J.T. Rogers at the Drama Book Shop

Post by Anna Troiano.


In a packed room below the historic Drama Book Shop space, fresh off his Tony Award win for Best Play, playwright J.T. Rogers sat across from his friend and award-winning director Bartlett Sher to discuss the play in question, the acclaimed political drama Oslo, recently published by TCG.


J.T. Rogers and Bartlett Sher. Photo by Sarah Flamm.


If the room was full, so too was the conversation, beginning with a discussion of how the initial seeds of Oslo began by meeting with folks involved in the Oslo Accords and gathering testimony and information through a series of connections, or a veritable “playwriting Tinder” as the two artists affably referred to it.


“What J.T. does amazingly was take all the information and accounts and begin to build a process for how to shape that into a dramatic event,” Sher said.


Rogers and Sher. Photo by Anna Troiano.


One of the most stunning aspects of Oslo, as folks who’ve seen the multiple award-winning show might attest, is the sheer scale of it. The original draft of the play clocked in at over four hours, with a cast of 14, containing dozens of scenes, all-around becoming a massive undertaking, throughout which J.T. emphasized he was very conscious not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of the project.


“In the process, no matter how stressed we got – and we got very stressed – even in the midst of that fear, and overwhelmed-ness and being exhausted, no decisions are made that come out of fear," Rogers said, giving advice on the process of keeping control in writing. "The more constrained you make yourself before you begin, the more liberated you are, and the better the work will be. The form will set you free.”


Rogers and Sher. Photo by Anna Troiano.


After the discussion wrapped, there were a few questions from the audience, and then the entire group headed up the steps for the book signing with both J.T. and Bartlett.


Though Oslo closes its Broadway run on July 16, the entire production will move to the National Theatre in London this fall, followed by a run on the West End. So though the run is ending here in New York, the story – and the work – continues.


Check out TCG's video of the event below!






Anna Troiano is the Marketing Associate for Theatre Communications Group. Since graduating from the University of Michigan, prior to joining the staff at TCG, she has spent her professional life working for nonprofit theatre companies such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Signature Theatre Company (New York, NY), as well as the publishing house Wimbledon Publishing Company (London, UK). She spends her personal life taking long walks with her dog and freelance editing.