Photo by Paula Vlodkowsky


I recently completed my PhD in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. My current book project, Broadway Bodies: Recasting Difference in American Musicals, examines casting and Broadway’s performances 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?

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 teach 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.

Here’s a 3 minute talk about my research delivered at the CUNY Graduate Center's 2019 Dissertation Showcase.

Photo by Paula Vlodkowsky


rmdonovan at


Upcoming and Recent Events:

Return engagement of Grief Bacon, Joe’s Pub, August 20, 2019.

Inside The Graduate Center: A Dissertation Showcase” at The Graduate Center, CUNY, May 13, 2019 (The event will be live-streamed).

Balancing Teaching and Research as a Graduate Student” workshop for the Teaching and Learning Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY, April 3, 2019.

La Cage aux Folles and the Invention of Pride” at the Mid-America Theatre Conference, Cleveland, March 7, 2019.

Direction/Dramaturgy for Grief Bacon, written and performed by Jeff Hiller, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, January 29, 2019.