Alex Barron (associate member)
Alex Barron is a dramaturg and producer based in New York City. He is a program associate with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program and has consulted with a number of companies, including MCC Theater, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Scott Rudin Productions and Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has been a member of the artistic staff at the Playwrights Realm, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. As a dramaturg, he has developed plays by Dominique Morisseau, Matthew Lopez, Rachel Bonds, Lauren Yee, Sarah Burgess, Jen Silverman, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Martyna Majok and Elizabeth Irwin, among many others. Alex previously produced Naked Radio, a new play podcast, for Naked Angels and is currently a producer for The New Yorker Radio Hour. He is a graduate of Drew University.
"As I approach articulating why I feel everyone should get to work with Alex, I can't resist the image of a glass raised in my hand, declaring him "a gentleman and a scholar" — and in his case alone this clichéd phrase breaks down and becomes what these words really mean. Alex is a gentleman: a closely attentive pal, generous and insightful, whose clear-eyed integrity is immediately known to everyone in his orbit. And Alex is a scholar: a passionate reader and advocate of great writing and great thought, not just in his capacity as literary manager and dramaturg, but — more importantly — in his capacity as a human being, always cultivating a curiosity about the larger world around him. I can't think of qualities better suited for the sensitive act of developing new plays, and I can't think of a better guy for the job."
—Adam Greenfield, Associate Artistic Director, Playwrights Horizons
"For sheer theatrical knowledge, ability to navigate a play's ins-and-outs, understanding of structure / character / tone and sensitivity to an author's intent (as well as possessing a terrific sense of humor) it doesn't get any better than Alex Barron. Think what great plays CORIOLANUS and PERICLES could have been if Bill Shakespeare could have relied on Alex Barron's keen dramaturgical flare and acute analytic sensibilities!"
—Raphael Martin, Director of New Work, Soho Rep
"Alex Barron has been an extremely astute and invaluable colleague in helping me navigate American theatre and writers. He has often provided me with skilled breakdowns of productions and writers that may resonate with Hampstead Theatre, as well as becoming a trusted sounding board for scripts. He has a very fine ear for what makes a play work, but more importantly has an innate understanding of many theatres and productions companies, and so always tailors his recommendations or appraisals in line with what is a good fit for a particular space. Alex has always been extremely generous in sharing his insight into American theatre and writers and I trust his taste and opinions implicitly and will always seek them out when I can."
—Will Mortimer, Literary Manager, Hampstead Theatre
How I explain dramaturgy to my extended family/high school friends/civilians:
I have two methods: if I think the person I'm talking to will listen for more than thirty seconds, I say something like, "The job of a dramaturg is to help find inroads into a play. You might do that work for a playwright. You might do it for a director, designers and actors. You might do it for audience." If I think that my conversation partner has limited actual interest, I say, "Do you have a vague idea what an editor does with books? It's like that, but with plays." Both explanations are usually greeted with polite nods and a quick change of conversation topic.
Most interesting non-theater job I've done:
I currently spend a chunk of my time producing podcasts and radio for The New Yorker, which isn't a bad way to spend a workday.
A great book I read recently:
As a dramaturg, I feel duty bound to list an obscure, vaguely imposing-sounding book. So, I'm going to say that I recently enjoyed reading John L'Heureux's Picnic in Babylon: A Jesuit Priest's Journal, 1963-1967. It is, as the title suggests, the collected diaries from L'Heureux's last four years studying to become a Jesuit priest. Those years involved, for L'Heureux, a lot more thinking about the work of Edward Albee than you might imagine.
Three recent theater shows that I loved (but wasn’t involved in): Hadestown, The Sensuality Party, A View From the Bridge
What theater experience from childhood/adolescence makes me nostalgic:
My parents took me to see the national tour of Les Mis when I was, maybe, five. I have a memory of trying to explain the plot to a neighbor kid so that we could play Valjean and Javert. I'm not sure I'm exactly nostalgic about that. The things I feel most nostalgic about were the evenings in the theater, in my teens and early '20s, before I knew how anything worked, when everything still felt like magic.
Favorite script-reading/artist meeting spot:
For script reading: bed. For artist meeting: any place that coffee is sold/served/tolerated.