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Ken Cerniglia to be Featured On THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS This Friday


What is a “dramaturg"? It's nothing less than one of the most critical, but least understood, positions in the development of plays and musicals.

Ken Cerniglia to be Featured On THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS This Friday

What is a "dramaturg"? It's nothing less than one of the most critical, but least understood, positions in the development of plays and musicals. Host Patrick Pacheco talks with Ken Cerniglia, one of theater's top dramaturgs, about the art and craft of dramaturgy on this episode of "THEATER: All the Moving Parts", premiering June 18 at 9:30PM on CUNY TV and streaming at THEATER: All the Moving Parts starting June 21.

For 16 years at Disney, Cerniglia applied his art to such acclaimed productions, as "Tarzan", "Newsies", "Frozen" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Most recently, he helped guide "Hadestown" to Tony-winning success. As Ken explains, the key to his role is to ask incisive and pertinent questions of the creative team during the development of either a drama or a musical. The fun for Ken is that he is there to consult, encourage, and challenge everybody on the team-the writers, the director, the songwriters, and the designers. Ken helped two theater neophytes, Anaïs Mitchell ("Hadestown") and Phil Collins ("Tarzan"), find their way through the challenges of the musical's format. While Ken is a stand-in for the audience in the development of a show, he is also a quasi-critic, questioning whether or not the production is fulfilling the vision articulated by the creative team. Ken says that the most important question he can ask of the artists on any given project is, "Where is the 'fire'?" What is so compelling about the show that it will entice people to gladly plunk down their hard-earned dollars and spend their precious time within the confines of a theater.

Patrick Pacheco says, "What I found surprising is that by the end of the interview with Ken, I had not only a grasp of what a dramaturg does but also the delicate dance he must do in dispensing his wisdom and experience to artists who may not be ready to hear what he has to say. He's also humble enough to admit when he doesn't have any ready answers in a process that is constantly changing. Not for nothing was he a psychology major in college."

"THEATER: All the Moving Parts" is a monthly CUNY-TV show, featuring in-depth interviews with top theater artists, including playwright Theresa Rebeck, musical director Casey Nicholaw, intimacy director Claire Warden, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and actor Patrick Page. Of Pacheco, Rebeck said, "I felt like I was being interviewed by someone who knows me better than I know myself." Go to THEATER: All the Moving Parts to see these and other episodes.

Patrick Pacheco is an Emmy-winning commentator and journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal,, and many other periodicals. He wrote the 2009 Disney documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty," and is the co-writer, with Maria Cassi, of the play, "My Life with Men...and other animals." He is the writer and editor of the Amazon best seller "American Theatre Wing, An Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles."

Ken Cerniglia is a veteran dramaturg, writer, creative consultant, and organizational leader. His dramaturgy includes the Broadway hits Hadestown and Peter and the Starcatcher. During his 16 years at Disney Theatrical, he 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, Tarzan, and the Marvel Spotlight plays. Ken is currently writing three new musicals and dramaturging another dozen projects. He is immediate past president of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and holds a Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism from the University of Washington.

STREAMING on THEATER: All the Moving Parts starts Monday, June 21.


Independent New York television station CUNY TV has been educating and informing city viewers for more than three decades. CUNY TV airs on these channels:

Spectrum/Optimum 75 | RCN 77 | Verizon FiOS 30 | Digital Antenna 25.3


  • Friday, June 18 - 9:30pm
  • Saturday, June 19 - 8:00am, 4:00pm
  • Sunday, June 20 - 7:00am
  • Monday, June 21 - 7:30am, 1:30pm, 8:00pm

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