and challenging Jewish masterpieces of the theater. Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and unpack these texts in a lively group setting. Adam’s Beyond the Script classes have been a highlight of Theater J’s Classes for Theater Lovers for many years—don’t miss out on this chance to learn how a theater professional breaks down and studies a play.

This class will cover the following plays: Angels in America by Tony Kushner, Indecent by Paula Vogel, The Price by Arthur Miller, and Morning Star by Sylvia Regan.

Please note: Script purchases are required. This course will feature different scripts than previous “Beyond the Script” courses.

Jojo Ruf

THE BUSINESS OF SHOW BUSINESS
Taught by Jojo Ruf

CLASS CLOSED

We’ve shared the secrets of the rehearsal process, the ways an actor becomes a character, and how a director approaches into a play. But 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 diving into the other half of the business. You’ll learn what it takes to budget and keep a nonprofit theater running, how the pros market a production, and how and why the regional theater developed into what it is today. As you explore this rarely seen side of the theater world – and put your newly learned skills to the test! – you’ll be sure to gain a new appreciation for show biz.

As one past participant raved, “A superb introduction to what it takes to make a theatrical production happen…I’m going to see plays in a new light.”

Holly Twyford

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.

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.

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 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 – back by popular demand! – 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! In the words of a former participant: “Diep Tran’s engaging approach will challenge you to think critically and creatively on theater, playwrighting, and culture.”

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!

Dr. Debra Caplan

THE HISTORY AND LITERATURE OF JEWISH THEATER
Taught by Dr. Debra Caplan

CLASS CLOSED

Jewish theater has spanned centuries and continents, influencing art forms and even shaping political movements. There is a rich history and literature in this magnificent and compelling canon of work, which mirrors and interacts with both Jewish and mainstream cultures in intriguing ways. Dr. Debra Caplan, theater scholar and Associate Professor at Baruch College, will lead you in a lively and engaging dive into this treasure trove. Through reading plays and histories, you’ll come to understand Jewish theater in a whole new light!

Please note: Text purchases are required.

Seema Sueko

HOW TO READ A SCRIPT: THE SECRETS OF CLOSE READING
Taught by Seema Sueko

CLASS CLOSED

To create a production on the stage, theater professionals must first analyze and study the script with a near-Talmudic level of care and detail. In this riveting and insightful new class, taught by acclaimed director and former Arena Stage Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko, you will step into the roles of actor and director doing “table work,” mining the script with questions, personal insights, and curiosity. Together, we’ll explore a nearly-forgotten Broadway masterpiece, Morning Star, by Sylvia Regan—a close friend and contemporary of Clifford Odets. This class is sure to engage your heart and mind as you dive deep into a wonderful play in the fellowship of other engaged theater lovers.

Adam Immerwahr
Kevin Place, Associate Producer Theater J

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.

Please note: Some purchases of online viewing may be required.

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.

Mitch Hebert

INSIDE THE ACTOR’S MIND: AN EXPLORATION OF THE ART OF ACTING
Taught by Mitch Hébert
CLASS CLOSED

Learn in a real-time, virtual, small group setting with Mitch Hébert (Theater J’s After the Fall, Round House’s Angels in America), one of DC’s finest actors and master teachers. Step into an actor’s process and learn about the techniques an actor uses to use their mind to imaginatively create a physical, emotional response in his body. Take a peek into how an actor uses the text, his/her own self, and imagination to transform into a fully realized character.

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.

Please note: A script purchase is 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.)

Nephelie Andonyadis

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.

Adam Immerwahr
Kimberly Gilbert
Kimberly Gilbert
Eric Hissom

INSIDE THE REHEARSAL ROOM: BAKELITE MASTERPIECE
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.

Adam Immerwahr
Naomi Jacobson
Emily Whitworth

INSIDE THE REHEARSAL ROOM: COLLECTED STORIES
Taught by Adam Immerwahr, Naomi Jacobson, and Emily Whitworth
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 Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr and two top-tier DC actors, Naomi Jacobson and Emily Whitworth, through rehearsal for Donald Margulies’ masterpiece Collected Stories. 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. In the words of a former participant, this class is, “an unforgettable experience, beautifully executed!”

Please note: This class is primarily a lecture/demonstration class, and less participatory than other Theater J courses. Script purchase is required.

 

Adam Immerwahr
Kate Eastwood Norris
Cody Nickell

INSIDE THE REHEARSAL ROOM: LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS
Taught by Adam Immerwahr, Kate Eastwood Norris, and Cody Nickell

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 Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr and two top-tier DC actors, Kate Eastwood Norris and Cody Nickell (married in real life!), through rehearsal for Neil Simon’s hilarious and bittersweet Last of the Red Hot Lovers. 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. In the words of a former participant, this class is, “an unforgettable experience, beautifully executed!”

Students need not be available during the assigned class times—a video of each class will be available for on-demand viewing by registered class participants, though some interactive opportunities will not be available.

Please note: This class is primarily a lecture/demonstration class, and less participatory than other Theater J courses. Script purchase is required.

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.

Holly Twyford

LOVING THE VILLAIN: A CHARACTER STUDY
Taught by Holly Twyford 

CLASS CLOSED

Menacing or maniacal, subtle or severe, charming or chaotic, villains are often the characters we’re most drawn to, the ones we love to hate. In this fun and eye-opening class with DC star Holly Twyford, we will explore a set of deliciously wicked characters drawn from rich theatrical texts. Learn how an actor analyzes their part and finds the humanity inside the most contemptible roles and study the techniques that allow the actor to surrender to human fallibility or revel in delightful villainy. As you explore these roles under the expert tutelage of one of DC’s finest and most acclaimed performers you’ll gain a new and deeper appreciation for the art of the actor.

Please note: Script purchases are required. This is not an acting class.

Adam Immerwahr
Ilya Tovbis
Ilya Tovbis, JxJ Artistic and Managing Director

PAGE TO STAGE TO SCREEN
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Ilya Tovbis

CLASS CLOSED

How does a play transform when it is adapted into a film? What are the similarities and differences between the work of a theater and film director? Is it still the same piece of art across two different media? In this illuminating class team-taught by the leaders of the EDCJCC’s Theater and Film programs, you’ll gain fresh insights into narrative, perspective, and art-making. Join Theater J’s Adam Immerwahr and JxJ’s Ilya Tovbis in comparing scripts to screenplays and productions to cinema as we dive into the connection between these two forms of storytelling. This is a discussion-based, participatory course.

Please note: Script purchases and film rentals will be required.

Adam Immerwahr
Kevin Place, Associate Producer Theater J

PLAY-WATCHING SEMINAR
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Kevin Place

CLASS CLOSED

This class builds on the foundations of How to Watch a Play and Advanced Play Watching as we grow and practice our experience of assessing choices, understanding concept, and evaluating productions. Building on the skills learned in the first two courses, we’ll watch, discuss, and debate six more filmed productions online. You’ll grow in your understanding of plays and productions with new exercises and insights from Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr and Associate Producer Kevin Place – with additional lectures on new topics and lots of time for you to share your insights in facilitated discussions.

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

Erin Weaver

PRESENT LIKE A PRO: An Actor’s Techniques for Presenting and Communicating via Zoom  
Taught by Erin Weaver

CLASS CLOSED

For many of us, video calls will continue to be a part of everyday life, even as the world begins to open up. 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!

As one past participant exclaimed, “Erin was a fantastic instructor. She was inspiring yet also practical, and I finished the class with real-life tips that I will put to work now every time I am on a Zoom call.”

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.

Howard Shalwitz

TEN WORDS FOR THEATER LOVERS
Taught by Howard Shalwitz
CLASS CLOSED

Under the tutelage of Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director Emeritus of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, this fun, hands-on class gives experienced theatergoers a chance to apply some of the key concepts and methods that professional actors, directors, designers, and playwrights use in analyzing plays and building productions. The “ten words” will give you a richer understanding of all the plays you see, providing a framework for understanding the different layers that make each production compelling, vivid, thought-provoking – or not.

Students will work with material from Shakespeare, Chekhov, and contemporary plays, through monologues, short scenes, and viewing videos. At the end, the class will work together to imagine and design a production of an award-winning new play, In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi.

 

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.

Naomi Jacobson

WATCHING AND ASSESSING ACTING ON FILM
Taught by Naomi Jacobson

CLASS CLOSED

In conjunction with the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center’s popular JxJ Film and Music Festival, Theater J offers this class in appreciating and evaluating on-screen acting. Master teacher Naomi Jacobson, an award-winning actress and nominator for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, guides us through the performance techniques that we can see on the silver screen. You’ll screen three online narrative films as you dissect and study terrific performances in a friendly discussion-based environment. This class aims to transform your experience of the cinema.

As a participant in one of Jacobson’s past classes has said, “If anybody has opportunity to study with Naomi Jacobson, I would recommend that they rush without delay.”

Please note: Students will need to purchase a special film pass to JxJ to access the required viewings. Information will be sent to students after registering.

Caleen Sinnette Jennings

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.

Dr. 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.