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Theatre Development Fund (TDF)’s Theatre Dictionary – a video guide to “theatre lingo” celebrates its one-year anniversary with release of new video starring RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon

Date: Oct 03, 2013
Press Release


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Theatre Development Fund’s (TDF) fun and informative online theatre dictionary, at, is celebrating the year anniversary of its launch.  During this first year the number of theatre terms more than doubled – from 20 to 43, all featuring unique videos as well as written definitions. To mark the occasion, TDF is premiering a new video defining the term “Commedia dell’arte” starring RuPaul’s Drag Race 5th Season winner JINKX MONSOON and MAJOR SCALES, her co-star in the hit NYC Stage production The Vaudevillians (currently at the Laurie Beechman Theatre through November 11).


 “The Theatre Dictionary’s first year has exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Blankenship, TDF’s Online Content Editor. “When a superstar drag queen is making 'commedia' jokes and a group of off-Off Broadway actors is interviewing dogs about performance art, then you know something exciting is going on. As more theatres contribute videos to the Theatre Dictionary, we’ve been delighted by their wit and creativity. The Theatre Dictionary is both an engaging reference tool and a platform for the work of theatre artists. It's supposed to entertain you, even while it teaches you something, and our contributors have realized that vision even better than we hoped.”



The TDF Theatre Dictionary at, is a video guide to common and not-so common theatre lingo. It defines theatre terms with short, original films that have been made by TDF or commissioned from performing arts institutions across North America. Two new ‘theatre terms’ are added each month. The videos that describe these terms are paired with in-depth essays on the term being defined, letting the TDF Theatre Dictionary act as a reference tool as well as a video art project. A blog feature also lets users respond with comments, questions, or their own definitions.


The Theatre Dictionary empowers audiences by bringing them closer to the theatre’s language, helping them to become ‘theatre insiders’. It empowers theatre artists by inviting them to make art. It sparks essential conversation by encouraging everyone to celebrate the theatre’s place in our culture.


Below is a partial list of the current theatre terms defined in TDF’s Theatre Dictionary and the theatre companies and/or shows that produced them. Click on the word to watch it on the site.


CATTLE CALL – Stella Adler Studio of Acting; New York, NY

CATWALK – Geva Theatre Center; Rochester, NY

CHILD WRANGLER – Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Toronto, CA

COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE – Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales of The Vaudevillians

DEVELOPMENT HELL – Lark Play Development Center; New York, NY


DOUBLE TAKE – cast members from The Nance and Old Jews Telling Jokes

DRY TECH – New Jersey Repertory Company; Long Branch, NJ

ELEVEN O’CLOCK NUMBER – cast members from Off Broadway’s Avenue Q

FIGHT DIRETOR – Signature Theatre; New York, NY

GYPSY ROBE – Actors’ Equity Association; New York, NY

HYBRID THEATRE – HERE Arts Center; New York, NY

KICK YOUR FACE  – cast of Chicago on Broadway

OFF-OFF BROADWAY – HERE Arts Center; New York, NY

PERFORMANCE ART – New York Neo-Futurists; New York, NY

RAINBOW CASTING – Ma-Yi Theater Company; New York, NY

SHOWMANCE – Actors Express; Atlanta, GA

STUMBLE-THROUGH – New Jersey Repertory Company; Long Branch, NJ

THEATRE GYPSY – Actors’ Equity Association; New York, NY

THRUST STAGE – Guthrie Theatre Company; Minneapolis, MN

VOMS – Yale School of Drama; New Haven, CT



THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 85 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.2 billion to thousands of productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including its newly formed Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities. Recent TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program, a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community and a 2013 Lucille Lortel honor for “Outstanding Body of Work” in support of the Off Broadway community. For more information, go to:


TDF thanks for supporting the Theatre Dictionary.