The Lighter Side with Edward Coffield, artistic director of the New Jewish Theater.

Edward Coffield is the artistic director of New Jewish Theater, First small professional theater in St. Louis. It is dedicated to exploring universal themes and problems and examining the full range of human experience filtered through the prism of the Jewish experience.

What first fueled your interest in theater?

I had parents who took their children to the symphony, operas, museums and the theater. The very first show I saw was “Hello Dolly” and it literally changed my life forever. I never spent time wanting to be an actor. I seemed to understand that my talent and interests lay elsewhere.

What makes you most excited about opening a new NJT season?

It will be wonderful for the theater to come back with an incredible season full of heart and lightness. I am very excited that NJT is producing its world premiere, “The Bee Play” by Elizabeth Savage, an emerging Jewish playwright with a formative voice.

Is there something you dread?

People who have no sense of humor!

Do you have a favorite musical and / or piece and if so, why?

I have favorites, it’s always difficult to choose one because it changes depending on the circumstances of my life. Among the musicals, “Gypsy” which I consider the King Lear of musicals. In terms of pieces that fascinate me now, it’s “The Lehman Trilogy”.

If there’s a musical or play that you would really like NJT to put on in the future?

So many choices. I would love to produce “Fiddler on the Roof” for a variety of reasons – it’s a great musical and remains an important story about the immigrant experience. In terms of the pieces I would like to produce, it’s “Indecent” by Paula Vogel.

When you are not at the theater, what other hobbies / hobbies do you enjoy?

I am a foodie and a serious reader (more non-fiction than fiction).

Next stop at NJT is “Cabaret at the J” with Eric Williams and Sharon Hunter from December 18th to 19th. NJT season 2022 kicks off with “Laughter on the 23” by Neil Simone Floor ”on January 20. For tickets and more information go to

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