The deadline to register for Fall 2018 has been extended to August 20, 5pm  EST

You are considered a DGI student if you have taken a course or intensive with the DGI previously, or have filled out an application and have received an acceptance letter. Still not sure of your status? Email us, or fill out an application here.

To complete registration, go to the student portal and use the password indicated in your DGI acceptance letter.

Online courses will require students to participate with a camera and microphone enabled computer. All courses and instructors are subject to change.

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FOUNDATION COURSES


The Architecture of Plays: Political & Cultural Plays

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When does the personal become political? Through our writing, can we truly effect change, or are we simply preaching to the converted? How can we use our dramatic ideas to inspire larger, more impactful discussions in our communities about the social, cultural and political issues that shape our future? This course will examine what it means to turn the often covertly personal into the overtly political. You’ll read the works of those that have used their writing to sharpen the conversations between brothers and sisters, men and women, neighbors and community leaders, politicians and the populace. You’ll learn the true power of words and determine the weight of dramatic ideas through the variety of dramatic structures that playwrights use in their narrative storytelling that enliven the world of their stories. Using a completely different catalogue of plays from the original section of Architecture of Plays, we’ll look at different styles of storytelling, genres, techniques and alternative approaches to writing dramatic texts that will be helpful with your own writing.

ONLINE

Instructor: Gary Garrison
Meeting time: Mondays, 8pm - 10pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 17, 2018
Limit: 22 Students


Architecture of Plays: Plays by Women

New for Fall 2018
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There is a different course description for each section of this course, as curated by the teacher to specifically address their approach. 

IN PERSON

In 2015 the Dramatists Guild launched a study called “The Count,” in order to determine who is being produced in American theatres. The Count revealed that, during the past three years, only 22% of the tallied plays were written by women. This means men wrote four out of every five plays produced on America’s stages.  The primary goal of the class will be to address such gender disparity by familiarizing ourselves with a wide array of female playwrights; including not just those in the 22%, but, more importantly, those in the near and distant past whom history has forgotten, and those in the present whose work is rarely, if ever, produced.  What stories are not being told and what stories do we urgently need on today’s stages? Each week we’ll read and discuss one or more plays, identifying and appreciating the key elements of the writers’ artistry, style and craft; and throughout the semester, we’ll continually debate whether or not there is an overtly female aesthetic and what differences might exist between female and male written plays.  A secondary goal will be to look at the studies and statistics that prove gender disparity in the theatre, so that we can formulate informed opinions about why women are produced in fewer numbers than men, what barriers and obstacles exist in achieving gender parity, and what strategies might be employed to raise awareness and impel change.

Instructor: Sheri Wilner
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 4pm - 6pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 12, 2018
Limit: 22 students

ONLINE

Google “The Top 100 Plays of all time” and you’re likely to find some familiar names leading the list: William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen. All worthy of study and respect, but the playwriting buck stop does not with these men. However, too many dramatic writing courses, books, and yes, even playwriting teachers, rely on these writers alone to illustrate what a “successful” dramatic work is supposed to look like. Should we turn to Sophocles and Miller for instruction? Sure thing. But if we don’t also look to Aphra Behn or Caryl Churchill, we’re only taking half of the class.

In this course, we’ll examine how women have consciously and continuously rebelled against classical dramatic structures to create and evolve bold, expressive forms that challenge our notions about what a play “must be”to sustain attention, impact an audience, and successfully communicate its core ideas.

Through the reading and analysis of plays by writers like Gertrude Stein, Sophie Treadwell, Adrienne Kennedy, Maria Irene Fornes, and more, students will discover alternative approaches to dramatic construction that they will be able to incorporate into their work. While this is primarily a dramatic structure and analysis class, students will complete and present some short playwriting exercises geared towards the exploration of specific craft questions as they relate to each of the plays read.

Instructor: Edith Freni
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 8pm - 10pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2018
Limit: 22 students


The Architecture of Musicals

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It is often stated, (and part of musical theatre writer lore), that when the emotion of a particular moment for the character becomes so great that words alone cannot express what they are experiencing, their only choice is to sing, and when that’s not enough, to dance. Obviously, there is so much more to it than that, but for the creator of musicals, it’s a great place to start, “why sing, why dance, and why now?” What makes a musical a musical?

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. We will begin there, 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 in order to achieve a successful and satisfying result.  Though the formula would morph, often being completely blown apart and reimagined, as it should be, there are still ingredients in that formula that should be respected as tools for the emerging writer of musical theatre, and they surprisingly continue to pop up 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 12 musicals. From Gypsy to Jelly’s Last Jam from Assassins to Dear Evan Hansen, what do these musicals have in common, and yet, how do they successfully offer new and thrilling methods for moving the art form forward through compelling means of storytelling?  

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.

IN PERSON

Instructor: John Dietrich
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 6pm - 8pm
Location: The Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2018
Limit: 22 Students

ONLINE

Instructor: John Dietrich
Meeting time: Mondays, 8pm - 10pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 17, 2018
Limit: 22 Students


The Artist as CEO

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Did you think your job was done when you finished writing 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. 

The first six weeks of the course will be devoted to topics about career development tips (with topics including proper formatting of your play, drafting cover letters/bios/resumes/synopses, how to use social media, and more) and the next six weeks will cover business and legal standards and principles relevant to the theater industry (copyright, contract basics, authorial compensation, and more).  When you are finished with “The Artist as CEO,” you will have as much confidence in your understanding of the nuts and bolts of being a writer as you already do in your talent.

When you register for The Artist as CEO, you are automatically enrolled in all twelve weeks.

ONLINE

Instructors: Tari Stratton, David Faux, Roland Tec, special guests
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 8pm - 9:30pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: September 12, 2018
Limit: 22 Students


Talking Music

Basic Vocabulary Every Playwright Needs and Every Composer Understands

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When you're writing a new musical, you want to do everything within your power to transport your audience, to take them on a unique journey. Music's natural ability to speak to us at our core makes it possibly the most powerful tool you have in your storytelling arsenal, and at times, the most mysterious. Roland's class will explore what it is in the music that might be making you feel something so that when you collaborate with a composer you'll be better equipped to understand specific musical choices and their impact on your characters and their journey. 

By the end of this 10-week course, you'll be have all the vocabulary needed to express yourself clearly and with specificity about what's working and what's not in the music being married to your words.

ONLINE

Instructor: Roland Tec
Meeting time: Thursdays, 3pm - 4:30pm EST
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 13, 2018
Limit: 12 students


CORE WRITING WORKSHOPS


Writing Workshop: Core Skills

Additional application required

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 a draft of your new play. We will focus on building core skillsets: structure, character, dialogue, complications, theatricality, and conflict. Participants may work on short pieces or full-length. Class size is limited to 8-10, and every effort will made to match skill levels among participants.

ONLINE

Instructor: Chisa Hutchinson
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: Wednesdays, 8pm - 11pm EST
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 12, 2018
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: Thursdays, 8pm - 11pm EST
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 13, 2018
Limit: 10 students


Writing Workshop: Basic Dramatic Structure

Additional application required

Still struggling with structure? We all do. When there is something not working dramaturgically in our plays, the root problem can often be traced back to dramatic structure. This writing workshop will put participants through a series of writing exercises meant to strengthen the skills necessary to craft a finely structured play. The course will culminate in writing a ten-minute play that demonstrates what the writer has learned over our ten weeks together.

ONLINE

Instructor: Gary Garrison
Meeting time: Sundays, 7pm - 10pm EST
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 9, 2018
Limit: 10 students


Writing Workshop: The Challenges of Dialogue

Additional application required

How to elevate the dialogue in your play so that it illuminates character, enhances the story, and fulfils your artistic voice. Through in-class exercises and working through your own plays, we’ll move through the challenges of writing dialogue such as: exposition, on-the-nose, overwriting, repetition, rhythm, and subtext. We’ll also look at the work of current and diverse playwrights as examples of differing styles of dialogue. Class size is limited to 8-10.

IN PERSON

Instructor: Matthew Paul Olmos
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 7pm - 10pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 10, 2018
Limit: 10 students


Writing Workshop: Crafting Character

Additional application required

Have your plays ever received one or more of these critiques: “I want to know more about your main character; " "I don't understand your protagonist’s objective;” “She’s so passive, what does she want?” or “We need more backstory"?  If so, this course is designed to help you avert such criticism and create lucid yet complicated three-dimensional characters, as well as craft authentic, non-expositional dialogue.  Through a multitude of in-class and at-home writing exercises that focus on character development, we’ll learn a myriad of tools that help us gain a very thorough and intimate understanding of our characters, and then how to transmit that understanding to audiences through action and dialogue rather than exposition. We’ll examine some of theatre’s great characters – such as Stella DuBois or Alexander Hamilton -- to identify not just what makes them so memorable and compelling, but also to analyze the techniques their authors used to dispense vital information about them.  Whether you’re revising a completed draft of a play, at the early stages of beginning a new one, or have a character but no story, the course’s exercises and discussions will apply to you.

IN PERSON

Instructor: Sheri Wilner
Meeting time: Thursdays, 6pm - 9pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $450 (DG members) $620 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 13, 2018
Limit: 10 students


SPECIALTY WORKSHOPS & MASTER CLASSES


Writing Non-Traditional Structures

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Dreaming the impossible is what makes a play come alive. Busting conventions is the engine that fires up how we think of "conventions" in the first place when it comes to writing for live performance. Think of horses and they will appear. This course is focused on both writing and reading approaches to what some call non-traditional storytelling techniques. A practical course on craft and regarding theatrical form.

IN PERSON

Instructor: Caridad Svich
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 3pm - 5pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $275 (DG members) $475 (non-members)
Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: September 11, 2018
Limit: 12 students


Lyric Writing

Additional application required

Join Marcy Heisler in a ten-week, hands-on, interactive writing workshop in which lyricists expand the boundaries of their creative toolkit.   With a core of instructor-based assignments grounded in professional experience, writers  will complete assignments built on themes of adaptation, collaboration,  production environment,  and more. 

Students will be asked to bring an example of an original or contemporary lyric to the first class.  Information regarding an initial pre-class assignment will follow upon registration. In addition to core curriculum, class time will be allotted for lively conversation, sharing original work from existing projects, and Q&A on contemporary lyrical issues. 

Class will meet weekly for three-hour sessions.   Please watch schedule for any changes. 

Instructor: Marcy Heisler
Meeting times: Mondays, 2pm - 5pm
Location: The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $500 (DG members) $650 (non-members)
Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: September 17, 2018
Limit: 12 students


Master Class: Writing for Musical Theatre

Additional application required

A weekend warrior class in writing book, lyrics, music. This course is for dramatists who have a musical in them, or want to discover the musical in them, waiting to be sung. Traditional showtune writers, avant garde performance piece writers, hip hop/funk/jazz writers (and more) are all welcome and encouraged to explore their unique voices in a three day workshop. You will work on individual and group exercises, so bring your open mind, your wide-eyed wonder, your sophistication, your sense of humor, your passion, but most of all, your willingness to work hard, have fun, and play! Kirsten Child’s purpose in teaching this class is threefold:  1) to instill the joy of crafting a musical, 2) to explore and develop real characters with real reasons to sing, and 3) to help people learn how to communicate with a collaborator.

Potential students will be single artists not with their collaborators. Students don’t have to be pianists, but they do have to have some skill at playing whatever is the instrument they use to compose. They also don’t have to be great at notation, but it would be advantageous if they could at least do lead sheets.  The words-people don’t have to be formal lyricists.

IN PERSON

InstructorKirsten Childs
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $500 (DG members) $650 (non-members)
Duration: 1 weekend, 9 hours total
Start Date: TBA
Limit: 10 students


Master Class: Playwriting

Additional application required

The goal of the course is the completion of a short play or a successful opening sequence of a longer play. Lectures and in class exercises will include drawing complex characters, specificity in dialogue,  formulating plot with escalating dangers, dramatic action, writing comedy and rewriting. The lectures and discussion will be based on two books by the playwright: To Be A Playwright (2005) and Master Class: Dramatic Writing (2016).

IN PERSON

Instructor: Janet Neipris
Meeting times: Mondays, 6pm - 8:30pm
Location:  The Mary Rodgers Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th floor
Fee: $500 (DG members) $650 (non-members)
Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: October 1, 2018
Limit: 10 students