The reciprocal relationship between theater and its cultural context drives my research. My primary research methodology/approach involves using social and cultural conditions as means to examine shifts in theater production, literature, and reception. In my work concerning the predominantly commercially-driven Broadway theater, I draw on iconographic and textual analysis; archival investigations into journals, letters, and critical responses; and interviews with practitioners. I place performance and production in conversation with popular concerns and tastes as indicated by mainstream media coverage and economic, political, and even medical policies.
Beyond Angels: Broadway Theatre Confronts the AIDS Epidemic
The objectives of this project are three-fold: first and foremost, to make clear the severe impact of the AIDS epidemic upon Broadway theatre production as well as content; second, to bring attention to comparatively obscure Broadway productions that addressed aspects of AIDS in ways that prepared the way for – and suffered from – the commercial success of landmark plays and musicals such as Angels in America and Rent; and third, to read these productions and a new genre of Broadway performance through a lens informed by the contemporary cultural context encompassing the epidemic.
Essays in Edited Book Collections
“Cultural Memory and the Legacy of Theatrical Benefits: Early Interventions in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” HIV, Culture and Memory. Edited by Jean-Philippe Imbert and Robert Lawlor. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. (in press).
“Tony Kushner” and “Terrence McNally” in 50 Key Figures in Queer US Theatre. Edited by Jimmy A. Noriega and Jordan Schildcrout. New York: Routledge, 2022 (in press).
“Performing Interventions: The Politics and Theater of China’s AIDS Crisis.” Viral Dramaturgies: HIV and AIDS in the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Alyson Campbell and Dirk Gindt. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. 195–214.
“Hyping Clyde Beatty and His Wild Animal Show.” Showing Off, Showing Up: Studies of Hype, Heightened Performance, and Cultural Power. Edited by Laurie Frederik, Kim Marra, and Catherine Schuler. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017. 107-128.
“Choreographing a Cause: Broadway Bares as Philanthroproduction and Embodied Index to Changing Attitudes Toward HIV/AIDS.” The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater. Edited by Nadine George-Graves. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 2015. 922–942.
“Sets, Costumes, Lights, & Spectacle.” Media and Performance in the Musical: An Oxford Handbook of the American Musical, Volume 2. Edited by Raymond Knapp, Mitchell Morris, and Stacy Wolf. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 2018. 197-220. Earlier version printed in The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical, 2011. 294–308.
“How Broadway Has Cared: The AIDS Epidemic and the Great White Way.” The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade. Edited by Kimberly R. Moffitt and Duncan A. Campbell. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011. 227–250.
Refereed Journal Articles and Essays
"Story Pirates Radio as a Document of America, 2020." Theatre Annual. 74 (2021). 6-22.
"Selective Memory and Other Perils of Representing AIDS on the Twenty-first-century Broadway Stage." Somatechnics. 10.2 (2020). 254-261.
“Plagues and Performance: Broadway Bares as Danse Macabre.” Text and Presentation. 7 (2011). 143–156.
Studies. 30 (2010). 102–121.
"Concerts for Kids: Story Pirates." Music Directed by Brendan O'Grady. Directed by Emily Olcott. Story Pirates, the Isabel and Peter Malkin Stage at Hearst Plaza, Lincoln Center Restart Stages/Lincoln Center Education (Barclays Capital Grove), New York City. 17 July 2021. Theatre Journal. 74.2 (2022). 246-248.
“Angels in America.” By Tony Kushner. Directed by Ivo van Hove. Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Brooklyn Academy of Music (Harvey Theater), Brooklyn, NY. 24 October 2014. Theatre Journal. 67.4 (2015). 719–722.
“Not Really Sky: The Bluest Ink Struggled To Redefine Sondheim For The Millennial Generation,” with
Steve Luber. The Sondheim Review 20, 2 (Spring 2014): 12.
“Dessa Rose.” Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Music by Stephen Flaherty. Based on the Novel by Sherley Anne Williams. Directed by Rick Lombardo. New Repertory Theatre (Mosesian Theater), Watertown, MA. 7 May 2008. Theatre Journal. 61.1 (2009). 135–138.
“Teahouse.” By Lao She. Directed by Lin Zhaohua. Original artistic direction by Jiao Juyin. Beijing People’s Art Theatre. Kennedy Center Festival of China 2005 (Eisenhower Theater), Washington, DC. 28 October 2005. Theatre Journal. 58.3 (2006). 504–506.
“Archiving an Epidemic: Art, AIDS, and the Queer Chicanx Avant-Garde.” By Robb Hernández. Ecumenica. 13.2 (2020). 214-217.
“Community Theatre and AIDS.” By Ola Johansson. Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. (Fall 2014). 108–110.
“Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical.” By Stacy Wolf. Theatre Annual 65 (2012): 105–108.
“International Collaborations: Opportunities, Strategies, Challenges (New Directions for Higher Education
#150).” Edited by Pamela L. Eddy. National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Journal. 31.2 (2011).
“Speaking In Other Voices: An Ethnography of Walloon Puppet Theaters.” By Joan Gross. Puppetry International. 23. (Spring/Summer 2008). 40–41.
“Interview with Leigh Fondakowski,” Moebius. 8.1 (2010). 57–63.
“Ed Bullins” in African American National Biography, Volume 2. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 2008. 43–44.