For Joe Shosh, associate professor of education, the play's the thing to capture student imagination and hone writing skills.

"Broadway and Beyond: New York City Plays, Players, and Playwrights" (Writing 100), takes students to the nation's theater capital to experience a range of productions on and off Broadway. Many of the performances deal with issues related to personal and cultural identity. Students develop critical writing and analytical skills by maintaining a journal and blog, and by writing a critique, research report, and essay.

Authentic Learning: Writing and Beyond

Part of the Interdisciplinary Program, "the course is the outgrowth of my research into written composition and authentic learning," noted Joe, "as well as my interest in theater, which began when I was an undergraduate English and theater arts major at Moravian." Martha Reid, professor of English, and Kay Somers, professor of mathematics, also participate in the class.

Students already have attended performances of the musicals In the Heights and [Title of Show] on Broadway, and participated in a drama-in-education role-play at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Most recently, the group attended Maafa Suite: a Healing Journey in Brooklyn, a moving psychodrama about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

"Very powerful," said freshman Anne Joseph, after turning in her critique at a recent class. "Seeing Maafa gave all of us a better appreciation and understanding of our ancestors. "

" ... intense," added several others, almost in unison, prompting their professor to explain the Greek concept of catharsis.

"Broadway and Beyond" students (left to right): Alison Gushman, Anne Joseph, Colleen Osborne, and Paul Staley.

"Broadway and Beyond's" beyond gives students plenty of extra-theatrical grist for writing blogs. "The Lower East Side Tenement museum opened my eyes to the struggle that early immigrants faced," writes Naiomi in her September 29 blog. "To be sure, I had heard about the horrible conditions, the extreme poverty, and the numerous diseases the immigrants faced but those facts did not hit me until I was standing in a small, cramped room listening to the actress portray life in the early 1900s." (Read more blogs at MoravianBroadwayNYC.blogspot.com.)

The next outing is planned for Saturday, October 11, when the class will see performances of both A Man for All Seasons and Equus.