Joanne B. Koch, Ph.D.

Title:

Director, Master of Science in Written Communication Program
Professor of English
College of Arts & Sciences

Programs/Classes Taught:

Joanne Koch, Ph.D. Director, M.S. in Written Communication Program
Professor of English
College of Arts & Sciences

Program and Classes Taught

JOANNE KOCH is director of the Master of Science in Written Communication Program at National Louis University, a unique graduate writing program offering a wide variety of courses training students to professionalize their skills for advancing in the corporate and not for profit sector, for careers in the teaching of writing at the college level, journalism and nonfiction writing, public relations, fiction, screenwriting, playwriting, writing children’s books—anywhere that written communication is crucial. Teaching internships at community colleges and publication internships at print and online media give students hands-on experience in their chosen field. The M.S.W.C. Program includes the annual Pulitzer Prize Series, Writers’ Week Workshops led by world-renowned writers, and the annual publication of the graduate writers’ literary magazine, MOSAIC. Dr. Koch oversees the entire program and also teaches a number of classes relating to short nonfiction, oral history, women’s literature, memoir, literature for children, playwriting and screenwriting. Dr. Koch has been teaching at National Louis University since 1997.

Areas of Expertise:

Nonfiction Writing, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Memoir, Women's Literature, Minority Voices in American Literature, Oral History, Literature for Children & Adolescents

Biography:

Biography

Joanne Koch is the author or co-author of ten nonfiction books, including "Good Parents for Hard Times," screenwriter of numerous screenplays and an Emmy winning television series, and the creator or co-author of seventeen plays and musicals produced around the country.

Previous nonfiction works include the child development college textbook "Children: development through adolescence" and "Marriage and the Family." She wrote the six books for parents and children in the widely used Families InTouch Series , co-authored the book "Good Parents for Hard Times" and, with her husband Lewis Z. Koch, "The Marriage Savers" as well as a syndicated newspaper column on family issues for United Features that went out to 200 newspapers around the country. Joanne was featured on the cover of Today’s Chicago Woman as one of 100 women in Chicago making a difference through her writing and teaching.

Plays include "Soul Sisters," a multicultural musical written with Sarah Cohen, with original songs by Mark Elliott and other traditional African American and Jewish music, premiered at the Theatre Group of the Berkshires, has toured to twenty-seven universities including Boston U., Syracuse, Marquette, Hamilton College, Clark University, Franklin & Marhsall, SUNY Albany, Bradley University, Philadelphia Community College, National-Louis University in Evanston, Indiana University, University of Missouri, the Young Leaders United of Chicago sponsored by the Urban League and the Anti-Defamation League, at Joanne’s alma mater, Cornell University, and in 2012 at the Clockwise Theatre.

Dr. Koch is co-editor of the anthology "Shared Stages: Ten American Dramas of Blacks and Jews," which includes the plays "Driving Miss Daisy," "Fires in the Mirror," "I’m Not Rappaport," "Medal of Honor Rag," and her own multicultural musical "Soul Sisters." "Shared Stages" is published by State University of New York Press and also distributed at amazon.com.

"American Klezmer," an original musical with collaborators Sarah Cohen, Ilya Levinson and Owen Kalt, was produced at the Egyptian Arena Theatre in Los Angeles to great acclaim and will be presented in 2013 to be presented in Evanston, Illinois.

"Stardust," published by Dramatic Publishing Company and winner of the National Nantucket Short Play Competition, produced in NYC at the Times Square Theater and in Ft. Lauderdale at the Pine Crest Secondary School and now at schools and theaters nationwide.

"Sophie, Totie & Belle," based on a fictional meeting of the late entertainers Sophie Tucker, Totie Fields and Belle Barth, co-authored with Sarah Blacher Cohen, with original music by Mark Elliott and songs associated with these entertainers, opened in New York City at the off-Broadway Theater Four on March 15, 2000 after sold-out runs in Queens, NY Theatre in the Park, Boca Raton, Florida, Miami, Philadelphia, New Hope, Albany, and the Forum Theater in New Jersey, the Drama Center in Deerfield Beach, the Wilton Theater in Ft. Lauderdale, Theatre Works in Sarasota.

"Belle Barth: If I embarrass you, tell your friends," a musical Koch developed with composer Ilya Levinson and lyricist Owen Kalt focuses on comedienne Belle Barth, dubbed the “female Lenny Bruce,” and makes chopped liver of the double standard and censorship of the fifties era. Belle premiered November 9, 2008 at Theo Ubique Theater at the No Exit Cabaret in Chicago, where it ran through December 21, 2008, recommended for a Jeff Award and on Chris Jones’ recommended list in the Chicago Tribune. Belle was featured in the August Stages ’08 Festival at Theatre Building Chicago. Lainie Kazan starred in a concert reading of the original musical in 2012 at the Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles. Joanne is currently completing a screenplay, "Belle," on the life of this remarkable comic.

"Danny Kaye: Supreme Court Jester," a musical about the man who starred as Walter Mitty and Hans Christian Anderson, co-authored with Sarah Cohen, has many original songs by Mark Elliott as well as others associated with Kaye. “Danny” premiered in Albany, toured the East Coast and the Midwest and was produced in Boca Raton, Florida at the Atlantis Playhouse.

Joanne Koch wrote "A Silver Dish," based on Saul Bellow’s short story and adapted with the Nobel Laureate’s permission, produced with Sarah Blacher Cohen’s adaptation of Bellow’s "The Old System," as part of Saul Bellow’s Stories on Stage at the New York State Writers Institute in Albany and in San Diego at the Barbra Streisand Festival of New Plays starring Harold Gould. Presentations as a 2005 memorial to Bellow were done at the Egg Performing Center in Albany, New York, the Spertus Institute in Chicago and the Milwaukee Public Library. The Bellow adaptations were published in 2010 by Purdue University Press in a special edition of Studies in American Jewish Literature.

"Courage like a wild horse," presented at the Victory Gardens Reader’s Theater, the American Indian Center and at the Chicago Writers’ Bloc New Play Festival, is an adaptation of the book, the true story of Okee Chee, a Native American girl whose year in an orphanage brought her to the brink of suicide but ultimately led to a discovery of her identity and her talent as an artist. It will be performed next as a benefit for the Mitchell Native American Museum.

"Safe Harbor," based on one family’s survival due to heroic Greek activities in World War II, featuring Greek and Ladino music selected by world-renowned tenor Alberto Mizrahi, had its premiere at the Organic Theater in Chicago, was produced in Los Angeles and in Chicago at the Chicago Historical Society in a special performance sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Diocese and the American Jewish Committee for Ohi Day--Greek Resistance Day--and at National Louis University in Evanston through a Cultural Fund Grant from the Evanston Arts Council. Safe Harbor has been translated into Greek and will be produced in Athens and Thessaloniki in 2013. The screenplay has been completed for a feature film to be shot in Greece.

"Nesting Dolls" was broadcast on local PBS stations after winning the Southern Illinois University Best Play Award and produced to rave reviews in Michigan and toured to Northwestern University, with portions excerpted in the Southern Illinois University anthology The Good Parts. Teeth, an irreverent comedy about sex and power, was produced in Chicago at the Theatre Building and in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the API Theatre, and received an Illinois Arts Council grant and development support from the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc.

Other plays by Joanne Koch include "A Leading Woman," set during the Actors’ Equity Strike of 1919, which received staged readings through grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc., "Haymarket:footnote to a bombing," which won the Chicago Cultural Center Patrons' Award and the Eighth International Playwrighting Contest sponsored by the Piscator Foundation and Southern Illinois University where it was produced, the musical with composer James Lucas, "Hearts in the Wood," winner of an Illinois Arts Council Playwriting Fellowship and presented in Chicago at the Stages Festival, at Northeastern Illinois University and at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan, and "Sandburg Among the Goats," which toured to Midwestern schools and colleges.

Education:

Education

B.A. Cornell University, Phi Beta Kappa
M.A. Columbia University on Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
Ph.D. Southern Illinois University


Research and Interests:

Joanne Koch is interested in helping others develop new plays and musicals, through directing the playwright development group Chicago Writers' Bloc, www.writersblocfest.org and coordinating its Festivals of New Plays, funded in part by the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc. The Chicago Writers' Bloc, under Dr. Koch's direction, has brought hundreds of new plays to Chicago audiences. Several of these new plays, first presented by Chicago Writers' Bloc, have gone on to productions across the country, including off-Broadway. Dr. Koch is working on several new musicals of her own. Recently, Dr. Koch collaborated with children's book author Jan Spivey Gilchrist on her first children's picture book. Koch and Gilchrist hope to do a series of books together for children and young adults.

Contact Information:

Contact Information:

Contact Joanne Koch at jkoch@nl.edu , 312-261-3103, or at NLU’s North Shore Campus: 5202 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077.

Web site: www.joannekochplaywright.com

 

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »
  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
    Info » | Directions »