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


Edward Coffield

Ellen Futterman, Editor-In-Chief

Edward Coffield is the artistic director of the New Jewish Theatre, St. Louis’ premier small professional theater that is dedicated to the exploration of universal themes and issues and the examination of the full range of the human experience filtered through the lens of the Jewish experience.

What first fueled your interest in theater?

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

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

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

Is there anything you dread?

People with no sense of humor!

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

I have favorites, it is always hard to choose one because it changes depending on the circumstances of my life. Among musicals, “Gypsy” I consider to be the King Lear of musicals. In terms of plays I am currently smitten with is “The Lehman Trilogy.”

If there a musical or play you would really like NJT to stage in the future?

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

When you’re not at the theater, what other past times/hobbies do you enjoy?

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

Next up at NJT is “Cabaret at the J” with Eric Williams and Sharon Hunter Dec. 18-19. The 2022 NJT season kicks off with Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” on Jan. 20. For tickets and more information go to