Song, Stage and Screen XI

Hosted by Music in Gotham
The City College, City University of New York

Abstracts (06/10/2016)
Monday, June 27, 2016
Session 1 Rodgers and . . ., part 1
Bradford Conner, Chair
“Laughter on Tenth Avenue: Rodgers and Hart, Dwight Deere Wiman, and On Your Toes
Dominic Symonds
, Lincoln University

Rodgers and Hart were one of the most successful collaborations of the golden age, partly due to a series of hits that included On Your Toes (1936), Babes in Arms (1937), I Married an Angel (1938), Higher and Higher (1940), and By Jupiter (1942). Yet the producer of these shows, Dwight Deere Wiman, remains little mentioned in history books. This paper explores their first production together, On Your Toes, asking how influential Wiman’s role was. It considers what dynamics Wiman introduced creatively; whether we can see him as a collaborator; and how influences from theatre, revue and film informed their work.
“Treadmills, Planes, and Floating Bicycles: the Experimental Dances of Rodgers and Hart’s I Married an Angel (1938)
Jim Steichen
, Stanford University

Rodgers and Hart’s 1938 musical I Married An Angel centers on the woes of a Hungarian Count whose desire for a perfect wife is requited when an angel literally descends from heaven. The Angel’s upstanding morals are not her only singular quality, with her otherworldliness further enhanced by her ability to dance. Drawing on new archival research, this talk offers reconstructive analysis of the first act “Honeymoon Ballet” and the second act “At the Roxy Music Hall.” The dances of Angel represent an intriguing experiment in expanding the possibilities for danced drama in American musicals.
“Tales of the South Pacific: Reviving Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Show in London and New York”
Olaf Jubin
, Regent's University London

Since its triumphant original run, South Pacific (1949) has rarely received a major production. In 2001, Trevor Nunn directed the show at London’s National Theatre. The resulting “reconception”, though, failed to convince the critics or to cause much of a stir. By contrast, Bartlett Sher’s 2008 Lincoln Center staging was hailed as the “greatest revival of all time”. Yet in Britain, reactions were less enthusiastic, with reviewers concluding that “New York has little to teach us about resurrecting the Broadway past”. The paper will compare both the 2002 and the 2008 productions to consider what constitutes a “successful” revival on either side of the Atlantic.
Session 2 A. Dancing
Renée Camus, Chair
“Dancing With the Broadcast”
Emily Lane
, Northwestern University

Dance performances highlight visuality and physicality, yet in the 1930s and 1940s the music and sounds of tap dance performances were often circulated on the radio. Musicological and radio scholarship has addressed the ways that acousmatic sound is used to create a “theatre of the mind.” Participatory listeners engage in perceptive boundary-crossing experiences as an intersection of radio, film, and participatory dancing. I argue that an intermedial and historically-situated analysis illustrates the ways that aural media can create a sense of visual movement in the mind and body of the listener through a historical, cultural and creative orientation.
“Tap Dance on Screeen: from Stylistic Variability to Cinematic Creativity”
Veronica Bochynek
, University of Salzburg

Tap dance contributes substantially to creating visual and audible spectacle in Hollywood musicals by producing sound through body movements. On the basis of the analysis method Movement Inventory by Claudia Jeschke I examine different tap dance styles regarding their movement concepts in relation to sound production and medial aspects of production numbers from 1930–1950. This analysis shows that early film productions contained a high variability of tap dance styles. In contrast, later productions stood out through a mixture of different dance forms and a cinematic display of tap dance. My analysis reveals how the medium film shaped tap dance on screen.
B. Mexico and Musicals
Michael Garber, Chair
“Revolution, Immigration, and Modernity as Viewed Through the Mexican Musical Revue in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s”
John Koegel
, California State University, Fullerton

Los Angeles’s Mexican theater scene was the largest of its kind in the United States, from about 1910 to 1940. A broad repertory of music theater genres served as a product for commercial consumption and artistic edification: opera, plays with music, Spanish zarzuela and European operetta, musical comedy, and the revista (musical revue). Los Angeles's Spanish-speaking residents saw their concerns addressed on stage in revistas on contemporary themes. Local Los Angeles Mexican composers and playwrights used the sharp tools of parody, sentimentality, and political satire—along with dance and catchy songs and choruses—to explore the human condition, highlight the Mexican community’s engagement with and distinction from mainstream American life, and address themes of social class, racial identity, gender, politics, and Mexican nationalism.
“Robert W. Lerner’s Innovation and Tradition: the Viability of Musicals in Mid-Twentieth Century Mexico”
Emilio Mendez
, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Robert W. Lerner arrived in Mexico, in the fifties, to develop further a nascent trend: the professional production of Broadway musicals with a local cast and in Mexican Spanish. He began by importing My Fair Lady, for which his older brother Alan Jay was lyricist and librettist. This paper will explore how Robert Lerner adapted the Broadway procedure for staging large scale musicals to the conditions of production and reception in Mexico during the second half of the twentieth century. The paper will examine Robert Lerner’s unique contribution to the innovation of theatre production in Mexico.
Session 3 A. Television and the Musical
Jessica Sternfeld, Chair
“Convergence Culture and Networks of Participation in the Live Television Musical”
Ryan Bunch
, Rutgers University, Camden

In recent live television broadcasts of musicals, a nostalgic reenactment of classic family-oriented live musical telecasts of the 1950s and 1960s is conveyed through the traditional medium of television, which is simultaneously part of a networked apparatus of new technologies. The televised performance merges with live-tweeting, internet social media, and real-life viewing parties in constructed experiences of liveness and community. NBC’s The Wiz (2015) offers a striking example of the ability of these broadcasts to provoke participation and kinesthetic identification through the musical in African American and other interpretive communities.
“Sequins and Songs on the Small Screen: 1970s Television Variety Shows and the Popularization of the ‘BroadVegas’ Hybrid”
Kelly Kessler
, DePaul University

Although Broadway and film musicals took darker and less economically lucrative turns by the late sixties, the musical persevered on television as the thriving industry enlivened the genre by devising techniques to combine its waning cultural cachet with the rising excitement and glamour of Vegas. Whether through Mitzi Gaynor’s annual specials, star-studded variety shows, The Carol Burnett Show’s Bob Mackie-costumed musical extravaganzas, or “Merman, Live from Vegas,” BroadVegas hybrids flooded the small screen. Through examinations of the two cities’ historical/performative links and generic and promotional changes occurring within the television industry, this presentation will explore the era’s commitment to BroadVegas.
B. The Early Musical, part 1
Ben Sears, Chair
“Cinderella and the Muddled Middle: Performing the Paradox of Class Anxiety on the London Musical Stage, 1890-1914”
Ben Macpherson
, University of Portsmouth

In this paper, I offer a reading of the Cinderella story on the London musical stage between 1890 and 1914. Focussing on the musical comedies A Gaiety Girl (1893), A Runaway Girl (1898) and Nelly Neil (1907), I suggest that in contrast to the heroine-figure of the early twentieth-century American stage (Maya Cantu 2015), the Cinderella story in late-Victorian England performed a cultural identity endemic of a social paradox, as the newly self-styled ‘liberal’, ‘progressive’, ‘modern’ middle-class audience found themselves caught between this idealised rhetoric and the need to maintain a social status quo.
“George M. Cohan’s Proto-‘Integrated’ Musicals”
Elizabeth Titrington Craft
, University of Utah

Scholars have recently pushed back on traditional musical theater historiography by asserting that signs of “integration” – the melding of music, dance, and plot – occurred well before Oklahoma! (1943). Yet those earlier examples have received little sustained attention. This paper examines integration in early musical theater through the musicals of George M. Cohan. While he rarely appears on lists of integration’s pioneers, Cohan experimented regularly with furthering plot and conveying character through song and dance. His shows were lauded for their “consistency and unity.” Examining these moves toward integration contributes to a new, more comprehensive narrative of musical theater’s formal development.
Session 4 Library Collections
Dominic McHugh, Chair
“An Overview of The Billy Rose Theatre Division"
Doug Reside
, Curator, New York Public Library Theatre Division

"19th-Century Theatre Songs in the American Music Research Center"
Thomas L. Riis
, Director, American Music Research Center, University of Colorado, Boulder
Session 5 Keynote Address
“Title of Keynote”
Millie Taylor, University of Winchester
Tuesday, June 28
Session 6 Broadway and Children
Robert Gordon, Chair
“Musical Theatre’s Backstage Diva and the Gendered Labor of U.S. Amateur Musical Theatre with Kids”
Stacy Wolf
, Princeton University

The “backstage diva” is a familiar figure in youth musical theatre: the powerful, charismatic female director who runs afterschool and summer programs and who teaches kids music, dance, and drama by directing them in several shows a year. Though the very descriptor “backstage” would seem to exclude the “diva”—the center stage star performer—these women occupy a starring role in the lives of musical theatre kids, and they profoundly affect the amateur artistic life of their communities. This paper uses an ethnographic approach to look at the lives, work, and influence of a few contemporary backstage divas.
“‘The Year of the Child’: Narratives of Jewish American Families and Young Children in Broadway Musicals”
Barrie Gelles
, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

This paper will consider narratives of Jewish American experiences in Broadway musicals from the perspective of the child characters. Holding far less power in their families than their adult counterparts, young children are nevertheless often central to the families’ decisions, daily life, and concerns. The child characters in Falsettos (1992), Caroline, or Change (2004), and The People in the Picture (2011) have their own concerns, agency, and voices (and even solos). Each of the children in these musicals struggles to understand his or her own identity in relation to his or her parents and Jewishness.
Session 7 Hamilton
Paul Laird, Chair
“‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?’: How Hamilton Makes History”
Michelle Dvoskin
, Western Kentucky University

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sung-through hip-hop and rap inflected musical about “$10 founding father” Alexander Hamilton has taken US culture by storm. This paper will focus on the diverse ways Hamilton and its creators engage audiences in the historiographic questions posed by the musical and encourage them to see connections between the complicated “then” inhabited by Hamilton and his cohorts and the equally complicated “now” in which we live. While I will analyze the show itself, I will also consider other ways Hamilton and its creators reach out to their fandom, including social media and interviews.
“From Hair to Hamilton: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”
Sarah Browne
, University of Wolverhampton
Sarah Whitfield, University of Wolverhampton

Hair (1967) and Hamilton (2015) radically disrupt and challenge American cultural memory by fracturing established expectations between story, teller and recipient. The cultural dissemination of both musicals into broader popular culture amplifies their significance, and in particular, their disruption of the dominant narration of U.S. history. Through musicological and materialist analysis, this paper will examine how both works re-appropriate these historiographies, and present a radically reimagined inclusive narrative which is led by previously marginalised cultural voices. The paper will consider ‘Abie Baby’ from Hair, and ‘My Shot’ and ‘You’ll be Back’ from Hamilton as disruptive acts.
“‘The World Was Wide Enough’: Hamilton, Digital Fandom and the Participatory Spectator”
Jessica Hillman
, State University of New York at Fredonia

Musical theatre has historically evoked intense fandom. The Internet has not only further enabled and intensified the personalization process fans have always had with musicals, but has also fundamentally altered that relationship. Using Hamilton as a test case, this paper uncovers how mediatized interactions alter the fan’s relationship to the object of their love. Even for a musical about the founding fathers, the Hamilton’s digital presence may stand as its most revolutionary element. Although passionate fans that express themselves online are not unique to Hamilton, several elements of the phenomenon are particularly compelling and may help lead musical theatre fully into the 21st century digital world.
“#Ham4Ham For X”
Daniel Dinero
, New York University

Hamilton offers “Ham4Ham,” a ticket lottery where sometimes, Lin-Manuel Miranda presents brief performances; the subsequent videos posted online allow #Ham4Ham a tremendous following in social media. This presentation draws from an exhaustive study of every Ham4Ham performance to date, but also contextualizes Ham4Ham in the broader Broadway milieu. If some have described Ham4Ham as having “no precedent,” such a characterization ignores the longer tradition of extracurricular online Broadway performances. I suggest that by reading Ham4Ham in this context we might better understand how it is not just a savvy marketing tool, but also a vivid example of the community- and world-making power of Broadway musical theatre.
Session 8 Rethinking Musicals
“Reclaiming a Forgotten Musical: The Case of A Joyful Noise
Scott Warfield
, University of Central Florida

While the study of archival materials has become commonplace for Broadway’s iconic shows, resources for shorter runs and outright failures are rarely available. One exception is A Joyful Noise (1966), a forgotten attempt to bring popular styles to the stage that closed after only a dozen Broadway performances. Multiple archival collections make possible the reconstruction of A Joyful Noise and its history. Whatever the show’s shortcomings, its history offers insights into Broadway’s interest in popular music in the 1960s, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the dynamics of mounting a show in an era of growing financial exigencies on Broadway.
“Contested Categories: Contact (2000) as a Work of Musical Theater
Joanna Dee Das
, Washington University in St. Louis

In 2000, the Tony Award for Best Musical went to Contact, a show that had no original music, live singing, or dialogue. Instead, dance was Contact’s dominant communicative medium. The Tony win caused such consternation that a new award, Best Special Theatrical Event, was created the following year, only to be discarded again in 2009. This paper investigates the definition of a musical in the twenty-first century by looking at Contact’s development, formal aesthetic qualities, and perhaps most importantly, marketing strategies. Ultimately, analyzing Contact reveals the always-present, but sometimes hidden, economics and politics of aesthetic categories in the performing arts.
“Punk Meets Broadway: American Idiot as a Musical in Two Worlds”
Crystal Buck
, Barton Community College

Billie Joe Armstrong, founder of the punk band Green Day, offers the following aesthetic credo summarizing the punk rock mentality: “Punk has always been about doing things your own way. What it represents for me is ultimate freedom and a sense of individuality.” In bringing American Idiot to Broadway in 2010, Green Day followed the punk rock mentality, exercising their artistic freedom by accepting and rejecting conventions of the traditional Broadway musical theatre. The show includes a ballad, “I want” song, couple’s duet, dream ballet, and other typical Broadway genres. The show’s definitive embrace of the rock ethos and sound makes American Idiot an unusual example of the catholicity of musical tastes now heard on Broadway.
Session 9 Early Musicals, part 2
Millie Taylor, Chair
“Degeneration/Regeneration—The Remaking of Nation in Wartime West End Revue”
David P. Linton
, Kingston University

Focusing on the shows Business As Usual (1914) and By Jingo If We Do! (1914), I will highlight how London West End revue of this period constructed a shared rhetoric of entertainment and patriotism. Experimenting with narrative and expressions of speech, movement, design and sound, they constructed pertinent national and gender representations as the political establishment called for propaganda as well as distraction and escapism. In often contradictory and complex representations, revue performances perpetuated images of British manliness and womanhood that displayed a regenerative nationalism that sought a remasculinization of British culture.
Dreigroschenoper in the Depression: The Forgotten Broadway Premiere of 3-Penny Opera
Garrett Eisler
, New York University

Long before America learned to love “Mack the Knife,” Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera (or, as it was then billed, 3-Penny Opera) had a less auspicious Broadway premiere in 1933. Opening at the nadir of the Great Depression, it closed after only twelve performances. Most accounts have attributed the failure to a misinterpretation of the material. But closer examination of documentary evidence reveals concerted effort to faithfully reproduce the original 1928 Berlin staging, as well as a more mixed and nuanced reception than usually assumed. More than just a footnote, the story of the 1933 3-Penny demonstrates how slow the American embrace of this now-canonical work was and how inhospitable “Golden Age” Broadway could be to alternative musical-theatre forms.
“A Voice in the Chorus: Collectivism and Individuality in Me and My Girl
George Burrows
, University of Portsmouth

Musical comedy was always concerned with positioning middle-class audiences relative to stereotypical aristocratic characters and contrasting figures of the working classes. The 1937 show Me and My Girl is thus about a cockney costermonger, who discovers he is actually Earl of Hareford. In this conceit the show envisioned a decidedly modern middle-class identity combining the culture of the nobility with working-class physicality, emotivism and spontaneity. The resultant tension between the archaic and the modern and between the individual and the collective is evident in the ensembles that offer fascinating discourse on the British class system following the 1936 abdication crisis.
Wednesday, June 29
Session 10 A. LGBT, Part 1
George Burrows, Chair
“The Love That Dare Sing Its Name: Lesbian Desire in/and the Broadway Musical”
Ryan Donovan
, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Though musicals have been queered by many over the past three decades, this has largely been in relation to gay men. Lesbians have generally been erased from the production, reception, and scholarship on the Broadway musical. How then may we to account for the sudden, concurrent presence of two Broadway musicals centrally about lesbian identification? Despite this being a post-marriage equality moment, there is a notable absence in the marketing of these shows. Neither ad campaign admits that these musicals are about lesbians. In The Color Purple, Celie stands and sings “I’m Here,” while its rejoinder, “I’m Queer,” remains silent.
“‘Changing My Major to Joan’: Queer Representation in the Musical of the 21st Century”
James Lovelock
, University of Wolverhampton

The portrayal of queer characters in the 21st century musical often conforms to a ‘comforting, stereotypical version of gayness for the bus-and-tunnel crowd’ (Clum 1999: 10). Persistent tropes in contemporary musicals such as the conflation of transvestism and homosexuality in Billy Elliot and the closeted homosexual in Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon are identified, before an analysis of innovative narrative devices in Fun Home, If/Then and Soho Cinders demonstrates that queer representations can achieve more than ‘novel identity-affirming pleasures’ (Halperin 2012: 106) when queer characters are allowed to develop beyond the confines of their sexual identity.
B. Unlikely Stars: Imelda Staunton and Noël Coward
“An Unlikely Diva—Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Lovett and Mama Rose”
Miranda Lundskaer-Nielsen
, Bath Spa University

This paper will examine the central performances of Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Lovett and Mama Rose in the Chichester Festival Theatre productions of Sweeney Todd (2011) and Gypsy (2014), both of which transferred to the West End to widespread acclaim from critics and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The paper will evaluate Staunton’s performances in relation to her legendary predecessors, assess the dramaturgical impact of her creative choices and explore the underlying cultural differences between Broadway and the British subsidised theatre that may have helped to shape these quietly gripping and sometimes startling re-interpretations of two of the most iconic roles within the American musical theatre.
“Noël Coward: Broadway Composer and Lyricist”
Laura Milburn
, University of Sheffield

Since his first introduction to the Broadway stage, Coward knew he wanted his works to be accessible to American audiences. This paper will showcase Coward’s ability as a British composer and lyricist to adapt his writing for Broadway and American audiences. Perhaps his best known musical work is Sail Away (1961) starring Elaine Stritch, which would go on to become his most successful post-war musical. Noël Coward was “the epitome of Englishness” and this too reflected in all of his shows and particularly those on Broadway, most notably perhaps in his final Broadway output, The Girl Who Came to Supper.
Session 11 A. Archival Studies
John Graziano, Chair
“Painting the Wagon: Artistic Needs and Commercial Concerns in Orchestrations of the Golden Age of Broadway”
Matthew Malone
, University of Sheffield

This presentation will carefully examine the role of the Broadway orchestrator, with specific emphasis on Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon (1951). Using a variety of sources, including the Ted Royal and Cheryl Crawford papers in the New York Public Library, I will compare the orchestrators' invoices with the original handwritten full scores in an attempt to interrogate the financial implications of an orchestrator’s work on a Broadway score. Essentially, the paper will investigate the concept of orchestration as a business, as well as an artistic endeavor.
“From The Silver Triangle to The Music Man: New Sources for the Development of a Broadway Classic”
Dominic McHugh
, University of Sheffield

In his autobiography But He Doesn’t Know the Territory Meredith Willson discusses the background to The Music Man. This has been the main source of information for the show’s development since its publication. Research into the musical was hampered for many years because Willson’s estate kept his papers and manuscripts from scholars. However, in 2012 the materials were divided between the Great American Songbook Foundation in Indiana and Juilliard School of Music. In this presentation, I will exploit these newly-available sources to focus on the gestural shifts between Willson’s early ideas for the musical, when it was known as The Silver Triangle, and the Broadway version.
“The Queen’s Taste: Processing the E. R. Simmons Papers”
Helice Koffler
, The Shubert Archive, New York

Although he received few official credits, Ernest Romayne "Ma" Simmons (1870-1954) performed numerous functions behind the scenes during his nearly forty-year tenure with the Shuberts. His rich archival collection at the Shubert Archive documents many of these activities during what arguably was one of the company’s most fertile periods as producers of musical comedies, operettas, and revues. Through the scope of his varied interactions with a wide range of Shubert personnel – including Homer Conant, Cary Grant, Elisabeth Marbury, Sigmund Romberg, and Ernestine Schumann-Heink – the Simmons papers offer a unique perspective into the complex and international history of the American musical theatre.
“‘What Does a Critical Edition Present?’: Challenges in Editing Musical Theatre Scores”
Bradley Martin
, California State University, Chico
Andrew Adams, West Carolina University

Ed Harsh, editor of the Kurt Weill edition, noted: “. . . if there is no ideal form of the work, then what does a critical edition present?” This presentation will examine the main challenges in preparing critical editions of musical theatre works, focusing on three main questions: 1) How is the process of editing musical theatre works different than editing works in the Classical canon? 2) In the absence of a “manuscript,” can there be a true critical edition? 3) How can editors of musical theatre works balance the demands of preparing performance materials with the demands of preparing exhaustive scholarly reports?
B. Psychological Studies
Olaf Jubin, Chair
“‘It’s a Shoe’: Musicals’ Depictions of Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Growth”
Jessica Sternfeld
, Chapman University

Musicals reflect the (often inaccurate) popular understanding of PTSD, usually enacting what disability studies calls the “kill or cure” narrative: the suffering character must either be cured and reintegrate into the onstage society, or die so that the society may continue. Some musicals embrace a pop-culture twist on PTSD, known as Post-Traumatic Growth, in which trauma begets positive change. This paper explores musicals involving trauma (Ragtime, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, others), discussing which embrace the “kill or cure” approach and which employ the more nuanced (but troubling) idea of traumatic growth, asking what trauma looks and sounds like on stage.
“‘You Didn’t Hear It’: Revealing the Traumatic Narrative in the Who’s Tommy
Kathryn Cox
, University of Michigan

The plot of The Who’s Tommy (1969) revolves around an initial trauma that leaves the protagonist disabled, yet this traumatic event has no musical representation in the original album. As the Who collaborated with artists across different performance mediums for the 1975 film and the 1993 Broadway musical, however, details emerged concerning that initial traumatic moment. By incorporating trauma theory from music therapy, psychology, and comparative literature, this presentation explores how Tommy moved away from denial and toward the narrative specificity of testimonial, functioning as a rock reflection of the process of integrating a trauma into one’s personal narrative.
“‘Mozart Was Crazy’: Natalie’s Intersection with Classical Music in Next to Normal
Dan Fister
, University of Cincinnati

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Next to Normal (2009) centers on a dysfunctional family whose matriarch suffers from bipolar-depression and how she, her husband, and her daughter Natalie cope with her disorder and its effect on their lives. This paper will discuss the character of Natalie, her connection with Mozart and classical music, and how the piano adumbrates her character trajectory. Supplemented by my interviews with the creative team, I will examine how Kitt uses the piano to fulfill or subvert musical theater conventions and how this can be interpreted to better understand Natalie's personal and interpersonal development.
“‘Didn’t I See This Movie?’: Between Rock and Madness in Next to Normal
Alosha Grinenko
, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Next to Normal (off-Broadway 2008, Broadway 2009), often described as a “rock musical” in critical reviews, is centrally concerned with contemporary ideas about what constitutes mental illness or, in cultural terms, “madness.” Engaging visually and aurally with these ideas, the off-Broadway and Broadway productions use a range of musico-dramatic, staging, and performance techniques long associated with representations of madness and psychological interiority in US theatre. This paper focuses on the ways in which discursive and formal configurations of the clinical setting in Next to Normal draw on rock’s historical associations with madness in US culture.
Session 12 A. Audiences
Ben Macpherson, Chair
“‘A Song that Hits You So Hard’: Emotion, Affect, and Silence in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Vicki Lynette Hoskins
, University of Pittsburgh

During the Broadway run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, audiences created a unique communal silence in between the songs “Wicked Little Town (Reprise)” and “Midnight Radio.” This lengthy silence is arguably a contrast to the normative “loudness” of Broadway musicals in general. Why might the audience stay silent for such a long time? Utilizing survey data from audience members across multiple performances, this paper takes a cognitive approach to audience response in Hedwig, ultimately arguing that the emotions and bodily affects that spectators experience during this moment overwhelm their ability to actively respond.
“Agency, Power and the Inner Child: the ‘Revolting Children’ of Matilda the Musical
Helen Freshwater
, University of Newcastle

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2010 adaption of Roald Dahl’s novel glories in the energy and resilience of rebellious, ‘revolting’ children. This paper draws on the work of Carol Chillington Rutter and Robin Bernstein as it explores the production’s contemporary reconfiguration of the nineteenth century literary tradition of child as redeemer, and analyses how the show’s adult and child performers evoke ‘childness’. Consideration of audience response and the publicity campaigns which have framed the show in its journey from the UK to Broadway and beyond will enable interrogation of the sentimental pleasures afforded by its invitation to indulge our ‘inner child’.
B. Opera and Broadway Musicals
Elizabeth Wollman, Chair
“Masquerade: The Impact of 18th and 19th Century Operatic Traditions on The Phantom of the Opera"
Sara E Gulgas
, University of Pittsburgh

In The Phantom of the Opera, the operatic genre is an important contributor to the central theme: the subversion of social hierarchy. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed three simulated operas that are performed within the musical: Il Muto (Italian opera buffa style), Hannibal (French grand opera) and the Phantom’s Don Juan Triumphant (themes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni). Through an analysis of the instrumentation, vocal techniques, and traditional practices within the simulated operas, I argue that the juxtaposition of these traditional conventions and Webber’s popular songs should not be thought of as anachronistic, but rather demonstrative of the fluidity associated with Carnival.
“A Model of Stylistic Expression in Musical Theater”
Brian D. Hoffman
, University of Central Florida

The “Golden Age” of American musical theatre directly grew from Jerome Kern’s then-novel philosophy that “songs must be suited to the action and the mood of the play.” Over time, this practice became commonplace, neutralizing the expressive potential of a single musical style in and of itself. I propose that by the end of the Golden Age, composers created musical expression through the interaction of three elements. (1) A catalogue of musical styles and tropes such as march, church chorale, and kick-line; (2) A degree of dignity (high, low, neutral); (3) The rhetorical relationship between the style and its perceived dignity.
Session 13 A. Work and Play on Broadway
Garrett Eisler, Chair
“Coming Home: The Presence of Baseball in Stage and Screen Musicals in Post-World War II America”
Jeff Katz
, New York Public Library

In post-World War II America, the obsession with “home” and the desire to celebrate and romanticize the American family and the American way of life was particularly strong. It is not surprising, therefore, that baseball, America’s great “national pastime,” experienced a corresponding surge in popularity in the United States. At the same time, profound cultural and societal shifts were just beginning to shake the foundation of America, setting the stage for the turbulent decades to come. This complex reality did not go unnoticed by Broadway and Hollywood. Indeed, it was in this 15-year period of transition, from 1946-1960, that baseball musicals and the inclusion poignant baseball elements in musicals made for cinema, television, and the stage became almost commonplace. I will examine this phenomenon more closely, drawing from chapters in my forthcoming book, Plié Ball! Baseball Meets Dance on Stage and Screen.
“‘You Learn to Live Without’: Women and work in the Broadway Musical”
Mary Jo Lodge
, Lafayette College

Applying the Bechdel Test to Broadway musicals reveals that few pass its low bar. Adding an additional simple criterion - female characters who hold jobs (something common for male characters) - curtails this small selection of musicals even more. In this paper, I investigate why so few female characters in musicals are employed, and explore what working women reveal about the precarious position of female characters in musicals. I also examine how this phenomenon has changed over time, particularly since many female characters in Golden Age musicals are depicted as having jobs.
B. Rodgers and . . ., part 2
Dominic Symonds, Chair
“At the Heart of the Culture Wars: American Urban Nightlife and Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey
Julianne Lindberg
, University of Nevada, Reno

Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey — set in a “cheap club” in the South Side of Chicago in the late 1930s—demonstrates a concern over matters of taste and, by extension, class, respectability, and situationally appropriate humor. This paper will analyze three club tunes—“That Terrific Rainbow,” “The Flower Garden of My Heart,” and “Zip.” Each of these songs parodies a contemporary phenomenon: the tacky chorus number, the Ziegfeldian showstopper, and the tired burlesque striptease, respectively. I argue that the club tunes in Pal Joey critique, and perhaps reveal Rodgers and Hart’s attitudes towards, the contemporary culture wars over sex and censorship.
"The Many Lives of ‘Edelweiss’”
Susanne Scheiblhofer
, Independent Scholar, Austria

Originally conceived as a show tune for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (1959), “Edelweiss” was intended to showcase Theodore Bikel’s talents as a folk singer and capture Captain von Trapp’s emotional turmoil in the musical’s finale. This paper documents the de-contextualized afterlife of “Edelweiss” as a misunderstood folk song, misconstrued Austrian anthem, potential political song as well as, most recently, the theme song for the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle (2015). Audiences, artists, journalists, politicians and scholars alike have contributed – intentionally and unintentionally – to a veritable song mythology, which exposes the malleable qualities of music.
Session 14 Panel: Dancing and Fighting on Broadway Panel
Mary Jo Lodge, Chair and Moderator

  • Julie Cadenhead
  • Penny Worth
  • Harvey Evans
  • Ron Piretti
Thursday, June 30
Session 15 African American Musical Theater
John Graziano, Chair
Seven-Eleven at The Globe: Negotiating African American Identity in 1920s Cleveland”
Peter Graff
, Case Western Reserve University

The Globe Theater was once Cleveland’s premiere venue for black entertainment. It regularly packed the house by booking the latest blues queens and vaudeville hits, including the musical comedy Seven-Eleven, which received such effusive praise that it was held over for two additional weeks. While almost entirely forgotten today, Seven-Eleven was a highly celebrated show that toured North America for four seasons (1922–26). The music and themes of Seven-Eleven contributed to contemporary dialogues on race pride and progress. With this production as my focus, I demonstrate how the Globe’s nightly repertory helped theatergoers navigate tensions between image and identity.
After Midnight and the Problem of Representing the Cotton Club”
Nate Sloan
, Stanford University

After Midnight, the 2013 Broadway revue set to music from Harlem’s historic Cotton Club, featured immaculate dance routines, lavish costumes, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, all of which propelled the show to stellar reviews and multiple Tony award nominations. Still, for all the show’s fealty to its source material, the revue ignored the racism, primitivism and minstrel discourse on which the Cotton Club’s success was predicated. This paper analyzes the production and reception of After Midnight to consider what might be lost and gained by the show’s negation of historical reality.
“Snake Hips Dance: Mapping Harlem Through the Cotton Club Parades”
Malcolm Womack
, University of Washington

As Harlem came into vogue during the Jazz Age, the floorshows at the Cotton Club served as an upscale exploration of urban, American blackness. In the performances of a single dancer, Earl “Snake Hips” Tucker, the black body can be mapped as a site of racial and sexual tensions that would have been read by the spectators at the Cotton Club in a number of different ways – sexual, humorous, grotesque, and savage. This paper explores tourism at the Cotton Club and the ways Tucker’s dance served as a marker for an imagined Harlem.
Session 16 A. Plays, Power, and the Past
Stacy Wolf, Chair
“Plays, Musical and Non-Musical”
Derek Miller
, Harvard University

While the American musical contributes much to Broadway, Broadway is more than the musical. Combining data-driven history with close readings, this paper argues for integrating musical theater history within the whole Broadway landscape. Drawing examples from the Golden Age, I demonstrate that this more comprehensive approach refines our understanding of the musical’s formal development and its cultural ramifications. By putting the “Broadway” back in the Broadway musical, I resituate musical theater scholarship in its rightful place: at the center of American theatrical innovation in the twentieth century.
“In Harm’s Way: The Contest Between Stage Producers and Music Publishers for the Control of Broadway Musicals, 1915-1930”
Michael Garber
, State University of New York, Purchase

During the early twentieth century, Tin Pan Alley music publishing houses played crucial roles in Broadway musical productions. They financially supported productions; tried (sometimes successfully) to dictate what songs would be used; and most often supplied the orchestrations, significantly contributing to the musical aesthetic. This paper draws from the Shubert Archives to focus on the collaborative but often contentious relationship between the Shubert Brothers and T.B. Harms publishers, while mounting Broadway musical comedies (Innocent Eyes, 1924), operettas (Mayflowers, 1925; Countess Maritza, 1926), and revues (Artists and Models of 1927) – a springboard for brief theoretical formulations about agency, authorship, and aesthetics.
“‘. . . that you might find in a musical’: Reclaiming Intertextual Traditions in Urinetown
Adam Rush
, University of Lincoln

Despite the twenty-first century musical incessantly recycling high-profile works, the phrase ‘musical theatre’ continues to inspire flamboyant images of top hats, feather boas and jazz hands in the minds of its audience. Given that such signifiers are cultural perceptions of the art form, rather than ingrained conventions, this paper identifies how musical theatre recycles its presumed legacy in numerous highly intertextual and notably metatheatrical productions. Considering Urinetown: The Musical as a case study, this paper argues that such ‘meta-musicals’ re-energise a traditional model established in the 1940s and 50s and further identify musical theatre as an apt case study for the study of intertextuality within a broader conceptual framework.
B. Culture, Politics, and Religion
Ryan Bunch, Chair
“All That Jazz: The Troubled Journey of Chicago from Stage to Screen”
Robert Gordon
, University of London

The great commercial success of Chicago (2002) is widely regarded as responsible for the 21st century resurgence of the Hollywood screen musical; ironically it took twenty-seven years and a hugely successful Broadway revival (1996) to transfer the show to the screen. An exploration of the process by which Rob Marshall and Bill Condon translated an inherently theatrical “vaudeville” into filmic terms exposes a key problematic of the musical as film genre, revealing how they sacrificed the savage satirical thrust of the original to create a popular hybrid of gangster movie and backstage musical.
“Vaudeville Melodies: Creative Fragmentation as Cultural Practice”
Nicholas Gebhardt
, Birmingham City University

In this paper I explore some of the main song writing practices that emerged on the vaudeville stage. In particular, I focus on the practice of creative fragmentation, which I argue became a principle of vaudeville musical production. I want to sketch the basic outline of musical production on the vaudeville stage, before turning to a more detailed discussion of specific instances of vaudeville music making. Overall, my aim is to describe, firstly, the processes by which these melodies were incorporated into vaudeville acts, and, secondly, what happened once they began to circulate through the system as objects of consumption.
“The Missionary Musical: Performing Faith and the Colonial Project”
Kathryn Edney
, Regis College

A significant but little-noticed trend in American musical theatre has been the exploration of sub-Saharan Africa, an exploration that has implicitly been shaped by social and cultural changes involving race and Civil Rights in the United States. This paper argues that the key device within musicals for imagining Africa and relocating American racial conflicts has been the Western project of “civilizing” Africans through Christian proselytizing and education.
Session 17 LGBT, part 2
Scott Warfield, Chair
“A Beauty But a Funny Girl: A Queer Investigation of the Broadwayfication of Disney”
Christen Mandracchia
, Independent Scholar

One of the major deterrents of a queer reading of Disney musicals is the “Disney” brand-name. The term “Disneyfication” often implies that substance, edge, and thematic depth have been removed. However, informed by the writings of Alexander Doty and Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick, this paper traces the production and reception of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast from animated film to Broadway musical to uncover the anti-essentialist treatment of gender and sexuality which exists beneath face-value.
“Fierce Drag and Culture Clashes: Priscilla’s Troubled Ride on Broadway”
Wes Pearce
, University of Regina

In 1994, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the ‘quirky’ Australian road movie became a modest international success. Stephen Elliot and Allan Scott’s 2006 stage adaptation was embraced in a number of queer cities around the world. One might assume that given the movie’s history/notoriety and the previous successes of the stage extravaganza, that the New York reception of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, would be similar. This paper will focus on Broadway’s (and America’s) general resistance to the “Journey to the Heart of Fabulous” and will do so using dramaturgical, cultural and political lenses.