I recently completed my PhD in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. My current book project, Broadway Bodies: Casting Contemporary Musicals & Recasting Difference in America, examines casting and Broadway’s performance of inclusivity. For example, how does the use of fat suits in a fat-positive musical like Hairspray actually stigmatize fatness? What are the political implications of casting two heterosexual actors as the gay couple in La Cage aux Folles? How do Deaf actors change the sound of musicals in Deaf West’s Spring Awakening?
My research focuses on casting as a labor practice upholding a system of aesthetic disqualification determining which bodies and identities are valued and which are cast aside: casting reveals the limits of Broadway’s tolerance of difference.
I am co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre (with Laura MacDonald and William Everett, forthcoming 2021). Along with Joanna Dee Das, I co-edited the special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre (13.1, March 2019) on dance and musical theatre. My article on casting and fat stigma in Broadway musicals appears in the American Theatre and Drama Society special issue of The Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Other writing appears in Studies in Musical Theatre, Theatre Survey, and the forthcoming Routledge Companion to the Contemporary Musical.
I have taught theatre history, musical theatre, cultural studies, dance history, arts appreciation, and public speaking at colleges including CUNY (Baruch, Hunter, Queens), The New School, Saint Mary's College of California, and the School of Visual Arts. I have also been a fellow at the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Writing Across the Curriculum fellow at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. I danced professionally on stages across the country prior to my academic career.
Photo by Paula Vlodkowsky
rmdonovan at gmail.com
Bess Wohl's "Make Believe" dares to move the audience--which is more provocative these days than what's considered provocative...