Classes for Theater Lovers

Deepen your knowledge or explore a new aspect of theater with our award-winning artists alongside fellow theater lovers.


All Classes Will Be on Zoom


Taught by Sharyn Rothstein

Mondays, July 15 – August 19, 2024 7:00PM – 8:30PM
$250/ $215 for Donors and Subscribers
Enrollment Deadline: July 1

Join playwright and TV writer Sharyn Rothstein (Hester Street, SUITS) for a lively discussion about the intersection of theater and politics and learn the most effective techniques for dramatizing current events. Each class we’ll read a contemporary play about a political issue or current event—from vaccines to race issues, book bans to conspiracy theories and more. We’ll explore how each playwright has delved into the issue at hand and discuss the effect of each play on us as readers, theater-goers and citizens. We’ll also discuss the history of political theater, reading excerpts together of great political plays throughout time.

SHARYN ROTHSTEIN is an award-winning playwright and television writer. Her plays and musicals have been produced around the country, as well as internationally. Her play By the Water was first produced by Manhattan Theater Club and Ars Nova and was the recipient of the American Theater Critics Association Francesca Primus Prize. Other plays include Tell Me I’m Not Crazy (Williamstown Theater Festival), All the Days (McCarter Theater Center) and Right to Be Forgotten (D.C.’s Arena Stage and Chicago’s Raven Theater). Her audio drama Deep Fake was recently released on Audible, and several of her plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service. Sharyn is currently a writer and Co-Executive Producer on Orphan Black: Echoes, the spin-off of the sci-fi hit Orphan Black, soon to be on AMC. She was a writer/producer for the USA legal drama Suits for many years, and has developed shows for Apple, AMC and Bravo. Sharyn holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College. She teaches television writing at NYU, and lives in Brooklyn.


Taught by Hester Kamin

Tuesdays, July 16 – August 20, 2024 7:00PM – 8:30PM
$250/ $215 for Donors and Subscribers
Enrollment Deadline: July 2

Inspired by Theater J’s The Chameleon, Rise of the Superhero is a journey through the history of how Jewish immigrants created the world’s most recognizable figures, why they became so iconic, and what they mean to us today. Participants dive into themes such as the relationship between historic events and superhero plotlines, the purpose and meaning of alter egos and superpowers, and the symbolism and intent behind costume design. Ultimately, participants will create and design their own superheroes.


Taught by Hester Kamin

Thursdays, July 25 – August 29, 2024 7:00PM – 8:30PM
$250/ $215 for Donors and Subscribers
Enrollment Deadline: July 11

Do you love words? Every week, Summer Poetry Circle participants will be introduced to poems by contemporary writers, be given new themes and prompts, and have the opportunity to read, write, share, and discuss in real time. This program is an opportunity for both experienced and new writers to celebrate their love of language and to build community in an inclusive and supportive environment.

HESTER KAMIN, Theater J’s Education Programs Manager, is a lifelong reader and writer. She is the winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Associated Writing Programs Young Poets Prize, the Three Rivers Review Poetry Prize, the Paris Poetry Open Grand Prize, an Adamson Award for Poetry, and awards from The National Endowment from the Arts and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Her writing has appeared in journals across America including The Macguffin, Mid-American Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, and American Theatre Magazine. Hester loves to facilitate storytelling with groups of all ages and believes that the process of creating and sharing poetry creates cultural transformation. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the Dramatists Guild of America.

By registering for our classes, you agree to our policies regarding refunds, make-ups, and more.

Select Past Classes for Theater Lovers

Taught by Holly Twyford, Winter/Spring 2024
Ready to see DC theater in a whole new light? Award-winning actor and director Holly Twyford leads us through a season, exploring four dramatically different shows. From comedy to drama, from musical theatre to reimagined classics, our extraordinary arts community is full of work that moves, surprises, and delights us. Holly lends her expertise to in-depth pre-show discussion of the scripts and animated post-show discussions that allow participants to experience DC theater as they’ve never seen it before.

Taught by Howard Shalwitz, Winter 2024
The Leading Edge is back by popular demand and with all-new material! This
extraordinary class is led by theatrical legend Howard Shalwitz, Co-Founder and
Artistic Director Emeritus of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, known for its
provocative and powerful new work. Howard has directed and performed in works
by American and international playwrights and received the prestigious Margo
Jones Award for his lifetime commitment to new plays. He now travels the world
with the Center for International Theatre Development, engaging with theatre
leaders in Poland, Hungary, and Russia. The Leading Edge is a front row seat to some of the newest trends in world theatre: participants watch and discuss outstanding examples of de-constructed plays, innovative works made with found text, and unexpected takes on the classics. They’re guaranteed to explode your idea of what theatre can be!

Taught by Sharyn Rothstein, Fall 2023

Get an insider look into adapting source material for the stage and screen in this course taught by playwright and television writer Sharyn Rothstein (TV’s SuitsRight to be Forgotten at Arena Stage). This season, Theater J will produce the world premiere of the Rothstein’s stage play of Hester Street, based on writer/director Joan Micklin Silver’s film adaptation of Yiddish writer Abraham Cahan’s novella Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto. Using Hester Street as a jumping-off point, this class will dive deep into adaptation, source texts, and transforming art from one genre to another. Students will study several popular adaptations, experiment with creative exercises in adaptation from their own favorite films, podcasts, and written works, and explore the creation and pitching of adaptations for film and television.

Taught by Caraid O’Brien, Spring 2023

Sholem Asch is one of the greatest and best-known Yiddish dramatists and Caraid O’Brien is one of the foremost contemporary interpreters and translators of his work. In this class, you will dive into her rousing translations of three of Asch’s seminal works, God of VengeanceMotke Thief, and The Dead Man, being published this spring by the Yiddish Book Center’s White Goat Press as The Underworld Trilogy. In addition to learning about Asch and his place on the world stage, this class will investigate questions like: How does a translator anticipate the author’s intent? In what ways do translations change to meet our contemporary sensibilities? Born in Galway, Ireland, O’Brien is a noted Yiddishist, playwright, actor, and extraordinary creative mind. Do not miss this unique chance to study Asch’s stirring portrayals of the human condition through O’Brien’s translations.