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Summer Drama Intensives and Courses

The Tisch Department of Drama offers two five-week intensives in professional actor training, as well as courses in theatre and performance studies. Summer courses and intensives are open to current and visiting students, working professionals, and adult learners. There are training opportunities for actors of all levels. Please visit Albert for a full list of Drama offerings.


Meisner Technique: An Introduction

THEA-UT 341 | 8 units - Advanced Professional Training | Instructor: Check Albert

This intensive introduces students to The Meisner Technique. The fundamentals of the technique are introduced and engaged through exercises and scenes designed to directly connect the actor’s imagination with his feelings. Meisner’s technique is based on the principle of “The Reality of Doing”: That the actor never pretends in the imaginary world, but is caused to do the very things the character is doing. It is our belief that it is necessary for the actor to develop a skilled and truthful relationship with oneself as an instrument distinct from one’s everyday reality before transforming to serve character. To that end, exercises strengthen the actor’s connection to his partners, and deepens his connection to his feelings. In Meisner’s unique progression of exercises, the essential elements of all acting craft are actually drilled and practiced.  This provides not just a philosophy nor a directive, but strengthens muscle and mind as the actor sheds his pedestrian habits and enters the imaginary world. This practice develops a rich understanding of what it means to be present to an acting partner, to respond fully and spontaneously living through the events of the improvisation. In addition to the acting technique class, the intensive includes classes in movement, voice & speech, singing, and clown.

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Audition Guidelines

Interview required. Please contact Yvonne Winfrey, Meisner Studio Administrator, to schedule an interview. Her email is ypw219@nyu.edu.

New Studio On Broadway 2018 Music Theatre Summer Intensive

THEA-UT 330 | 8 units - Advanced Professional Training | Instructor: Check Albert

The New Studio on Broadway offers a rigorous, six-week (6 days per week), professional training program, providing the instruction needed to develop requisite skills for the music theatre actor. This intensive offers domestic and international college students the opportunity to be immersed in the core essentials of the New Studio on Broadway’s music theatre curriculum which includes: Acting (Acting Technique, Shakespeare, Contemporary Monologue Study, Voice & Speech and Mask Work), Singing (Vocal technique & performance, Vocal Book Preparation, and Sight-Singing), and Dance (Yoga, Ballet, Jazz, and Tap). Master classes are also provided by award-winning actors, directors, choreographers, and music directors. This is an outstanding opportunity to further develop and refine your music theatre skills with some of the most highly respected professionals in the field.

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About the New Studio on Broadway Intensive

Who Should Apply to the New Studio on Broadway?

How to Apply to the New Studio on Broadway

Audition Guidelines

Acting Audition

  • Two contrasting monologues
  • One contemporary and one classical verse
  • Each monologue must be under two minutes in length
  • All monologues must be from published plays (no films or TV scripts and no original material)
  • Please choose material that is within your age range (roles you would be cast in now)
  • Please do not use an accent in your monologues
  • Both monologues should total no more than 4 minutes in length

Singing Audition

  • Please present two contrasting songs from the American Music Theater canon
  • One song should be traditional (pre-1960’s) i.e. George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Lerner and Lowe, Rodgers and Hammerstein
  • One song should be from Contemporary Music Theatre, 1960s to Present
  • Please choose material that is in your age range (roles you would be cast in today)
  • One song should be 32-bars and one song 16-bar cut

Dance Audition

  • Please submit a video of 1 to 2 minutes of prepared dance solo to musical accompaniment. Choose your music (Broadway, hip-hop, classical or pop music), and your choreography (ballet, jazz, folkdance, or tap). If you can think of it, you can use it. Include anything that showcases your use of the body as a creative instrument, demonstrating full body expressiveness and love of movement.
  • The video must be created specifically for the audition of New Studio on Broadway Summer Course Study. A clip from a previous performance is not recommended.

Helpful Hints for a Summer Intensive Digital Audition:

  • Make sure that your background is unencumbered and does not distract from the focus being on you.
  • When slating or introducing yourself and the pieces you are going to perform please shoot a 3/4 shot (from the waist up)
  • When performing your songs, monologues and dance, please shoot as a full body shot.
  • When performing song selections, live accompaniment is preferred, or pre-recorded track. But in all cases make sure the microphone is closer to the actor than the accompanist or pre-recorded track so that we hear the voice over the accompaniment. A cappella is permitted if need be.
  • Props and costumes are not necessary or encouraged
  • During Singing Audition do not accompany yourself.
  • Please wear clothing and shoes that allow you to move comfortably in your audition.
  • You do not need fancy equipment to shoot your audition. An iPhone is perfectly acceptable. It’s about you rather than production values. Here’s a link to a sample video to show you just how easy it is. The link has the singing and dancing elements – you simply need to remember to also include your monologues.

Please submit your digital audition to Lisa Joseph at: lisajoseph@nyu.edu

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Theatre Studies Courses

African-American Drama: Harlem Renaissance

THEA-UT 708 | 4 units | Theatre Studies C | Instructor: Stefanie Jones

This course explores one of the richest artistic, social, and intellectual milieus in US history: the Harlem Renaissance. The class will cover the texts and contexts of black drama, performance, and cultural production from the end of the 19th century up to the second world war. While we will look at popular culture, art, and political theatre influencing and influenced by this movement, the course will center on the artists who were positioned as part of the Harlem Renaissance movement itself, from its roots in the work of Georgia Douglas Johnson and W.E.B. DuBois, to contributors such as Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. Taking advantage of our proximity to Harlem, we will also visit historical sites and review original papers from these artists, practicing hands-on techniques of theatre research and bringing this vibrant period to life. 

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American Burlesque

THEA-UT 650 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Kalle Westerling

Coined in the 16th century as a literary or theatrical form that inverts form and content, burlesque is a subset of parody that either elevates the mundane or vulgarizes the lofty. When Lydia Thompson and the British Blondes brought their unique brand of burlesque to New York City in 1868, the public understanding of burlesque transformed from a literary form to a performance style, and the worlds of “leg shows” and burlesque became largely synonymous in the public imagination. These early burlesque shows were evening-length parodies of classical texts or myths and focused on women “putting on” the other gender (rather than its later association with “taking off” via striptease).

This course will cover some of the major historical shifts in American burlesque traditions including Thompsonian burlesque (and those that followed), female minstrel shows, hootchy cootchie dance, burlesque wheels, the emergence of striptease, queens of burlesque, exotic dancing, and the neo-burlesque movement. Rather than codify the defining characteristics and time periods of these historical moments, we will seek to understand and trace how the definitions, conceptual preoccupations, and performance techniques of burlesque have adapted and changed over time. Special consideration will be given to understanding burlesque in relationship to other entertainment genres such as vaudeville, minstrelsy, early film, melodrama, musical theatre, world’s fairs, and to the larger social, cultural, and historical contexts in which burlesque has taken place. We will watch films that document burlesque; read biographies of major figures and scholarly work about burlesque, theatre, and popular culture; attend neo-burlesque performances, and discuss the neo-burlesque and performance art movements with guest artists.

Video: Kalle Westerling on American Burlesque

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Comedy and Performance

THEA-UT 632 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Fritz Ertl

What is comedy? WHY do we laugh at all? WHAT makes us laugh? How is comedy today different from yesterday; how is it the same? Combining theory with practice, this class explores comedy both critically and in performance, embodying the comic even as we theorize about it. The theoretical part of the class will ground itself in Henri Bergson’s seminal essay ON LAUGHTER, and will also include comedic plays by a variety of writers, including Moliere and Wilde. Of particular interest to us will be the distinction between comedy that affirms cultural norms versus comedy that subverts these norms, and we will apply this interest to our practical work as comedians in the classroom. Toward that aim, each student will work on and develop an ever-expanding stand-up routine, all the while exploring their unique comedic voice as it reacts to the historical moment we find ourselves living in.

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Devised Theatre: Monologues & Their Discontents

THEA-UT 665 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Laura Levine

From Spalding Gray to Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, on Broadway, one of the most powerful trends in theatre has been the cultivation of the extended monologue for the purposes of solo performance. At the same time Elevator Repair Service has pushed the limits of genre with performances like Gatz, which takes a novel and rather than adapting it or cutting it for the stage, seeks to present the novel itself word for word onstage. What can we learn from fiction, memoir and poems that will help us develop material for the stage?

This course seeks to help students produce both a series of “monologues” and the many pages of “raw’ material often necessary to generate these monologues. We approach the task through two different strategies: the imitation of monologues by writers from Robert Browning to Toibin and the cultivation of a significant body of “raw” autobiographical and fictional material from which to draw in shaping these monologues.  We will leave no stone unturned in looking for ways to stimulate memory and imagination, mining lived life for material and working from photographs, paintings, myth and biblical material, dream and family archive.  The class will culminate in a performance to be scheduled in lieu of the Memorial Day class on either the final Wednesday or Friday night of the course.

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Directing Practicum

THEA-UT 676 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Fritz Ertl

An intensive introduction to the art and skill of directing plays for the theatre, with equal time given to 1) the basic skills involved, and 2) the complex artistry that underlies all great theatre. The aim of the course is not to model a particular aesthetic for students to interact with, but to give students the tools with which to develop their own, personal aesthetic as theatre makers. As such, the course will demand that students work personally and impulsively, articulating what INTERESTS them in the world, as well as articulating what kinds of stories they are interested in telling. The first half of the course will focus on basic skills, including: 1) how to think about theatrical space as different from cinematic space; 2) how to work compositionally within theatrical space; and 3) how to use both spectacle and emotional journey of characters to create affect. In the second half of the term, students will co-direct 15 minute scenes, and class time will be devoted to both showings and in-class rehearsals, where the entire class observes each other working. During this period, students will act and design for each other, and we will spend significant time on the language a director uses to collaborate with designers and actors. During this period, the director will learn how to “attend” to every detail of production.

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Disaster Plays: Representing Catastrophe on the Modern Stage

THEA-UT 632.002 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Jason Fitzgerald

This course will consider theatrical attempts to reckon with the variety of human-caused disasters that have given shape and meaning to the twentieth and twenty-first century, including totalitarianism/fascism, genocide, nuclear holocaust, and global warming. With the exception of a brief detour to Japan, our texts will focus on twentieth and twenty-first century European and U.S. dramatists such as Georg Kaiser, Karl Kraus, Bertolt Brecht, Caryl Churchill, Maria Fornes, Wallace Shawn, Sarah Kane, and Anne Washburn. Questions we will ask include: How do these artists understand the role of theatre in the face of such dire threats, and how can it help us to live with those these threats? What techniques does catastrophe demand from designers, actors, directors, writers, and even publishers of playtexts? What sorts of political claims do these plays make, and how do they make them? Who or what do these plays blame? What does the source of the disaster being represented (bomb, climate change, dictatorship) determine about theatrical form, theme, and plot? How has the age of disaster forced theatremakers to reconsider their understandings of the future, history, war, the body politic, human nature, the role of the intellectual in the public sphere, science, art, and other topics?    

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Museums, Fairs, Sideshows

THEA-UT 750 | 4 units | Theatre Studies C | Instructor: Robert Davis

A fascinating look at the history and design of museums and other shows: from medieval fairs to contemporary institutions. In particular, we’ll focus on how museums and shows have presented displays using theatrical contentions as well as a how objects “perform” for an audience.  Course work will cover the histories of museums, world’s fairs, circuses, zoos, and freak shows, and include field trips throughout New York City.

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Producing: Ecology of the New York Theatre

THEA-UT 678 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Elizabeth Bradley

All who aspire to work in the field must understand the systems and structures that underpin the profession. Learn about the commercial, not-for-profit and presenting sectors and how these interact. Become familiar with influential leaders both on the stage and behind the scenes who are moving the art form forward. Learn how to navigate the theatre scene as a “plugged in” professional. The class will include seeing productions and invited professional guests.

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Realism and Naturalism

THEA-UT 705 | 4 units | Theatre Studies C | Instructor: Joe Jeffreys

An introduction and exploration of major European playwrights and theatre history from the industrial revolution to today focused on the emergence and establishment of Realism and Naturalism as theatrical genres. Plays and critical writings by dramatists including Zola, Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg and Shaw will be considered along with movements from Romanticism to so-called Avant-Garde genres including Symbolism , Futurism and Dada. The birth of the director, the development of the craft of acting and the impact of new technologies on the stage and playwriting will also be explored. By the course’s end students will be able to delineate Naturalism and Realism’s primary principals and structures and possess a deep understanding of how these foundational 19th century movements have greatly influenced theatrical practices to the present day.

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Studies in Shakespeare: In Film

THEA-UT 700 | 4 units | Theatre Studies C | Instructor: John Osburn

Focused each time by genre (comedies, tragedies, romances, histories), or by theme or topic (theatricality, gender, race, politics, religion, etc.), this course explores the works of Shakespeare as text and performance - on stage or on film. Various critical methodologies, including biographical and cultural analysis, are used to reveal the continuing vitality of these plays and their relevance to the theatre of our time.

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Theatre & Therapy

THEA-UT 673 | 4 units | Theatre Studies B | Instructor: Stephanie Omens

An exploration into the healing and therapeutic aspects of theatre and drama through the use of drama therapy. Beginning with a study of play in child development, you will explore the three types of play - practice play, symbolic play, and games with rules - and examine their purposes in child development. You will also examine the four major techniques in drama therapy and their relationships to play and performance and study the Five Phase Model (Emunah), Developmental Transformations (Johnson), Rose Method (Landy), and Psychodrama (Moreno). Students will have the opportunity to participate in each method of drama therapy, as well as lead drama therapy training sessions.

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Theatre of Latin America: The Drama and Theatricality of Tango

THEA-UT 748 | 4 units | Theatre Studies C | Instructor: John Osburn

An abundance of theatrical forms and traditions have embraced the dance, music and song of Argentine tango. The “tango show” is a distinct genre of musical theater, with its own structures and conventions, ranging from virtuosic tourist productions to serious dramas that use tango as a vehicle or a backdrop to tell human and political stories. Tango is performed on the street, in restaurants and bars, at competitions, during breaks at social dances, and on television, film, and radio. Even the social dance is meant to be watched, displaying personal styles and cultural values. Social and stage dancers draw on each other’s innovations, while tango singers are influenced by theatrical genres such as zarzuela, sainete, cuplé, cabaret, and Italian opera. The course will look at how this happens, survey the complex history of tango, its African and European origins, and gender relations. In-class discussions and demos by tango artists, video showings, and a chance or two to “get on our feet” will enliven our understanding of this deeply theatrical tradition.

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Drama Electives

Audition Technique in Practice

THEA-UT 170 | 2 units | Instructor: Darci Picoult

This course is devoted to the practical presentation of auditions. Students will present auditions of rehearsed monologues and assigned scenes for the theatre, as well as perform auditions for film, television and commercials using script sides They will develop and hone audition skills to begin to prepare to market themselves to industry professionals. The class will cover both on-camera auditions and stage auditions. The course is also designed to help the performer understand the technique of auditioning by discussing the business of acting and will cover pictures/resumes and an introduction to the world of those that work in casting, ie. casting directors, agents, and managers. The goal is for the performer to learn to present his/herself in a professional manner showing individual strengths and abilities in a very short presentation. The class will provide a technique for performers to hone and use to meet the demands of any audition situation; the beginning of a process that will continue with every future audition.

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Spoken Word: Voiceover Techniques

THEA-UT 149 | 2 units | Instructor: Andy Roth

Taught by one of the busiest casting directors in New York, this class will give you the skills you need and the industry insight to start your journey into the voice over world. Everyone works in every class as we explore the many forms of voice over; from Commercials and Promos, to Animation, Video Games and Audiobooks. This class is designed to give you the tools you need to quickly and easily assess and execute any voice over script in any situation. Students get to keep all of their class recordings.

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