1. Faculty

To study with a dedicated resident faculty and a select adjunct staff of professionals from New York City and northern New Jersey theatre. We believe that the optimum educational environment comes from a faculty deeply committed to teaching, but who are also actively involved in the theatre as directors, actors, designers, playwrights, and producers themselves.

The learning process takes place both in the classroom and in production, where faculty serve as mentors, working with students on their projects. The open and collaborative character of the department offers individual attention and a close working relationship with the faculty.

Full-time Faculty

  • Jim Bazewicz, (Design)
  • Lisa Brenner (Theatre History)
  • Chris Ceraso (Acting)
  • Andy Elliott (Theatre Technology)
  • Daniel LaPenta (Directing, Stage Management)
  • Rosemary McLaughlin (Playwriting)

Adjunct Instructors

  • Rodney Gilbert (Speech)
  • Kate Grant (Playwriting)
  • Eric Harriz (Design)
  • Catherine Mueller (Clowning)
  • Jamie Richards (Acting/Directing)
  • Lucy Ann Saltzman (Speech)
  • Kimani Fowlin (Dance)
  • Kristi Spessard (Dance)
  • Kate Powers (Theatre History and Dramatic Literature)

2. Solid Overall Training

To acquire a broad and balanced preparation in the theatre. In our program, majors study the variety of theatrical disciplines as well as the history and theory of the art rather than a limiting specialized concentration. Students begin with a thorough understanding of the way the different elements of the art work together and are encouraged to try them all before choosing to focus on any one.

3. Opportunities to Do

To integrate classroom learning with “on the boards” practical experience. We firmly believe that the best way to learn theatre is by doing. Our ambitious program of full productions and workshop readings of new, student-written plays provides numerous opportunities to apply and test classroom lessons on stage in all fields: acting, directing, playwriting, design, technical theatre, stage management, and choreography.

4. Liberal Arts

To explore the theatre in context of the liberal arts. The breadth of the liberal arts provides students not only with a superior overall education, but also a crucial sense of perspective in which to see the interrelationship of the theatre with other academic fields and its function as a reflection of society. Courses in other arts, literature, the natural and social sciences, and humanities all can contribute to the cultivation of an artist with a rich understanding of human nature, the theatre, and its role in the world.

5. Training For Life

To develop invaluable life skills such as handling responsibility, organizing and motivating oneself and others, developing effective interpersonal communication, and gaining self-confidence. Our program depends on student involvement, leadership, and initiative. Students are truly partners with the faculty in running the department and production season.

6. Visiting Artists

To talk theatre with some of the most influential people in the business. In 1992, we instituted the Robert Fisher Oxnam Visiting Artist Program, funded by a generous gift honoring the late Drew president, which brings to campus major theatrical artists and active professionals to work with our students in regular courses and master classes. Oxnam Visiting Artists to date have included actors Olympia Dukakis and Pat Carroll; playwrights Wendy Wasserstein, David Ives, Romulus Linney, and Joyce Carol Oates; and Broadway fight choreographer Rick Sordolet. We have also used this program to bring in professionals to work with our students on individual productions.

7. Playwriting

To participate in an undergraduate playwriting program supported by a production philosophy that encourages the development of new plays. Learn the fundamentals of the craft in the classroom and then see your efforts given life through readings and full productions. The “Plays in Process” series mounts staged readings of over 10 new plays a year. At the end of each semester, scenes from the THEA 55/Introduction to Playwriting class are staged in the “55 Marathon.” Also, the Robert Fisher Oxnam/Ensemble Studio Theatre Award in Playwriting is given each year to two students whose winning plays are given professional staged readings. The winners also receive a $500 prize and an all-expenses paid week-long residency with EST to further develop the play.

8. Scholarships & Awards

To be honored for artistic and academic achievement through a variety of scholarships and awards. Incoming students can apply for a Presidential Scholarship in the Arts, which offers an award up to $5,000 a year to a select few whose pre-Drew careers have demonstrated significant and outstanding work in the theatre. The Vincent and Genovina Porcelli Scholarship gives a junior who has made substantial contributions to theatre at Drew and achieved academic distinction a $1,000 scholarship. The President’s Award in Theatre is given to a graduating senior, chosen by the department faculty, whose career at Drew has exhibited exemplary dedication to Drew theatre and featured superior work in a variety of theatrical disciplines. The winner receives a check for $5,000. The Robert Fisher Oxnam/ Ensemble Studio Theatre Award in Playwriting is a competitive honor open to all Drew students (described in Reason #7). The Joe Patenaude Internships provide financial support of up to $3,000 to five students a year who are doing an internship in theatre either over a summer or during the school year. Every year, the Garden State Arts Center Foundation offers $2,500 Thomas H. Kean Scholarships in the Arts to a New Jersey resident studying and working in the theatre programs at Drew and a select group of other schools in the state.

9. Facilities

To work in a variety of state-of-the-art theatrical spaces. In January 2003, the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts opened, giving our students multiple, brand new performance spaces (a flexible, 130-180 seat black box, a 78 fixed-seat classroom/theatre, and a third, 50 seat informal performance space), a scene shop, costume shop, classrooms, and other support facilities. We also produce in the F.M.Kirby Shakespeare Theatre (a 300 seat house with a thrust stage) on campus. The Young and the Kirby facilities represent a multi-million dollar investment in the theatre and the arts by the University that give our students a variety of venues in which to test their skills in production.

10. Location

To enjoy a beautiful campus that is only 30 miles from Broadway. Drew is blessed to be less than an hour’s train ride from New York City as well as located in the rich cultural environment of northern New Jersey. Students can travel to the City or other regional centers to experience some of the best theatre and cultural programming in the country. Our location also allows us to tap into the vast pool of working professionals who live in the metropolitan area as instructors and guest artists.

11. Professional Affiliations #1

To intern or apprentice with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, a professional (Actors’ Equity) company in residence right on campus. STNJ offers an exciting season of old and new classics throughout the summer and fall, as well as formal and less structured educational opportunities year round, giving valuable, first-hand experience of the professional theatre.

12. Professional Affiliations #2

To intern with the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, a professional theatre company in the nearby town of Morristown. Students have the opportunity to investigate the process of producing more commercial theatre. This Actors’ Equity Company produces independently yet maintains close ties with the department.

13. Professional Affiliations #3

To benefit from a full-time internship with an established Off-Broadway or local major regional company. The Theatre Semester, an optional program open only to qualified majors and usually taken the last semester of senior year, can serve as an important bridge out of the academic world into the “real” one. Many of our students who have done Theatre Semester have been offered jobs with their company after completing the program.

14. Alumni Networking

To tap into the growing network of Drew graduates who have pursued advanced training and/or employment in the professional world. Our graduates have gone on to the Yale School of Drama, Carnegie-Mellon, Indiana University, and other distinguished M.F.A. programs around the country, as well as England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the London Academy of Performing Art. Others have landed important jobs “in the business,” including Head of East Coast Casting for CBS TV, Casting Director for the Papermill Playhouse, award-winning writers and producers, various key staff positions with the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Assistant to the Director for The Late Show with David Letterman, and Administrative Director of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

15. The London Semester

To revel in the moonlight on the Thames at Britain’s Royal National Theatre while pondering the incredible range of current productions available in London, not only at this prestigious theatre but also the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End, and fringe theatres as well. Drew’s London Semester, an important part of the university’s commitment to global awareness and intercultural literacy, is a multi-disciplinary program that combines a theatrical focus with literary, political, and historical perspectives on modern Britain in a unique and challenging semester of study.

16. D.U.D.S.

To dance the night away or even win a “Cheekie”–Drew’s equivalent of the Tony Award–at the annual DUDS Ball. The Drew University Dramatic Society is the student organization that co-produces all shows with the department, runs its own annual cabaret highlighting student talent, sponsors professional workshops, and hosts the always popular evening of dance, merriment, and awards–the DUDS Ball–each May.