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Harley Erdman
Graduate Program Director
Professor, Dramaturgy
BA, Swarthmore College, M.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., Theater History and Dramatic Criticism, University of Texas at Austin.




Harley Erdman is a dramaturg, playwright, and scholar whose work focuses on adaptation and translation. His commissioned work as a translator of contemporary Latin American theater includes plays from Mexico, Nicaragua, and Chile. His Women Playwrights of Early Modern Spain (ITER, 2016) features his translations of ten plays, for the first time ever in English. His translations of Tirso de Molina’s Jealous of Herself and Marta the Divine were published in 2012 in companion volumes by Aris & Phillips. With Susan Paun de García, he co-edited the anthology of essays, Remaking the Comedia (Tamesis, 2015). He is a winner of the Association for Hispanic Classic Theater's Translation Prize. 

Erdman has also published numerous articles on the history of Jewish representation on the American stage, as well as the book Staging the Jew (Rutgers, 1997).  His article on the Yiddish play God of Vengeance won the Kahan Prize for Outstanding Essay (2000) from the American Society for Theater Research.

His dramatic writing projects focus on rebels and outsiders in local history. These include the opera librettos The Captivation of Eunice Williams (2004, with composer Paul Kimper) and The Garden of Martyrs (2013, with composer Eric Sawyer), as well as the screwball comedy Nobody’s Girl, which debuted at the Northampton Academy of Music in 2014. With Sawyer, he is currently working on an operatic adaptation of Barry Werth’s The Scarlet Professor. With colleague Gina Kaufmann and composer Aaron Jones, he is adapting Tirso de Molina’s original Don Juan play, The Trickster of Seville, into the new musical Donny Johns, set on a contemporary college campus.  

Other interests include puppetry, devised theater, and the ways ghosting, memory, space, and place interact in live performance.

Erdman has taught in El Salvador and Sri Lanka – in the latter country, as part of a 2016 Fulbright Fellowship. He also has received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the UMass College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Erdman has served as Editor of the journal Theatre Topics. He chaired the UMass Department of Theater, 2002-2007.


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