Debra Caplan

Phone: (646) 312- 4057

Location: VC 7-229

Debra Caplan is an Assistant Professor of Theatre specializing in world theater, Yiddish theater and drama, theatrical travel and Jewish performance culture. Her work has appeared in Comparative Drama and New England Theatre Journal, and she frequently presents at national and international theater conferences. Prior to joining the Baruch faculty, Professor Caplan taught theater history at Emerson College and was Executive Director of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard, in collaboration with Martin Puchner. She is co-chair of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, an interdisciplinary international initiative to develop a born-digital web resource on the history of the Yiddish stage, and is the current Season Dramaturg for Target Margin Theater in New York (2012-2014). Professor Caplan is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Yiddish Empire: Jews, Theater, and the Aesthetics of Itinerancy. She earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University.

Most recent or current research:

I am currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Yiddish Empire: Jews, Theater, and the Aesthetics of Itinerancy, 1905-1940 about the transnational artistic networks developed by the Vilna Troupe, a revolutionary theater company that was a global sensation between the two World Wars.

I am also beginning research for my second book project: a global history of women in Jewish theater.

Other projects include an article about Death of a Salesman and The Diary of Anne Frank’s Yiddish adaptations, an article about digital humanities research methodologies in graduate education, and an initiative to develop a born-digital interactive web resource and teaching tool about Yiddish theater.

Subject Matter Expertise (topics):

  • Yiddish theater
  • Hebrew theater
  • Modernist drama and theater
  • Diasporic artists
  • Dramatic translation and adaptation
  • Jewish literature
  • Digital humanities research methodology

Degrees (with institution)

Ph.D., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

B.A. Hampshire College

Affiliations (boards, organizations)

  • Board Member and former Executive Director, Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University
  • Co-Founder, Digital Yiddish Theater Project
  • American Society for Theatre Research
  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • American Theatre and Drama Society
  • Association for Jewish Studies
  • Modern Language Association
  • American Comparative Literature Association

Most recent publications (articles and/books) or exhibitions

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  •  “Heymish Modernism: Joseph Buloff’s Chicago Revaluation of the American Yiddish Theatre.” New England Theatre Journal 23 (2012): 111-131.
  • “Oedipus, Shmedipus: Ancient Greek Drama on the Modern Yiddish Stage.” Comparative Drama 44.4/45.1 (Winter/Spring 2010/11): 405-422.

Additional Publications

  • “The Dramaturgical Bridge: Contextualizing Foreignness in Multilingual Theater.” Forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, ed. Magda Romanska.
  • “Forgotten Playwright: Kadya Molodowsky and the Yiddish Stage.” Forthcoming in The Legacy of Yiddish Women Writers, ed. Rosemary Horowitz.
  • “Greek Tragedy and Yiddish Literature/Theater.” Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy, Hanna Roisman, ed. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • Review of Rewriting Russia: Jacob Gordin’s Yiddish Drama by Barbara J. Henry. Modern Drama 55.3 (Fall 2012): 415-417.
The City University of New York