Associate Professor of Theater Arts (2008)
- B.A., Drew University
- M.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University
Office: Arena Theater, HUB
Areas of Research and/or Expertise:
Playwriting; Stage Directing; Theatre Design; Public Speaking; Arts Management; Theatre and Community
Christopher Shorr directs the Theatre Program on campus and is the Artistic Director of the Moravian University Theatre Company. In the English Department, he teaches Public Speaking, Art of Theatre and Playwriting.
He moved to Bethlehem from Petersburg, Virginia, where he was the founding artistic director of Sycamore Rouge—a professional, non-equity theatre and arts center. While in Virginia, he served as a panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and on the boards of the Southside Virginia Council for the Arts and the Petersburg Arts Council. In Pennsylvania, in addition to his work at Moravian University, he is an Ensemble Associate with Touchstone Theatre.
Primarily a stage director, designer and playwright, Shorr has also worked as an actor and composer for theatre. His work has been seen in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and internationally in Romania, Hungary, Italy and the Czech Republic. Through his work, he strives to prevent audiences, students, collaborators, and himself from succumbing to complacency. He is particularly interested in creating new theatre pieces and in aggressively re-working classic texts. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an MFA in Stage Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.
As a director, Pennsylvania productions include the world premieres of The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale and The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust (Touchstone Theatre), the world premiere of the jazz opera The Real Book of Gig (Moravian University), East Coast professional premiere of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the world premieres of The Whitman Piece and A Resting Place (Touchstone/Moravian co-productions), as well as Oedipus, Transdition, Betty’s Summer Vacation, The Clean House, Proof, Jesus Christ Superstar and the world premieres of Exhibit A, Superstory, and his own Faust in France (Moravian University).
As a playwright, his documentary play Tribute: September 11 (commissioned in 2002 by the AmeriCulture Arts Festival to mark the first anniversary of 9/11) was revived for the tenth anniversary and performed at Moravian University and at the University of Baltimore. Rina, his two-person, one-act re-working of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters was produced at New York’s “Chekhov Now Festival.” His play Clytemnestra’s Daughters, a reimagining of the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, was workshopped at the Southampton Writers Conference, prior to a reading at Touchstone Theatre. Faust in France, his World War One adaptation of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, was produced in 2012 at Moravian, and then workshopped in residence at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on Cape Cod.
In addition to his work as a solo writer, he has co-authored multiple plays. With James Jordan (Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre), he co-wrote the musicals The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale, and The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust (both produced at Touchstone Theatre and named “best original play of the year” by the Bethlehem Press) and a musical adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey called Ulysses Dreams. Together, they conceived, wrote and designed Dear Tamaqua—In a New Light, which used language, music and light to turn a mile of city streets in the Pennsylvania coal-region borough of Tamaqua into a transformative community experience. Most recently, they co-wrote Bhudoo with the Touchstone Theatre ensemble, which completed a European tour in Summer, 2016.
Working with Touchstone founder Bill George, he co-wrote Journey from the East— combining the mythic Chinese Journey to the West with the mythic American Western—premiering in Spring 2015 with a large-scale outdoor production in Bethlehem, PA. His play Exhibit A, written with Moravian student Sam Weinberg, performed at Moravian University in Fall 2015 and explored issues of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
"Theatre brings together the resources of many parties to create a single work that, in turn, brings a community together in a collective experience. In a college environment, this sort of collaboration can involve students and/or faculty coming together from different departments, and can be incredibly rewarding—adding texture, depth and new perspectives to their academic work. I want theatre at Moravian to build bridges. It should bridge the gap between different segments of our campus community, and between the college and the wider community of Bethlehem. It should also test boundaries. It should raise questions, stimulate discussion, and challenge preconceptions. Through it all, theatre at a liberal arts college needs to focus on the growth and development of the student participant. Our work should take our audiences and our artists on a journey that enriches them.”