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FOUNDATION COURSES | CORE WRITING WORKSHOPS | SPECIALTY WORKSHOPS & MASTER CLASSES

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FOUNDATION COURSES

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Please note: each writer in the Institute will need to take at least one foundation course before advancing to the more accelerated writing workshops. These courses can be taken simultaneously, and in the same semester as your first writing workshop in the Institute.


The Architecture of Plays

In Person or Online
Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

This is a course designed to acquaint dramatists at all levels of writing with a variety of dramatic structures that playwrights use in their narrative storytelling that enliven the world of their stories. The primary goal of this course is two fold: to understand how writers structure their stories to enhance all the elements of compelling storytelling and to build a critical vocabulary that will be useful when a writer discusses their own creative work in a workshop or production environment. We’ll look at different styles of storytelling, genres, techniques and alternative approaches to writing dramatic texts that will be helpful in discussion with future collaborators. And finally, the course will explore alternatives to traditional basic dramatic structure (i.e., the well made play), in such a way as to reinforce the strengths and weaknesses of what some consider the primary form.

IN PERSON AT THE GUILD

Instructor: Gary Garrison
Meeting time:  Tuesdays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 12, 2017
Limit: 25 Students

ONLINE

Instructor: Gary Garrison
Meeting time:  Wednesdays, 8:00pm - 10:00pm EST
Location: Online
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 13, 2017
Limit: 15 Students
Note: Online courses will require students to participate with a camera and microphone enabled computer.


The Architecture of Musicals

New for Fall 2017
Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

In 1942 there was a seismic shift in the American theatre. The musical Oklahoma opened on Broadway and a radical new form emerged, the completely integrated musical, where every element: music, dance, dialogue, were all working together toward telling a dramatic story in a seamless way. And that’s where we will begin, in the tradition of the “Golden Age” musicals, where an actual structure and formula took shape for how a musical should look, feel, and be constructed. Though this formula would morph, often being completely blown apart and reimagined, as it should be, there are still ingredients from it that should be respected as tools for the emerging writer of musical theatre, and they surprisingly continue to reveal themselves in musicals written today. In this course, we will develop our own toolbox for creating musicals – a toolbox that we will expand and shape over 10 weeks and through the examination of 14 musicals. From Gypsy to Hamilton, from Assassins to The Drowsy Chaperone.

This course will require analyzing book and lyric, as well as understanding the importance of stage direction as a tool for conveying the other integrated elements of a musical such as dance and movement. We will gain an understanding of song form, rhyme scheme, and scansion in lyric writing, as it all relates to the tone of the book and the forward movement of the story. We will develop a vocabulary for understanding musical structure, be able to recognize form, genre and style, allowing us to draw from these tools and discover new ways of approaching our own musical storytelling, because in the end, what makes for a great musical? Abundant creatively, a great story, good craft, and a lot of heart.

Instructors: John Dietrich
Meeting time: Mondays, 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: The Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2017
Limit: 22 Students


The Artist as C.E.O.

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

Did you think your job was done when you finished your play or musical?  Think again.  The Artist as CEO will open your eyes to tools essential for taking control of your career, from the smallest details of your development as a writer, to the bigger business and legal principles every writer should be aware of.  Each two-hour course will be divided into an hour of career development tips and an hour of business standards.  Topics to be discussed include formatting your play, cover letters/bios/resumes, the basics of copyright, contract basics, and much more.  When you are finished with the Artist as CEO, you will have as much confidence in understanding the nuts and bolts of being a writer as you already do in your talent.

Instructors: Tari Stratton, Ralph Sevush, special guests
Meeting time: Mondays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: The Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2017
Limit: 25 Students


Music Essentials for Non-Musicians

New for Fall 2017: In Person or Online
AApplications Deadline Passed; Under Review

This simple 10-week course will arm you with all the tools needed to better understand how music and words support one another in the creation of musical theatre. The delicate marriage of words and music can be tricky, especially if as a wordsmith you sometimes find yourself at a loss for just the right language to describe your vision to your collaborator. Many writers working in music-theatre wish they could communicate more succinctly with composers and other musicians about precisely what makes music tick. 

Taught by Roland Tec, who draws on his background as an opera and music-theatre director and composer as well has his experience teaching music theory at Harvard and Brandeis, this class begins with the very basics of music notation. In week two, participants are assigned simple daily ear training exercises designed to help you acquire a new and deeper appreciation for melody, harmony, rhythm and meter. To get the most out of this class, please arrange access to either a piano or an electronic keyboard of some kind. Roland's approach is fun and informal and requires full participation from all. Be prepared to sing, clap, maybe turn beet red, laugh at yourself and brush yourself off and try it all over again. No musical background necessary. Just a willingness to try something new.

IN PERSON AT THE GUILD

Instructor: Roland Tec
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 13, 2017
Limit: 12 students

ONLINE

Instructor: Roland Tec
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 6:00pm - 8:00pm EST
Location: Online
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 12, 2017
Limit: 12 students


CORE WRITING WORKSHOPS


Writing Workshop I

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

From the genesis of an idea, through the conception of character and structure, to focusing on the conflict, this class will offer weekly exercises, constructive feedback, deadlines, support and community to get you through that first act of your new play. This class is only for those that wish to start a new project, working on that project only for the whole of the semester. Class size is limited to 8-10, and every effort will be made to match skill levels among participants.

IN PERSON AT THE GUILD

Instructor: Stefanie Zadravec
Pre-requisite: The Architecture of Plays, and/or, The Artist as CEO, or, in very special cases, by permission of the Director of the DGI
Meeting time: Sundays, 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2017
Limit: 10 students

ONLINE

Instructor: Andrea Lepcio
Pre-requisite: The Architecture of Plays, and/or, The Artist as CEO, or, in very special cases, by permission of the Director of the DGI
Meeting time: Sundays, 7:00pm - 10:00pm EST
Location: Online
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2017
Limit: 10 students.
Note: Online courses will require students to participate with a camera and microphone enabled computer


Writing Workshop II

New for Fall 2017: In Person or Online
Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

This course will help you develop the skills necessary to avoid the Act Two slump. The workshop will offer weekly exercises, constructive feedback, deadlines, support and community to help you accomplish a complete second act (and first full draft) of your full-length play. By focusing on ways of strengthening character and structure, intensifying the conflict, enhancing the dramatic action and amplifying its theatricality, this weekly writing workshop will help you achieve the goal of satisfaction and completion of that elusive first draft. Most appropriate for those dramatists who know they have a solid Act One and now want to strategically finish the project.

IN PERSON AT THE GUILD

Instructor: Chisa Hutchinson
Pre-requisite: Writing Workshop 1, or, in very special cases, by permission of the Director of the DGI
Meeting time: Sundays, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2017
Limit: 10 students

ONLINE

Instructor: Andrea Lepcio
Pre-requisite: Writing Workshop 1, or, in very special cases, by permission of the Director of the DGI
Meeting time: Sundays, 1:00pm - 4:00pm EST
Location: Online
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2017
Limit: 10 students
Note: Online courses will require students to participate with a camera and microphone enabled computer


SPECIALTY WORKSHOPS & MASTER CLASSES


Creating Your Own Solo Performance: From the Blank Page to the Stage

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

This course will help the artist find the story he or she wants to tell and explore the various writing techniques that can be utilized in creating that piece.  Through writing exercises done in class, a story will begin to emerge and take shape.  The piece can include any of the artist's special talents - music, dance, etc. - or  it can simply be spoken word.  As a basic reference text we will use Jo Bonney's Extreme Exposure - a collection of solo pieces by artists spanning the last several decades. The 10-week course culminates in a showcase of readings of excerpts from the work of each participant.

InstructorGretchen Cryer
Meeting time: Mondays, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location:  The Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620(non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2017
Limit: 15 students.


Lyric Writing for Playwrights

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

Lyrics are the foundation of musical theater storytelling and, for many playwrights, the final frontier. Over six weeks, this class will cover the basics of lyric writing craft—song structure, scansion, rhyme, and more—allowing you to channel your existing storytelling impulses into a song. In class, we’ll examine great lyrics of the musical theater canon, analyzing what makes them tick. Through weekly assignments, you’ll begin your own exploration of the classic musical theater song forms and learn to write with music, a musical collaborator, and a librettist in mind. Whether you’re a playwright who wants to try a hand at lyric writing, or one who simply wants to be a more fluent musical theater collaborator, you’ll leave this class with a solid foundation in lyrical storytelling.

Instructor: Adam Gwon
Meeting time: Thursdays, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 14, 2017
Limit: 12 students


Musical Composition

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

Join Tony Award-winning Mark Hollmann (Urinetown) to explore how to be your own best collaborator as a composer-lyricist.  Using students' prior work as well as class songwriting assignments, we will examine the marriage of music and lyrics and the art of rewriting. Students must be able to demonstrate their own work, either by playing and singing it at the piano, or bringing in a recorded scratch demo.  We will also read and discuss Jack Viertel’s book The Secret Life of the American Musical for insight into the musical’s structure.  Students are required to have a copy of The Secret Life of the American Musical to use as a class text.

Instructor: Mark Hollmann
Meeting time: Saturdays, 1:15pm - 4:15pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 16, 2017
Limit: 12 students


Writing the Autobiographical Play

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

It has often been said that a writer draws from the same “well” in all of their work, continually revisiting the same life experiences, obsessions and themes. This course is designed to help students identify the contents of their “wells,” and learn some methods to help them tap into it.  Through weekly workshops, as well as writing exercises, assigned readings, classroom discussion and individualized guidance, students will learn how to draw from their personal experiences to get their deepest, most urgent and personal concerns onto the page and transform raw emotions and autobiographical material into structured and engaging dramatic work.  They’ll also learn how to transform work that feels too uncomfortably autobiographical into a more comfortably fictionalized play – without losing any authenticity or emotional power. The writing exercises and techniques will help both those students who want to generate new material as well as those who are writing or revising an existing script. The goal is to help students develop a writing process that allows them to deepen their work and identify the stories they most need to tell.

Instructor: Sheri Wilner
Meeting time: Saturdays, 10:00am - 1:00pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 16, 2017
Limit: 12 students


Acting For Dramatists

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

Whether we are creating characters as writers or actors, being thorough in our inquiries of their inner workings is essential to building complex and textured vessels for our storytelling. What happens when we make this exploration from an actor’s point of view, asking specific detailed questions and delving into the language of the play in order to mine character subtext? In harnessing an additional perspective, what we discover can enrich our dialogue and the illumination of our characters’ underbellies.

In this workshop, we will undertake two explorations. We will analyze a character from a “classic” play and/or musical, and then a character from a play you have written, by creating a map of what makes these characters tick, their objectives and obstacles (scene by scene and also in the whole of the play), how those elements fit into their overarching journey, and how they are symbiotic with one another.

Instructor: Christine Toy Johnson
Meeting times: Sundays, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $400 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2017
Limit: 16 students


Master Class: Playwriting

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

A workshop for the weekend-warrior, this course will focus on problem areas in your play – i.e., plot, structure, conflict or characters that aren’t as fully realized as you’d like.  Dramatists will bring in excerpts from any length of play to be discussed by Mr. Pendleton and fellow classmates. Specific observations and suggestions will be offered to each dramatist to help support the strengths of the work and minimize the weaknesses.

Instructor: Austin Pendleton
Meeting times: November 11, 2017 (6:00pm - 8:00pm) and November 12, 2017 (1:00pm - 4:00pm, 5:00pm - 8:00pm)
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $500 (DG members) $650 (non-members)
Duration: One Weekend, 8 hours total
Start Date: November 11, 2017
Limit: 10 students


Master Class: 10-Minute Playwriting Workshop

Applications Deadline Passed; Under Review

Love or hate them, the ten-minute play isn’t going anywhere. Because so many theatres have found producing an evening or festival of ten-minute plays an excellent resource for sharing so many unique voices in the theatre, the number of production opportunities has increased 300% over the last five years.With this relatively new genre of playwriting comes a perennial question: What makes a good ten-minute play? This course will explore those elements that make engaging theatre of any length, and then discover how those elements apply to the ten-minute play genre. This six week course will allow each writer to complete several drafts of one or two ten-minute plays.

Gary Garrison is the author of the seminal, Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten-Minute Play, and the sequel to that book, A More Perfect Ten. In the spring of 2014, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts created The National Gary Garrison Ten-Minute Play Award for college and university students. His ten-minute plays have been featured regularly at the Boston Theatre Marathon, City Theater in Miami, StageWorks of Hudson - New York as well as a number of venues throughout the country. A collection of his ten-minute plays, Verticals and Horizontals, was published by Original Play Publishing in the spring of 2015.

Instructor: Gary Garrison
Meeting times: Tuesdays, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $400 (DG members) $570 (non-members)
Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: October 10, 2017
Limit: 12 students