As a scholar, I am guided by a fascination with the limits and uses of the archive, as well as with the cultural significance of popular entertainments; to that end, my work in theater history has been calibrated to put “important” dramatic texts on equal footing with fairground entertainment, blackface minstrelsy, melodramatic potboilers, vaudeville, or medicine shows in order to demonstrate the ways in which popular performance has both reflected and reshaped its culture.
My scholarly work has been published in TDR, the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Angels in the American Theater: Patrons, Patronage, and Philanthropy (ed. Robert Schanke, 2007), and Public Theatres and Theatre Publics (ed. Sara Freeman and Robert Shimko, 2012).
Much of my published work focuses on contemporary theater, including especially the work of Chuck Mee, but also the pervasive (and damaging) tensions between art and entertainment in theater production, criticism, and history.
My 2008 article “A Theatrical Race: Constance Rourke, American Culture, and Popular Performance” was awarded the 2009 American Society for Theatre Research’s Kahan Scholar’s Prize.
My current book project, Beyond Steppenwolf: Chicago’s Established Alternative Theaters (coedited with Erica Milkovich), draws together the voices of practitioners, critics, and scholars in order to establish the vital history of Chicago’s long-lived, non-Equity, ensemble-based companies devoted to staging original work.
I serve as Editor of Theatre/Practice, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal created to encourage, recognize, and disseminate rigorous, high-quality scholarship in embodied practice and practice as research in theatre and performance.
You can read my scholarly essays here.