Date of Graduation


Document Type



In May 1979 the Rev. A1 Carmines received the Obie for distinguished accomplishment in the New York Theater. Rev. Carmines has been the principal force behind the Judson Poets' Theater, one of the most influential Off Off Broadway theaters. This study explores the development of Mr. Carmines's theater from 1960 to 1979. It also studies the development of Mr. Carmines as composer, lyricist and playwright. An introductory chapter gives background information about the Judson Baptist Church under whose sponsorship this unique theater began. It explores the historical relationship of the Church and theater and the way Judson resolved some of the tensions of this relationship. It also analyzes the situation at the outset of the Off Off Broadway movement and the role of Judson, the Cafe Cino and the La Mama theater in this initial period. Chapter One is a biographical chapter examining the influences which led Mr. Carmines to a dual career in the Church and in the theater. It studies his family history, his education and his early experiences in New York City up to the time he began his work at Judson in 1960. Chapter Two deals with the Judson Dance Theater, an innovative program in modern dance, which was one of the first programs in the Arts sponsored by Judson Church. This theater deeply influenced the Rev. Carmines in his approach to drama and stimulated him as an artist. Eight plays of Gertrude Stein have been produced at Judson, most of them set to music by Mr. Carmines. Several of these have been notably successful, bringing to Mr. Carmines and other Judson performers Obies and other theater awards. Chapter Three analyzes the influence of the work of Gertrude Stein upon Rev. Carmines and the Judson Theater. Chapter Four analyzes in detail selected plays produced at Judson in the 1960s by Mr. Carmines. These plays earned Judson the reputation of a serious avant garde theater with high standards of performance. They also stimulated Carmines's own artistry. Plays of Marie Irene Fornes, Joel Oppenheimer, Rosalyn Drexler, Sam Shepard, Rochelle Owens and Ronald Tavel are studied. Chapter Five reviews the later period of Judson, through 1979, in which Judson chiefly produced works by Carmines himself. A "celebratory" period and a "dark" period are noted. Plays are studied chronologically with special attention given to Snow White, one of Carmines1s most popular plays. Chapter Six describes a late development of Carmines's artistry, his work in poetry. Eight poems are presented and analyzed, and comparison is made between the poetry and the author's theater work. A brief concluding chapter sums up and completes the study, noting that Judson continues to be a vibrant force in the New York theater