New York Theatre Event: Off and Off-Off Broadway

THEA S4215D - Session 1: May 26–July 2 - 3 points
7:00pm - 10:00pm
wed fri
Summer 2020
Morgan Jenness

This course is only offered in the summer.


We will be looking at the rich legacy of the Off-Broadway theater – the groups, writers, directors, actors and other theater artists who were nurtured and sustained in its fertile soil, and who continue to shape the landscape of contemporary theater - off Broadway including regional theater and Broadway itself.


We will looks at the two churches and two cafes which kick started the movement in the 60’s and the numerous venues, theaters, producing organizations and producers who continue to sustain the Off Broadway innovative sensibility -  from LaMama, to the Public, to the Nuyorican Poets Café, to Soho Rep, to MaYi, to Classical Theater of Harlem, Playwrights Horizons, the Women’s Project, The Foundry Theatre and many more.


We also read and view examples of seminal and ovarial theater artists and their works – from Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett and Maria Irene Fornes to Lisa Kron and David Greenspan.  From Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls to Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, from Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America to Rent to Spring Awakening to Hamilton (all originally produced Off-Broadway). We will also take a look at who is emerging from the scene to continue to shape the theatrical world at large – such as Taylor Mac, Ming Pfeiffer and Jacqueline Sibblies Drury (we can also look at specific artists of specific interest to the members of the class as well!)


We will also break down the basic components of what goes into making a theatrical production – what are the disciplines (including direction and design) and forms, who engages in them, where and when are they done, how are they done and ultimately WHY?  This also connects to Aristotle’s ancient elements of theater which still apply – PLOT, CHARACTER, THOUGHT, DICTION, MUSIC and SPECTACLE.


This is a wild and whirlwind journey through Off Broadway history with someone who was around it since the mid 70’s and has worked with and/or known many of its players!


Come onboard for the ride!


All courses subject to change.


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Current Columbia students can review tuition and fees here.
Visiting students can review tuition and fees here.




For questions about School of the Arts summer courses, including those concerning admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Professional Studies summer team at or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact the Theatre Program at