ABOUT JAMES FEINBERG
Theater and film classes over Zoom. Not for the faint of heart. Or for the faint of heart, if you want - I'm not your boss.
James Feinberg is a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University. He is a musical theater and film aficionado, and a librettist and lyricist of musical theater including The Oldenburg Suite, which was produced at the New York Musical Festival (where it won Best Concert) and at the Montclair Theater Project. James is also a film and theater critic for the Broadway Journal and other publications.
James's classes are generally designed to be taught twice a week, with one fifty-minute lecture and one fifty-minute discussion. Assignments will generally be limited to watching movies or listening to music (which students must secure for themselves). Classes will be taught at the high school or college level, but students of all ages are welcome.
Each of these four offerings will be taught in two weekly fifty-minute sessions via Zoom, contingent upon registration and interest. Curriculum subject to change. The rough plan is currently that classes will be taught in the afternoons beginning in late September, but timing will be arranged subject to student schedules.
A journey through the evolution of the American musical as tracked in the career of its greatest artist, Stephen Sondheim. We will explore in detail how Sondheim built on the legacy of his forebears, destroyed and reconstituted the book musical, and reconciled the American musical theater tradition with opera to create a legacy which hangs inescapably over the form.
FILM COMEDY IN THE PRE-WAR ERA
We explore the thematic interests and artistic goals of the American studio comedy through films released from 1932-1941, with special focus on the rules of the era’s in-movie comedic universe and the transition from pre-Code (before 1934) to Code-restricted films.
THE BUS THAT COULDN’T SLOW DOWN: DIE HARD AND ITS ANTECEDENTS
Charting the expressionist virtuosity of the Hollywood action films of the late eighties and nineties. The story of how the last gasp of unrestricted studio control of the filmmaking industry coincided with the end of the Cold War and post-Vietnam exceptionalism anxiety.
BROADWAY: A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN MUSICAL
A survey of the development of American musical theater from the 1920s to the present as organized around nine “turning-point” musicals that over the course of the twentieth century reconciled the divide between musical comedy and opera. Students will watched filmed staged productions and listen to cast albums.