THE SHORT HAPPY LIFE OF FRANCIS MACOMBER, ADAPTED FROM THE SHORT STORY BY Barbara Bregstein Artistic Director, Educational Theater of New York


POLINA BELINOVA, ESL teacher, College of Staten Island

Hi Barbara,
I want to thank you again for a wonderful experience my students and I had on Thursday watching the ‘the Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” play and interacting with the actors.

Looking forward to bringing more of my students to the performances.

Warm regards,  Polina

It was a great show. The students enjoyed the experience of attending an “off Broadway” play.

‘The Short Happy Life of was great.”  We can’t wait for the next one.  I think we’ve seen them all!
Angel Millan,
ESL teacher

Brooklyn College, ESL TEACHER

Bravo.  That was the best production yet.  My students loved it.  Have you considered doing Lady and the Tiger?  Stacy

ESL teacher, Borough Manhattan Community College
Hi Barbara,

I wanted to thank you again for another wonderful evening of learning for my students!

My students loved it, and we’re discussing ideas from ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ in class.

As always, it was a pleasure to talk to you about what you do for the ESOL teachers and students in NYC. 

By the way, I just ordered your beginner Spanish book on Amazon. Perhaps my next email will open with “Hola!”

Until next time,

Public School 333X, The Museum School

Thanks for the opportunity to attend “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”  My students loved it. It was a first experience for most of them.
Thanks again. 
Dr. Natanael Valenzuela THE GIOCONDA SMILE
Lorna Blancaflor

Lorna Blancaflor | Program Director
New Americans Initiative | YMCA of Greater New York

138-46 Northern Blvd., Flushing, NY 11354

PH: 718-551-9351 | l

Good morning Barbara,

First of all, THANK YOU for giving our students the opportunity to watch the  “ Gioconda Smile” show.

And The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”.  I heard good reviews from our teacher and students.

It surely is a privilege  for our students to be able to see and partake  in the show. This gives them more confidence in their learning process.

I have attached the letter that the students sent through their teacher.

 Again, our heartfelt thanks for this wonderful opportunity.
Pat Duffy, UN. International Language Program
Beautiful, as always.
NTINA STEMOS, Hewlett-Woodmere High School

Thank you again.  It was a wonderful experience for my students.  They can’t stop talking about it.”

ESL teacher



“"I am writing to thank you on behalf of my students and myself for the performance of The Picture of Dorian Gray we saw on Thursday evening.  My students couldn't stop thanking me on the way home. They really enjoyed the play and it gave me several lessons for conversations on why the play appeals to theater-goers today, although it was written in 1900, and to have them write their written reactions. ”


Sharon B. Montoya, Instructor

LIU Intensive Program

The Honorable Rosie Méndez

Member, The New York City Council

250 Broadway Room 1734

New York, NY 10007


Mr. Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

31 Chambers Street
New York, New York 10007

Dear Council Member Méndez and Commissioner Finkelpearl,

This is a letter of thanks and appreciation for the part each of you has played in making possible a truly excellent and worthwhile resource in New York City— The Educational Theater of New York.

On Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 I accompanied a group of 30 adult learners enrolled in English as a second language courses at Westchester Community College to an ETNY production of a play entitled The Giaconda Smile at the Clarion Theater on E. 26th St.   It was brilliant!  Over the years I had heard great reports about ETNY from faculty and students after numerous field trips, but this was my first personal experience and I must say that even though my expectations were high, I was extremely impressed.  I was also proud that here in New York we are able to offer English Language learners such an amazingly impactful, entertaining and rich cultural experience.  Where else but in New York!  I’ve been active as a teacher and administrator in the field of TESOL, or teaching English to speakers of other languages, for several decades and ETNY is one of the best resources I’ve ever seen for language learners.

The effort and resources you are devoting to support The Educational Theater of New York are, I believe, well directed and contribute in a small but significant way to making New York the great city that it is!  Thank you, again!
David Bernstein 
Assistant Dean of ESL 
Westchester Community College 
English Language Institute

Gateway Center, Rm. 243 
75 Grasslands Road 
Valhalla NY 10595 USA 

Dear Barbara,

I just wanted to thank you once more for all your help getting tickets for my class. My students loved the play and raved about the performance. For a lot of them this is the first time in another country and the first time ever to see a play in English. They were in awe of the stage, lights, sounds and amazing performances by all the actors. The presenters also made a huge impact on them as they were so patient and kind. Having the opportunity to ask questions to the characters at the end has inspired even the shyest students.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to direct such high quality theater. It has truly made an impact and a big difference in the way my students learn English and it has helped them enhance the knowledge they have acquired in my class.
Best regards,

Karina Greene
IEP-ESL Instructor

Thank you again for a thrilling evening at the theatre on Tuesday. My students enjoyed the evening thoroughly. Your approach to making theatre finds, in my opinion, the perfect balance between helping ELL audiences achieve comprehension and allowing them to simply enjoy some high quality storytelling. Such a treat! I am sure we'll be back.

Thanks again, Barbara, and kudos on a wonderful performance.

All the best

Amy Evans,

Fordham Institute of Languages and Culture


“ I loved the plays, ‘Miriam’ and ‘The Monkey’s Paw.’ They were perfect choices for your theater   (and the new theater itself is beautiful)  It was clear that the whole audience was  actively engaged in the performances and having so much fun.”   

Pat Duffy, U.N. Language Programme

“Your plays were so lovely last fall; our students thoroughly enjoyed the performances.  Tara Thompson, Borough Manhattan Community College

“My students loved ‘Miriam” and “The Monkey’s Paw’ last fall.”   

Elize D’Amore, Clip,Queenborough Community College

My students loved it! It was a great evening, and we worked on all the materials from your site afterwards - it made excellent lessons.

Susan Neri-Friedland, Pace University


The Lives We Impact

Students' Letters after attending Miriam and The Monkey's Paw April 2017

PS/IS  226

First of all, THANK YOU for giving our students the opportunity to watch the  “ Gioconda Smile” show. I heard good reviews from our teacher and students.
It surely is a privilege  for our students to be able to see and partake  in the show. This gives them more confidence in their learning process.
Again, our heartfelt thanks for this wonderful opportunity.

Lorna Blancaflor,

Students asking questions to the characters in The Monkey's Paw and Miriam in November 2016.