The Art of Dramaturgy
by Anne Cattaneo

Book Description:

Anne Cattaneo was among the first Americans to fill the role of dramaturg, one of theater’s best kept secrets. Using detailed stories from her lifetime of work with theater artists such as Tom Stoppard, Wendy Wasserstein, Robert Wilson, Shi-Zheng Chen, and Sarah Ruhl, as well as “Mule Bone,” the “lost” play by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Cattaneo provides an invaluable manual to those studying, working in, and interested in this most fascinating profession.

ISBN: 9780300233698
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
336 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
15 b/w illustrations

Author Bio:

Anne Cattaneo is the longtime dramaturg of Lincoln Center Theater, and creator and head of the 25 year old Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. At the announcement of her 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship for Theater Arts, American Theatre Magazine saluted her as “a legendary dramaturg.”

What people are saying:

“Anne Cattaneo creates a toolbox for dramaturgs, producers, and emerging arts leaders on how to be an exemplar in dramaturgy. This incredible work will be a fixture for this generation and future ones.”

Kristin Leahey

Boston University

“Anne Cattaneo has had a very distinguished career, and this wise book will be in print for years and years.”

Adrienne Kennedy

Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement and Member of the Theater Hall of Fame

“Anne Cattaneo has written a fascinating and invaluable book on the theater from the dramaturg’s perspective. Whether you are a would-be dramaturg, a theater professional, or just a theater aficionado you will learn first-hand how productions come together from the page to the stage.”

James Lapine

Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner

“Cattaneo demystifies dramaturgy with the mastery of a great storyteller. This inspiring work reminds us why we need theater now more than ever. A must read for all thinkers, makers, and lovers of art.”

Rubén Polendo

New York University Tisch School of the Arts/ Theater Mitu

“Cattaneo’s love – and wide-ranging knowledge – of her subject shines through on every page. This is a book not just for dramaturgs, but for all makers and lovers of theater.”

Evan Yionoulis

The Juilliard School


Preface: A Dramaturg’s Life

List of Illustrations

Introduction: What is a Dramaturg?

Chapter 1: Find Your Way In – How to Begin an Interpretation of a Classic Play

Chapter 2: Expand the Repertory – Discovering Archival Plays and Finding their Audiences

Chapter 3: Love and Encourage – Supporting a Playwright’s Work as it Develops

Chapter 4: Reflect Light Back – Working with Actors and Writing Audience Materials

Guide Your Audience: The Coast of Utopia Program Inserts

Chapter 5: Create Work and Opportunities – Dramaturg-created Productions and Events

Chapter 6: Step Across Time and Place – Cross-Cultural Investigation

Chapter 7: Search Beyond the Words – Enacting the Unconscious

Chapter 8: Appreciate New Forms and Styles in Contemporary Playwriting

Chapter 9: Deepen an Interpretation – A Classical Play is Successfully Reimagined

Chapter 10: See with New Eyes – Revisiting a Great Classic in Yet a New Way


To a Young Dramaturg

Appendix 1: A Dramaturg’s Toolkit

Appendix 2: My One Hundred Interesting Things List – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Appendix 3: My One Hundred Interesting Things List – The Coast of Utopia

Appendix 4: My List of Images – The Coast of Utopia

Appendix 5: A Syllabus for a Course on Classical Play Interpretation

Suggested Reading




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