Broadway playwright and fiction novelist James Magruder will teach a free three-session master class at the Shapiro Creative Writing Center this fall. Applications are open to students from all grade levels, and participants must be able to attend all three sessions on Monday, Sept. 17, Monday, Oct. 15, and Monday, Nov. 12.
Magruder is currently making waves on Broadway with his musical “Head Over Heels!,” a comedy featuring songs by The Go-Go’s. He has also taught translation and adaptation at the Yale School of Drama and now teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College. He holds a doctorate in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from the Yale School of Drama.
Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing Amy Bloom has noticed more of the student body expressing interest in playwriting and interdisciplinary opportunities. She believes Magruder would be a good fit for teaching a master class.
“He’s a famously popular professor at every place he’s ever taught, including at the Yale drama school,” Bloom said. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring somebody like that to Wesleyan.”
The class is designed for serious writers interested in playwriting. Bloom will select applicants based on a cover letter and a creative writing sample. Bloom emphasizes that the master class is an additional course that students do not take for credit. She said that students who choose to take the master class should be dedicated to their writing.
“It’s people who have a fair amount of focus,” Bloom said. “This is an additional course you don’t get credit for, [so] it’s really about opportunity and what somebody wants to do with their time…. We’re just looking for people who are serious about their writing.”
Participant Arnaav Bhavanani ’20 chose to apply to the class as a complement to his Introduction to Playwriting course and as a way to broaden his writing skills.
“I’m taking Intro to Playwriting this semester and auditioning for ‘Disgraced!’ in October,” Bhavanani wrote in a message to The Argus. “I’m trying to expand the areas in which I write and also really get into those areas as much as I can.”
Magruder is a five-time recipient of the Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and his debut novel, “Sugarless,” was a Lambda Literary award finalist and was shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize. He will be commuting to Middletown from Baltimore to teach the three class meetings.
Jocelyn Maeyama can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.