In this Master Class, Ken Cerniglia will teach you about:

  • What a Dramaturg Does and Why You Need Them
  • When to Hire a Dramaturg
  • How to Localize Your Show for Different Markets
  • The Essential Dramaturgical Questions to Ask When Working on Any Show
  • The Foundations of Dramaturgy for Playwrights and Producer


Ken Cerniglia is a veteran dramaturg, writer, creative consultant, and organizational leader. His dramaturgy is most prominently reflected in the innovative Broadway hits Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell (8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical) and Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice (5 Tony Awards), whose popularity since its iconic premiere production has spawned over 2000 licensed productions around the world.

During his 16 years as Disney Theatrical Productions’ resident dramaturg and literary manager, Ken developed over 70 titles for Broadway, touring, international, and licensed productions, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Freaky Friday, Aladdin, Newsies, The Little Mermaid, High School Musical, and Tarzan. He adapted young-performer librettos for Beauty and the Beast JR., The Little Mermaid JR., The Lion King JR., The Lion King KIDS, and Aladdin JR. Ken conceived and developed Marvel Spotlight, a collection of one-act plays that feature teenage super heroes tackling real-world problems in a diverse society. He also wrote scripts for over a dozen Disney on Broadway concerts for special events and Disney Cruises, and edited the “making of” books Peter and the Starcatcher: The Annotated Broadway Play (2012) and Newsies: Stories of the Unlikely Broadway Hit (2013).

Freelance dramaturgy credits include the new musical The Remarkable Journey to Tianguo (regional premiere 2021), the chamber opera Blood Moon (2020 PROTOTYPE Festival, NYC); the new musical Bridges (Berkeley Playhouse); Monticello Wakes and Passion Trilogy, which he also directed (Fisher Ensemble/Loyola Marymount University); and Bud, Not Buddy, The Gift of Nothing, The Cricket in Times Square, and OLIVERio: A Twist on Dickens (Kennedy Center). Ken recently crossed the border of dramaturgy into musical book writing for the new musical Atlantis, which premiered in 2019 at Virginia Repertory Theatre, directed by Kristin Hanggi.

In addition to creative work, Ken has a thing for organizations, initiatives, and education. He is immediate past president of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), co-founder of the American Theatre Archive Project, and Artistic Director of Two Turns Theatre Company. He is a graduate of UC San Diego, The Catholic University of America, and the University of Washington, where he earned a Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism. Although he hasn’t (yet) become the theatre professor he imagined, Ken gets his fix as a regular guest lecturer, artist, facilitator, and adjudicator at conferences, universities, and festivals around the world.

If you are a theater maker looking to learn insider tips, tricks and stories from industry professionals, our Master Class series is the perfect resource.

Each month, We release a new Master class taught by our TheatersMakers Studio Faculty members. These Master classes include a 1-hour video course, a group coaching call with the faculty member that month, and a featured article in our monthly newsletter…all available for free for members of the TheaterMakers Studio.

We also offer each Master Class video course as a separate one-time product for non-members, which are available here.