Toni Dorfman

Toni Dorfman's picture
Professor (Adjunct) Theater and Performance Studies
220 York St, New Haven, CT 06511-8925

At Yale full-time since 1999, Toni Dorfman has taught acting, directing, and playwriting. She served as DUS of theater for nine years. She’s also taught production seminars in Beckett, Stoppard, Pinter, Orton, Wilder, Chekhov, Molière, and Brecht; and nonproduction seminars on the underworld and the sea. She cofounded the annual Yale Playwrights Festival in 2003 with playwright Laura Jacqmin ’04.

For the Yale Baroque Opera Project since 2009 she’s stage-directed nine major productions in University Theater: all three of Monteverdi’s extant operas (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, 2012; L’incoronazione di Poppea, 2014; and L’Orfeo, 2022), Sacrati’s La finta pazza (2010, American premiere), Rossi’s Orfeo (2019); and four of Cavalli’s operas (Giasone, 2009; Scipione affricano, 2010; La Didone, 2017; and Doriclea, 2023). In spring 2024 she’ll direct Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. All ten of these operas have been presented in collaboration with musical director Grant Herreid as part of their undergraduate course Analyzing, Performing, and Directing Early Opera.

Her BA is in philosophy (Carleton College and the University of Iowa) and her MFA is in theater directing (Columbia University, 1990). In her twenties she cofounded, with Will Valk and Edward Berkeley, The Shade Company, a repertory theater doing plays by Plautus, Goldoni, Cocteau, Brecht, Betti, Ionesco, and Horovitz, among others. The Shade was a charter member of the Off Off Broadway Alliance, now ART/NY. She’s a member of Actors’ Equity, SAG-AFTRA, SDC, and the Dramatists Guild.

Before Yale she taught at Spence, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Ohio University, where she led the School of Theater in 1993-1998. She’s served on the national board of the University/Resident Theater Association and the editorial board of Shakespeare Bulletin.

Her first play, Rounding Cassiopeia, was optioned by the Bridewell in London and produced at Yale in 2003. Her second, Family Wolf, was presented at the Soho Theatre and Writers Centre in London in 2001. Other plays: The King of the Cimbri, a finalist in the 2014 national Gun/Play(s) Competition; One of the Damned Few, co-written with Beckett actor Bud Thorpe, premiering in 2009 in the Yale World Performance Project; and Third Wave Fems, premiering in New York in 2011.

In July 2019, at the invitation of Stathis Livathinos, then artistic director of the National Theater of Greece, she and Ellen McLaughlin ‘80 led a workshop for 27 professional actors, performing Aeschylus in the ancient theater on the Delphi archaeological site at Mount Parnassus.