Adaptation and Performance with Fiasco Theater

This course is centered around the development of Fiasco Theater’s upcoming production of The Beggar’s Opera. Gay’s 1728 satirical “ballad opera” was the longest running show in London at the time, and influenced the development of musical theater to the present. Students will create and perform their own versions of scenes and songs, discover how character tropes have continued throughout musical theater history, engage in dialogue about how satire works, research economic realities of theater-making then and now, and contribute meaningfully to Fiasco’s investigation of how to bring the show to life for a contemporary audience.

This course will be led by Fiasco Theater co-artistic directors Ben Steinfeld and Noah Brody. Steinfeld and Brody have co-directed and acted in Fiasco’s acclaimed productions of Into the Woods, Cymbeline, and Measure for Measure. These productions have been honored with two off-Broadway Alliance Awards for Best Revival, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival, and the NY Times‘ Top Ten. Fiasco Theater’s productions have appeared in New York at the Roundabout, and New Victory theaters; in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory; and at leading regional theaters including the McCarter, Old Globe, Folger, and Long Wharf.

Email Bob Sandberg at if you’re interested in taking this course.

fiasco into the woods

Fiasco Theater’s “Into the Woods”

Sample reading list:
John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera
Joseph Roach, It
Lisa Freeman, Character’s Theatre
Calhoun Winton, John Gay and the London Theatre
Catharine Arnold, City of Sin
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Each week there will be either a reading or writing assignment that springs from or toward the in-class work. Some of this writing will be analytical, and some assignments will involve creative writing, including but not limited to playwriting and songwriting assignments. 80% students’ final collaborative performance projects will include material created for class.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Please contact Bob Sandberg at for permission to enroll.






Mondays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm