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NYT profiles female theater directors; 6 of 15 are Yalies

In the boys' club of New York theater, female directors "are the new power players of Off Broadway, staging some of the most critically acclaimed productions in recent years," the New York Times proclaims. What's more, "they are starting to get more shots at the better-paying, career-making gigs on Broadway, where four out of five shows are usually directed by men.”

In a related article profiling "the more active female directors, six of 15 are Yale alumnae.

Asked about mentors, May Adrales ’06MFA cites "my grad school teacher, Liz Diamond, another petite, vertically challenged director." Diamond, who chairs the Yale School of Drama's directing department, "giggled and assured me that while it was perfectly fine to sit on tables and back of chairs to feel a bit bigger in the room, eventually I would command that respect just fine in my 5-foot-1-inch frame,” Adrales tells the Times.

Jackson Gay ’03MFA also reaches back to her Yale days for “my most surprising and lasting mentor," lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. "She always finds a way to take our discussions away from the business of being a director and puts the focus back on being an artist. She helps me to remember why I wanted to do this with my life in the first place.”

For Patricia McGregor ’09MFA, that encouragement and inspiration came from August Wilson, the late playwright who had a long association with the Yale Rep. One summer, while she was stage managing a Wilson production, “I told him I was thinking of getting out of theater and making some money. And he said—remember, this is basically the voice of God—he said: ‘Your mom doesn’t need you to buy her a house. She needs you to do the dreams she planted in you.’”

Tina Landau, a 1984 graduate of Yale College, tells the Times that she has "always experienced Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway as being hospitable to me and other women I know." Rebecca Taichman ’01MFA is "proud to be associated with" the growing number of women directors doing "remarkable work."

Anna D. Shapiro ’93MFA is the lone non-New Yorker in the bunch. She flew from her native Chicago to Broadway on the wings of August: Osage County, for which she won a Tony in 2008. “When you're fortunate enough to realize that you can actually be led by your personal interests," she told the Yale Alumni Magazine in 2009, "you realize that should be your only aspiration." As for standing out among the men, she remarks to the Times: “Where I’m coming from, in the Midwest, there have always been a lot of women.”

Filed under Theater, Yale School of Drama
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