Every day is opening night.

Johanna Pfaelzer


Some of the theater’s greatest visionaries are those who work behind the scenes. Let’s take Johanna Pfaelzer, the Artistic Director of New York Stage & Film, one of the country’s foremost institutions for artistic creation. Every summer, Johanna and Executive Director, Thomas Pearson, head to Vassar College to present Powerhouse Theater, a presentation of plays and musicals, many of which have been seen by New York audiences. From Broadway’s sensation Hamilton to The Fortress of Solitude to the upcoming Steve Martin-Edie Brickell musical Bright Star, Johanna has played a major part in developing seminal works that speak to our culture. This week, we are thrilled to have a bonafide visionary, Johanna Pfaelzer, On the Couch.  


What do you consider to be your best asset? 
My wild enthusiasm for things and people that I love.

What was your proudest moment? 

Raising my kid and my company simultaneously.


What is your favorite drink?

English breakfast tea with milk and sugar>


What is your favorite food? 

Post-show french fries at the Beech Tree.

What is your favorite condiment?

Does Parmesan cheese count?

What is your current obsession? 

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter feed, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s gorgeous new album, and my son’s soccer team.

If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?

I gave up all the truly interesting ones ages ago, so now what am I left with? Sloth?

What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most? 

A special Tony Award for New York Stage and Film for the impact it has on the American theater!

What is the one thing you waste too much money on?


What is the one activity you waste too much time doing? 

Solitaire on the iPhone.

What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health? 

New York City!

What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?  

Passion for my work.  Appreciating the present moment.

What is the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?

Revisionist history.

What in the world most thrills you? 

Finding myself moved to tears (or laughing out loud) in a dark theater surrounded by strangers who now are like kin.

What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?

Glottal fry.

What was the single most embarrassing moment you've ever experienced on the job? 

As if I would tell you! You think I’m nuts?

What is your favorite place in the world? 

The beach at Big Lagoon in northern California.

What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner? 

Kindness.  Humor.  Intelligence.  Talent.  Compassion.

Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats? 

Dogs, no question.  Cats crap in your house, and even then aren’t reliably nice to you. 

What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life? 

To remember that it already is.