The Miracle Worker: The Relationship Between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller

The Miracle Worker Character Study

Though most viewers consider The Miracle Worker to be about Helen Keller, William Gibson wrote the play as a tribute to her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and to her struggles in helping Helen understand language. Annie’s relationship with Helen is displayed

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The Major Theatrical Unions in the U.S.

Seeing a show on Broadway or at another professional theatre? Then you will be watching a show created by union employees.

If you are working in the professional theatre in the U.S., you may end up joining one or more of the various theatrical unions, or you may interact with union members. There are numerous theatre unions or professional organizations. There’s

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Any Theatre Student or Practitioner Wanting to Grow

Looking to have a great 2015? Read on.

If you’re someone studying theatre arts, you should certainly be focused on getting better at what you do. If you’re in the business, you should be doing the same. Improvement and growth are essential to your being employed for the

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Playwriting: Can You Be Taught to Write a Play?

Do you want to write plays?

One of the common questions you often hear about writing in general and playwriting in particular, is can it be taught? Can a playwright really learn to write for the stage by taking courses in the subject? The answer is

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The Actor’s Dilemma: What Young Actors Need to Learn, Part II

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Many young actors live and die, or seem to, on the posting of the next cast list for either their college or conservatory production. After all, it’s not like being in the professional world where there are hundreds of casting

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The Actor’s Dilemma: What Young Actors Need to Learn- Part One

The cast list is up!

If you teach acting on any level and it is related to production and casting plays, then you know that when the cast list goes up there’s bound to be elation, disappointment, anger, and jealously, as well as many other

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Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part II

An active theatre history class can stimulate discovery and discussion.

  In Part I of our three-part series on teaching theatre history, we considered some of the basic challenges that are involved in bringing and delivering what can be a very daunting curriculum to students. There are a lot of

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Theatrical Training and Professionalism: The Power of Being Actively Curious

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There’s something to be said for being curious, especially in an artistic profession such as theatre. By “curious” I mean not just wanting to know something, but being driven to find the answer, no matter what roadblocks arise. Perhaps its

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5 Behaviors or Actions Guaranteed to Hurt Your Theatre Career

Being positive right from the start is important.

You worked for a theatre company, for a producer or director, or with a group of creative people and you have not been asked back to work with them again. You don’t know why. No matter what you do to

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Theatre as a Profession: When’s Your Next Interview or Audition?

Will you work hard and go for it?

Too many times those who are just breaking into the theatre don’t understand how important it is to always act in a professional manner. In this and our next blog, we’re going to consider various aspects of the business as

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The Importance of Planning and Setting Goals for Theatre Students

Ready to set some goals and create a plan?

If you’re a theatre student studying at a college or a conservatory, there are certain keys that will help you achieve success in becoming a professional in the field. How do you become a working theatre professional? The same way

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Theatre: It’s the Human Element

Understanding the human element in a play or musical is key to finding meaning.

Theatre is an art. Although theatre is an art, it’s an art that thrives on connecting directly and immediately with audiences on various levels, including intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. However, at times, it seems as though the theatre intimidates students,

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An Actor Must Prepare: A Checklist for Student Actors

Are you ready for rehearsal?

If you’re an actor who is new to the stage, and you get cast in a show, you may start rehearsals feeling very unprepared. Often when this happens, an actor will show up for rehearsal and as the day progresses

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Theatre Students have to Be Open to New Ideas and Failure

How good are you? How good do you want to be?

Too often high school and college theatre students want the answers now. In other words, they want to know if they are any good at what they do, when they will finally be accomplished, and what the secrets to success

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Long Island Kindergarten Show Cancelled for College Prep Test: Why This Makes No Sense

Interim Principal Ellen Best-Laimit.

It was reported by many news sources, and it made headlines when the principal of the Harley Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood, which is located on Long Island, cancelled the annual kindergarten variety show. Why was it shutdown? This was

Read More Long Island Kindergarten Show Cancelled for College Prep Test: Why This Makes No Sense

Theatre History: A Discussion of Challenges and Remedies, Part I

Can you connect your students to theatre history?

In teaching theatre history on the university level to undergraduates, we’re often challenged by feeling the need to relay a mountain of facts that students tend to fairly boring, overwhelming, and inconsequential. Along with the historical information are our primary

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Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance, Part II

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In Part I, of Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance, we focused on the benefits of having directing students work from the outside in. That is, focusing on text, directing skills and techniques, and proper interpretation of

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Of Mice and Men: Discussion Topics for the Classroom, Part 3

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< Theme of Powerlessness The characters in Of Mice and Men are powerless due to various circumstances. For instance, Lennie, although he is employed as a ranch hand due to his physical strength, he is powerless because of his mental

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Of Mice and Men: Discussion Topics for the Classroom, Part 1

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The renowned story Of Mice and Men, based on the 1937 novel by John Steinbeck, is returning to the Broadway stage in April 2014. Of Mice and Men (which is required reading in many schools) is based on Steinbeck’s own

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Teaching Directing: Two Different Approaches and Finding a Balance

Director insights are essential, but where should they come from?

There are various ways to teach directing to students. (That is, if directing is really something that you can actually “teach.”) Directing tends to be filled with challenges, as the stage director has to understand a script in its entirety,

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 3

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Romantic Fantasy in Moonlight, Cold Reality in Daylight Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt named Act I of The Fantasticks “In the Moonlight” (due to its romantic mood) and Act II “In the Sun,” which is where the audience witnesses what

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The Fantasticks: History and Themes for Classroom Discussion, Part 2

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The Process Tom Jones collaborated with J. Donald Robb on a musical adaptation of Les Romanesques from 1954 to 1956 as Harvey Schmidt was in the Korean War at the time. They originally titled the musical Joy Comes to Dead

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Theatre Training: Knowledge, Education, and Making the Grade

A deep reading of the play is important.

How important are grades when it comes to getting into a college or university in order to pursue theatre training? If you’re a high school student who is a C-minus student but amazingly talented will there be a lot of

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Importance of the Voice in Musical Theatre, Part 1

Confidence ia important for singers.

It is essential for students to learn the importance of the voice on stage. If singers cannot be heard by the audience, what is the point of having any listeners? Yes, it is a huge accomplishment to be able to

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What is a Career in the Professional Theatre?

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Students in high school and even in college are often confused as to what a career in the theatre really means? Although it is hard to believe, many still think that to have a professional theatre career you must go

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

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The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a true arts complex, offering performances in a range of disciplines including music, dance and theatre. The Center, which is also a rich resource for theatre historians, offers daily tours that include special group

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Directing Actors: Creating Contagious Confidence in Performers

Directors can help actors gain confidence by giving them their undivided attention.

Acting is not an easy job and just about any actor, no matter what their level of training and accomplishment may be, has insecurities that can undermine their success. One of the things that a director can do is instill

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Teachers Can Help Student Actors Create a Positive Self-Image

Hairspray offers insights into body issues.

Over the years, I’ve found that many student actors at the high school and college levels have a very difficult time with their self-image, especially in terms of their physicality. Exactly what they are troubled by depends upon the individual.

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Teaching Commedia dell’ Arte, Part II

Students exploring Commedia dell’ Arte.

Character Walks Since Commedia Dell’ Arte is a physical theatrical art form, it is essential and fun to have students experiment with various ways of moving their bodies. Have the students walk around the classroom as a character of their

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play and Plot, Part Two

Analyzing backstory and given circumstances helps one understand the society and relationships.

In Part One of this four-part series, we defined formalist script analysis and discussed the importance of utilizing this interpretative too in preparing for production. It is an essential tool for directors and other artists, such as designers and actors,

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Script Analysis Basics for Students: Understanding the Play, Part One

Daniel Craig, 
Rachel Weisz
 and Rafe Spall rehearse the recent successful Broadway revival of Betrayal by Harold Pinter.

Formalist script analysis for production is an important skill for directors, designers, and actors to master. Although each approaches analysis a little differently, there are foundation elements that everyone in the theatre shares when it comes to analyzing a script

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The Fantasticks: Topics for Classroom Discussion, Part One

Rostand wrote Romanesques; his most famous play is Cyrano de Bergerac.

A Timeless Musical The world’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks (written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt), opened off-Broadway in 1954. It all began with the 1894 French play, Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand, which was essentially the story of

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Directing the New Play: Some Tips on Working with Playwrights

Directing a new play offers various challenges.

Directing a new work for the stage can be an exciting, interesting, and overwhelming experience. There are specific challenges that come with the new play process that simply are not associated with established works. The fact is the first time

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Teaching Tips: Making Classroom Literature Active and Fun

A bored classroom can be deadly.

When I was in school, I remember enjoying my Literature and English classes the most, but I especially looked forward to the classes where the teachers allowed us students to be involved creatively. Some teachers had us take turns reading

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What Every Student Actor Needs to Know About Being Professional

Are you ready to be an actor?

If you’re a student actor who is serious about being a professional, there are a few things of which you must be aware to succeed. Actually, there are more than a few, but this blog will offer you 5 basic,

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