Theater Department

News Archive 

Shaw provides insight on gospel musical theater

Rashida Z. Shaw

Rashida Z. Shaw '99, Assistant Professor of Theater, discusses the relationship between theater and religion in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Click here to read the interview.

Shaw offers critique on Tyler Perry and his work

Rashida Z. Shaw

The website, In Media Res: A Media Commons Project recently devoted a week recently to Tyler Perry during which scholars offered their critique and comments on different aspects of Perry and his work. Rashida Z. Shaw '99, Assistant Professor of Theater, offers her views in a piece titled, Performance Politics: The Subversive Pleasure of Perry - click here to read her post.

Oteiza designs set for the Judy Dworin Performance Project Ensemble

Meditations from a Garden Seat

Meditations from a Garden Seat

Marcela Oteiza, Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater and Secnic Designer in Residence at Wesleyan University has designed the set for Meditations from a Garden Seat opening today at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford. To read the Hartford Courant article about the show, click here.

Mediations from a Garden Seat is performed at 7:30 pm, Nov. 1-3 at Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT


Anthony Nikolchev '08 brings new original solo performance to 2012 New York City United SOLO Theatre Festival


Anthony Nikolchev '08 returns for a second year to the United SOLO Theatre Festival -- the largest international solo performance festival in the world -- with his play The Echoes off the Walls Underground are Louder than Your Footsteps Above Me. Following his last year's Best Actor award, the festival invites him for two dates as part of the Encore group. Anthony reunites with Wesleyan University Theater Department Professors, Yuri Kordonsky as co-director and Jack Carr as lighting designer, in addition to co-director Matej Matejka, Anthony's director of the Studio Matejka - a physical theatre ensemble with whom he works based in Wroclaw, Poland at the Jerzy Grotowski Institute.

For tickets and more about the United SOLO Theatre Festival, click here.

To visit Anthony's website, click here.


The Assembly Theater Project (Nick Benacerraf '08, Jess Chayes '08 and other Wes alumni) has show at the Living Theater


November 1-18, 2012 (Wed-Sat @8 pm, Sat @ 3pm, Sun 11/11 @ 7pm, Sun 11/4 & 11/18 @ 5 pm)
The Living Theater
21 Clinton Street, NY, NY

Following two sold-out runs, the innnovative young company The Assembly Theater Project presents a return engagement of the critically acclaimed production HOME/SICK. HOME/SICK is an ensemble-devised work of political theater that reimagines the actions fo the 1960s radical group The Weather Underground. Believing violence to be the only means to a true and lasting peace, these passionate idealists accelerated a movement to its fervor, but left a country behind. Based on real events, HOME/SICK explores the group's idealism, infighting and ultimate disintegration, in a forthright examination of collective action.

HOME/SICK was a Critics' Pick in Backstage and the New York Times, and prompted the Times to name it"A cutting-edge young theater collective."

To visit The Assembly's website, click here.

Russian Premiere of Crime and Punishment at Volkhonka Theatre

During the summer of 2102, Professor Yuri Kordonsky directed the Russian premiere of his adaptation of Crime and Punishment at the renowned Volkhonka Theatre in Ekarerinburg, Russia. The production was designed by Professor John Carr. This play was originally done by the Theater Department and is also running at the famous Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest, Romania. Click this link to hear a Russian news clip about the show.


Ari Brand '06 to star Off-Broadway in My Name Is Asher Lev

Ari Brand

Ari Brand '06 will star in the New York premiere of My Name Is Asher Lev, Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre this November. The play, based on the 1972 book by Chaim Potok, tells the story of a young artistic prodigy growing up in the Hasidic Jewish community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn in the 1950's. The production is a transfer of the Long Wharf Theatre's critically acclaimed run, also starring Brand, which opened this past May in New Haven. This will be Brand's third Off-Broadway credit, following last year's Black Tie at Primary Stages and the Public Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet in 2007.

For tickets, go to

For more about Ari, go to

Hunger by Anna Moench '06 is featured at the Playwright's Week at the Lark

Anna Moench

Anna Moench '06 is a Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and a Van Lier Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City. Her plays have been seen at the Old Vic, 59E59, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea, Indiana University of PA, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, The Kraine, The Looking Glass Theatre, and FringeNYC. Anna has developed plays with The Public Theater, The Lark, [the claque], 3Graces Theater Co., the Great Plains Conference, the Last Frontier Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and The Inkwell.

Anna's play Hunger is included in the Playwrights' Week 2012 at the Lark Play Development Center.
Directed by Robert Ross Parker
Puppetry by Stefano Brancato
For more information about the Playwright Week, click here.
To visit Anna's website, click here.

Kordonsky’s Productions Win Two UNITER Awards in Romania


April 23, 2012

Out of four nominations for the UNITER Award in Romania – the highest national theater award in the country – Yuri Kordonsky’s productions won two. One of them is The Best Production Award for The Last Day of Youth based on Tadeusz Konwicki’s novel (National Theater Radu Stanca, Sibiu, Romania); another is Best Leading Actress (Mariana Mihut) for Bury Me Under the Baseboard by Pavel Sanaev (Bulandra Theater, Bucharest, Romania). The latter production was created in collaboration with lighting designer and theater professor John Carr. To see a video clip of The Last Day of Youth, click here (website in Romanian).

Jenkins Brings Dante, Theater to Prison Inmates

Jenkins Brings Dante to Prisons

A news report for WNPR features the work of Ronald Jenkins, professor of theater, who has worked with prison inmates around the world, bringing classic works of drama and literature, including Dante’s Inferno. The report focuses on a new play by Jenkins that is being performed by former inmates from the York Women’s Correctional Facility in Connecticut. The play has been performed in Hartford and will be performed in New York City. To read the full article, click here.

Hudes Awarded Pulitzer Prize for Drama


The Associated Press reports that Quiara Alegria Hudes, visiting writer in theater, has won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play “Water by the Spoonful,” which chronicles the struggles of an Iraq vet. The play had its debut this past fall at The Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, Conn. Hudes is also the writer of the book for the Broadway show “In the Heights,” which was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02. To read more, click here. 

Four award nominations for Yuri Kordonsky’s productions

Bury Me Under the Baseboard


Last Day of Youth


March 27, 2012

Two productions directed by professor Yuri Kordonsky in 2011 in Romania received four nominations for the UNITER awards - highest Romanian national theater award granted by the Union of Romanian Theaters. The nominations include The Best Production and Best Set Design for Last Day of Youth based on Tadeusz Konwicki’s novel (National Theater Radu Stanca, Sibiu, Romania) and Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress for Bury Me Under the Baseboard by Pavel Sanaev (Bulandra Theater, Bucharest, Romania). The latter production was created in collaboration with lighting designer and theater professor John Carr.



Dylan Marron ’10 joins New York Neo-Futurist performance group

Dylan Marron

March 7, 2012

In Dylan’s own words, “NYNF is an ensemble of writers/performers that put on a weekly show in the East Village (Friday + Saturday nights) called TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND. The premise of this show is that there are 30 plays to be performed in 60 minutes, and the audience decides the order. The plays themselves are anything from abstract political satire to intimate confession to comedic re-enactments of pedestrian interactions to nonsensical dance homage. This is one example of a play that might be in a show, and this is another. If you want to know more about them you can read about neo futurism here: 

An Evening of Spoken Word with Javon Johnson

Javon Johnson

February 23, 2012

"Javon Johnson's spoken-word performance of soul-baring lyrics and rapid-fire delivery brought the audience to its feet."
--University of Southern California News

Spoken word/slam poet Javon Johnson merges the sharp criticism of critical race and gender theory with comedy, lyricism and hip-hop rhyme schemes to discuss the power of words, communication and performance. Mr. Johnson has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and BET's Lyric Cafe, and he co-wrote the poetic narration for Showtime's basketball documentary Crossover. Co-sponsored by the Center for African American Studies.

See a video of Javon Johnson performing.  

Young Jean Lee’s Talk and Book Signing

Young Jean Lee

February 21, 2012 

"Young Jean Lee's plays are fierce, challenging, brazenly theatrical, and then transcendentally lyrical." 
--American Academy of Arts and Letters

Korean-born and Brooklyn-based playwright and director Young Jean Lee's works deal with issues such as gender identity and race in unpredictable, inventive and humorous ways. A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Ms. Lee founded her own theater company in 2003, swiftly becoming one of this country's most influential voices in experimental theater. A book signing and reception to follow in the Zelnick Pavillion.

Related Event:

Film of Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment

February 20th, 2012

A screening of The Shipment, a play by Young Jean Lee. For more information, visit


Theater Department Alumni, Class of ’06, Speak About Their Lives After Wesleyan

Joshua Lubin-Levy  Anna Moench

Joshua Lubin-LevyAnna Moench

 Kaneza Schaal       Lily Whitsitt

Kanexa SchaalLily Whitsitt


February 6, 2012

Four Wesleyan Theater alumni talk about their professional careers in acting, directing, dramaturgy and playwriting: Joshua Lubin-Levy (performer, scholar, dramaturg) is a doctoral candidate at New York University specializing in performances of historical memory; Anna Moench (playwright) is a member of the 2011 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre;Kaneza Schaal (actor) performs nationally and internationally with The Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service; Lily Whitsitt (director), M.F.A. in Directing from the California Institute of the Arts, is a Drama League Directing Fellow.

Great Small Works at Wesleyan

February 3, 2012

"[Great Small Works has] breathed new, pointed life into the form of toy theater."
--The Village Voice

Co-founded in 1995 by Wesleyan alum Mark Sussman '85, the New York-based collective of Great Small Works met through their associations with Vermont's Bread and Puppet Theater. The group draws on folk, avant-garde and popular theater traditions to address contemporary social issues.

The company's shows at Wesleyan will feature performances by Cassandra BurrowsJohn BellTrudi CohenJenny Romaine and Xavier of the works Short, Entertaining History of Toy TheaterToy Theater of Terror As Usual, Episode 12: Desert and Ocean, a surreal serial drama using excerpted texts and images quickly cut from The New York Times, Hans Christian Anderson, Grace Lee Boggs, andDemocracy Now!; and Three Graces, a cantastoria (picture-based storytelling work) in which three mythical graces - Harmony, Strategy and Splendor - float down to earth for an op-art romp inspired by Grace Paley, Grace Kelly, Grace Jones and Grace Lee Boggs.

Anthony Nikolchev ’08 Receives an Award for His Solo Performance

Anthony Nikolchev

November 21, 2011

Anthony Nikolchev ’08 receives the Best Actor award at the UNITED SOLO International Theater Festival in New York for his production Look, What I Don’t Understand. The production was originally created at Wesleyan University, co-directed by professor Yuri Kordonsky, lighting design by Anna Martin ’09 and went on to successful runs in Chicago and Los Angeles, as well to a number of prestigious international festivals in Armenia, Russia, and Poland.

To read more about the award, click here…

To visit the artist’s website and read more about the production, click here… 

Italian company Dewey Dell holds two-week Wesleyan residency

DeweyDellDewey Dell 2

September 9, 2011

To read more about the group’s residency at Wesleyan and their U.S. Debut, click here. To view more images of their performances, click here. 

Dewey Dell (left to right): 

Teodora Castellucci

Demetrio Castellucci

Agata Castellucci

Eugenio Resta


Cesena, Italy. April 2009.

Two Theater Professors Stage a Production in Bucharest, Romania


March 23, 2011

Bulandra Theater (Bucharest, Romania) opens a new production Bury Me Under the Baseboard by Pavel Sanaev, adapted and directed by Yuri Kordonsky, lighting design by John Carr.

For more information, click here... 

MacArthur Award Winner Sarah Ruhl’s Two-day Residency at Wesleyan

Sarah Ruhl

January 20, 2011 

Click here to read about MacArthur award winner Sarah Ruhl’s two-day residency at Wesleyan.

Theater professor Rashida Shaw speaks about her research on ‘Chitlin Circuit’ Theater”

Rashida Shaw

November 5, 2010

To read about the return of Wesleyan alumna Rashida Shaw ’99 to her alma mater as an instructor of theater, click here

Professor of Theater Ronald Jenkins publishes new book

Ronald Jenkins

Sep. 2, 2010

Ron Jenkins (left), professor of theater, focuses his new book on the acclaimed Balinese painter Nyoman Gunarsa (pictured at right).To read more, click here…

Nascimento Authors Book on Actors at Work


October 6, 2008

Claudia Tatinge Nascimento, associate professor of theater, is the author of Crossing Cultural Borders Through the Actor’s Work: Foreign Bodies of Knowledge, published Sept. 17, 2008 by Routledge. A sophisticated analysis of how the intersection of technique, memory, and imagination inform performance, Crossing Cultural Borders Through the Actor’s Work redirects the intercultural debate by focusing exclusively on the actor at work. Alongside the perspectives of other prominent intercultural actors, this study draws from original interviews with Ang Gey Pin (formerly with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards) and Roberta Carreri (Odin Teatret). By illuminating the hidden creative processes usually unavailable to outsiders, the actor’s apprenticeship, training, character development, and rehearsals, Nascimento both reveals how assumptions based on race or ethnicity are misguiding, trouble definitions of intra- and intercultural practices, and details how performance analyses and claims of appropriation fail to consider the permanent transformation of the actor’s identity that cultural transmission and embodiment represent.

A Class Act: Assistant Professor Theater Busy Teaching, Acting, Directing Local and International Productions


March 1, 2006

To read about assistant professor of theater Yuriy Kordonskiy’s work outside of Wesleyan, click here.