Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Shout Out to Juilliard's Evening Division

For years, I've walked by The Juilliard School on the Lincoln Center campus. Some time back, I looked up whether the prestigious conservatory provided classes to the general public and was elated to see that they did indeed provide a series of classes through their Evening Division. Course offerings include dance, drama, and music history, music theory, ear training, composition, and conducting, as well as performance classes in voice and piano.

Being a theater enthusiast, I was most interested in their drama classes, more specifically theater history and appreciation. Every so often I skimmed the catalog for the upcoming semester but could never work a course into my schedule. Then miraculously a few terms ago, I was able to do so and immediately registered for my first 10 week course - Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Theater. This offering was right up my alley!

After attending a few classes, when family and friends asked whether I was enjoying the class. My reply was always something like...

I read a great play each week! 
I discuss the play with a small group of like minded adults!
All the while the discussion is facilitated and play contextualized by an expert and dramaturg!
I absolutely love it!!

I highly recommend the Evening Division at The Juilliard School. If you love reading plays (like me) and delving into them, the Evening Division may be for you.  

Recent Theater Related Classes Offered Through Juilliard's Evening Division

Exploring American Theater
Shana Komitee
In this course, we delve into some of the greatest American plays of the last 75 years, including those by Tennessee Williams, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and Suzan-Lori Parks, among others. What are the human questions at the heart of these plays? Why do we consider them works that changed the course of theater history? And why did these writers decide that theater was best medium for exploring their deepest concerns? In addition to examining the texts on the page, we view videos from stage productions or filmed versions of the plays (both in class and online). Students gain a deeper knowledge of these American theatrical pioneers, and understand how they became the giants on whose shoulders today’s playwrights stand.

Race, Gender, and American Theater
Shana Komitee
Over the last hundred years, radical changes have occurred in the subject material tackled on American stages. For instance, Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 Raisin in the Sun was the first Broadway show to portray black Americans' lives, but in the nearly 60 years since, stories of African-Americans and other racial minorities have proliferated in our dramatic canon. Likewise, the number and scope of plays about women's lives and concerns (and female actors hired to perform them) has dramatically increased since the gender revolutions of the 1960s. And while the issue of homosexuality was so taboo in 1947 that Tennessee Williams was forced to censor allusions to it in A Streetcar Named Desire, in the decades since the impact of plays exploring sexuality has grown considerably. In this course, we study some of these game-changing plays to see how the American stage has both mirrored and advanced American conversations about race, gender, and sexuality. Works to be considered include The Normal Heart (Larry Kramer), Clybourne Park (Bruce Norris), Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell), and Ruined (Lynn Nottage), among others.

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