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 book, Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy, was published by University of Michigan Press in 2018. Her writing has also appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Modern Drama, Comparative Drama, Aschkenas, New England Theatre Journal, Performance Research, Pakn Treger, and American Theatre Magazine.

Professor Caplan is the co-founder of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project (, an interdisciplinary initiative to develop a digital portal for Yiddish theater.

She is currently working on a new biography of the Yiddish actress Molly Picon. 

Subject Matter Expertise (topics):

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

Degrees (with institution)

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

B.A. Hampshire College

Affiliations (boards, organizations)

  • Board Member, Yiddish Book Center
  • 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
The City University of New York