Learn more about Writopia's Playwriting program.
Yael is thrilled to be part of the Writopia team! She received her BA in English from Stern College of Yeshiva University, and joined Writopia Lab in 2011. She has taught and tutored writing in several New York City colleges and private schools, and has worked as a director, most recently directing at 59e59 Theaters and at Roy Arias Theater. At Writopia she works as an instructor and program developer. Her Writopia students have received Scholastic recognition on both on the regional and national levels, and she has served as a national judge for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In 2012, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."
Danielle has been part of the Writopia team since 2011. She currently codirects Writopia’s NYC full-day camps and WriCampia, Writopia’s Sleepaway Camp, and develops in-school and essay writing curricula. Danielle teaches writing workshops at Writopia, in schools, and in Residential Treatment Facilities for incarcerated youth. She provides literacy support and creative writing workshops for at-risk teens who are transitioning these facilities into adulthood as part of Writopia’s Write to Independence Program. She launched the Essay Writing program at Writopia in 2013. In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Prior to Writopia, Danielle tutored for the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests both privately and with a Long-Island based company called Dynamic Tutoring.
She has studied writing at Stanford University and New York University, and received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought from the Draper Program at NYU in January 2010. She has co-written (with Yael Schick) a new musical How to Click, which was showcased at Shetler Studios and the Sorter Lee Theater. Her one-act play, Under Somebody's Nose, was produced at Roy Arias theater in November of 2012. She produced and performed the one-acts Graduands to Graduates; The Megalomaniac and Valedictorian Commence; and Scene From a Dartboard at the Manhattan Repertory theatre in March through June 2010, and the one-act Look at Me When I Am Talking to You at the Wings Theatre in New York in May 2008. She has had the opportunity to teach English and creative writing in a classroom setting to children in Pram-pram, Ghana; Quito, Ecuador; Chinatown, New York; East Palo Alto, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Alexandra is thrilled to be an instructor and Program Developer at Writopia NYC! Alexandra interned at Writopia NYC during the summer of 2014 after graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Theatre Performance. While in school, she wrote and performed a solo Commedia dell’Arte mask show, Stella, for the theatre department and outside guests. Her short fiction has been published in Luna Luna Magazine. Throughout the school year, she instructs multi-genre workshops and private sessions, and in the summer, mainly works with the playwrights, helping them bring their written pieces to the stage. Her Writopia writers have won both regional and national recognition from the Scholastic Writing Awards. Outside of work, she writes memoir and realistic fiction and is currently working on a series of short stories. Periodic summer visits to her grandparents' house in upstate New York—or as her mother called it: "cousin camp"—proved to be influential in her artistic endeavors and remains a place of inspiration; she and her cousins would create and perform original stories, often times charging for entry. Since then, she has always loved the beauty and therapeutic power of words. In addition to reading and writing, she loves to sing and is especially moved by R&B and soul music.
Madeline Taylor joined Writopia as an intern in June 2015 and, after a year of working part-time, began full-time as Registration Coordinator. She also served as the Production Stage Manager for the Writopia Worldwide Plays Festival 2016. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions, and her main areas of instruction at Writopia are the Playwriting & Performance program and the Essay Writing program. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature.
Justin Allen is excited to be an instructor at Writopia Lab. Justin is the author of two novels, Slaves of the Shinar and Year of the Horse. He is also the author of three plays. Murder at the Masque: The Casebook of Edgar Allen Poe and Gilbert and Sullivan, The Ballet! were both commissioned and produced by Dances Patrelle. The Beatitudes was commissioned by Eidolon Ballet in Concert and was produced for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Justin is curently formulating a new script, which he wants to call Superhero: The Legend of the Lightning Defender. Justin earned his MFA at Columbia University and studied Comic Book Scripting at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He loves fantasy and science-fiction, mystery and alternate history, love stories and comic books, and he adores work that defies classification. He has taught writing as a part of the Columbia Writing Workshops at Bank Street College of Education, led a seminar focusing on graphic novels and comic books at Bethesda Academy, and spent years as a children's ballet master in New York City. He looks forward to reveling weekly in the work of the talented and creative young writers that make Writopia Lab a special place.
Dan Kitrosser has been teaching year-round at Writopia since 2007. He teaches musical theater, playwriting, language play, and fiction workshops, and also produces and directs Writopia Lab's annual Best Playwrights' Festival. Dan is the resident storyteller at Central Park and an award-winning playwright. His plays and musicals have appeared at Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and American Place Theatre. His children's musical, Night of the Butterfly, has been declared "a winning original musical!" by TimeOut Kids, and had an extended Off-Broadway run. He was the recipient of the 2010 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant for his one-man musical The Legend of Ichabod Crane (Halloween Pick - Village Voice) which he continues to tour around the city. At Writopia, six of Dan's students have won "Best Play" in Stephen Sondheim's 2008, 2009, and 2010 Write a Play! contests, and many others were named finalists or won honorable mentions. A graduate of NYU, Dan's screenplays include Old Days, directed by Matt Shapiro and starring Brad Oscar (Tony Nomination, The Producers) and Mary Beth Piel (Dawson's Creek) and Bodybuilder Island, directed by Matthew Kliegman. Dan has been a final committee judge for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival for four years (this coming summer will be his fifth). Dan's play Be Here Now won this festival and was a finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Playwriting Competition.
Stephen began teaching fiction and playwriting at Writopia in 2011. His original theatre has been produced throughout New York City for the past seven years through the Brick Theatre, the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, and the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator, chashama. He has also co-produced community theater for Williamsburg families. He studied English, History and Theatre at Louisiana State University, and recently graduated with his MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing, where he was awarded the John Golden Prize for Excellence in Playwriting.
Sarah Bernstein is an award-winning teacher and playwright. Sarah studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University, and her work has been produced and/or developed with companies throughout the country, including the Lark Play Development Center, the Amoralists, Forward Flux Productions,The Motor Company, the Source Festival, FullStop Collective, Caps Lock Theatre, the American Globe Theatre, Project Y, and the New Voices Project. Her play, Perpetuation, and her adaptation of Les Miserables, will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year. After falling in love with Writopia through her work on the Worldwide Plays Festival, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Writopia's brilliant students and staff as an instructor.
Melanie Howard is excited to join Writopia Lab as an instructor in the Greater Washington DC area. Melanie is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared online and in print in Time.com, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, SELF, Seventeen, Parenting, Good Housekeeping and other major publications. She is the co-author of the satirical novel, Queen of the Court (2013) and her second novel, a mystery set at a girls’ boarding school in 1963, is in the publication process. Melanie is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in General and Comparative Literature. She loves writing for a living for many reasons, but mostly because she gets to stay home with her dog, Rocket.
Matthew is an instructor for Writopia Lab in NYC! Born and raised in New York City, Matthew is both a writer and an actor. His play, the giants, parts one and two was produced by Loft 227 last winter. He is the 2012/2013 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, an alumnus of the FreshGround Pepper PlayGround PlayGroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. He hangs out with kids a lot at the 52nd Street Project, and works as a teaching artist with Marquis Studios, Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club.
Jessica joined the Writopia team in summer 2017 and is thrilled to be surrounded by such imaginative, passionate, and accomplished students and instructors! She is a NYC-based writer of plays, musical theater, and comedy. Her produced works for the theater include The Average-Sized Mermaid (Corwin Award), Deuteranomaly (nominated for 5 PCTF Awards), Word of the Day (commissioned by the Sloan Foundation/Magic Theatre), G Train Exodus (winner of the LIC One Act Play Festival), and Show of Hands (Finalist for the International Jewish Plays Project). She is a lyricist in the BMI Musical Theatre Advanced Songwriting Workshop, and her work with composer Rick Bassett has been performed in venues throughout the city and recognized with commissions from JCP Downtown and the Well Songs Project. Her comedy sketches for Seriously.TV have been featured in The Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, and NewNowNext. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was awarded The Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwright Foundation Fellowship and The Chair’s Award (the department’s highest honor for overall excellence in playwriting, screenwriting, and TV writing).
Samantha Stone has been involved with Writopia as a JLA volunteer since Fall of 2016 and is thrilled to continue, now as a creative writing instructor. She is a New York City based playwright and theatre artist, who focuses on creating theatre for social change in both national and international platforms. In 2013, she earned a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the George Washington University and is currently earning a degree from the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA in Playwriting program with the expectation to graduate in Spring 2018. Her first play The Muscle in Question, a story about the human brain and its effect on a society's day-to-day well-being, experience, and existence, made its world premiere at the 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival in 2016.
C. A. Johnson is thrilled to be a new member of the Writopia Lab family! Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, C. A. now lives in Astoria Queens where she spends her days writing plays and drinking far too much coffee. Her plays include Mother Tongue, The Climb, An American Feast, Waitin’ on the Moon, Elroy Learn His Name, and Thirst (2017 Kilroys List, PlayPenn Conference). Her work has been supported and/or developed by SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Playwrights Center, The Lark, The Dramatists Guild, The Civilians, and many other organizations. Most recently, C.A.’s play An American Feast was developed with The Civilians and received a workshop production at Playwrights Horizons Theater School. She received her BA from Smith College and her MFA from NYU. www.cajohnson.info
Kristin is very excited to be joining the Writopia team as an instructor! Kristin is a New York-based playwright originally from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Her plays have been produced and developed by Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea Theater, The Tank, Ugly Rhino, Spicy Witch Productions, Ship’s Company Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Halifax Theatre for Young People, Doppler Effect Productions, the Queer Acts Festival, the Atlantic Fringe Festival, the University of Alberta, the Fountain School for the Arts, DaPoPo Theatre, Doppler Effect Productions, and Forerunner Playwrights Theatre. She is currently a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie Award-winning playwriting group Youngblood, and she was a 2017 member of The Tank's TV Writing Group. Kristin was a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference, a semifinalist for the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, and a two-time finalist for Roundabout Theatre Company’s Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. She has completed residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Catwalk Institute, the PARC Playwrights Colony, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, and Spicy Witch Productions. Kristin is also the writer for season four of a the award-winning web series ADULTish. Kristin received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University in 2016.
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