- Ph.D., Music Theory (Minors: Music History & Literature; Conducting), Indiana University
M.M., Music Theory, Indiana University
B.S., Piano Performance (Outside Field: Mathematics), Indiana University
- Languages Spoken
- English, Deutsch
- Book Currently Reading
- Pat Pattinson, *Writing Better Lyrics*
- I am a Professorial Lecturer and Music Director for the Theatre/Musical Theatre Program in the Department of Performing Arts at American University. I recently defended my Ph.D. Dissertation in the Department of Music Theory at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music: "Through Arrangements of Shadows: Experiences of Reprise in Stephen Sondheim's Leitmotivic Musicals." Recent productions at AU: MISS YOU LIKE HELL • THE BOY DETECTIVE FAILS • HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING • CARRIE • PIPPIN • ASSASSINS • LITTLE WOMEN
CORE-105 Complex Problems Seminar: #BroadwaySoDiverse
HNRS-398 Honors Challenge Course
PERF-066 Musical Theatre Role Devel: Too Much Unhappy
PERF-340 From Scene Into Song
PERF-066 Musical Theatre Role Devel: Spelling Bee
PERF-126 Musicianship I
PERF-346 Survey of Musical Theatre
"What the [Ear] Arranges: Broadway Tonality in Sunday in the Park with George"
Telephone Hour: A Quarantine Colloquium • Monday, February 8, 2021
A case study in how the creative process of musical theatre-making affects the relationship between harmonic function and key: first in a single measure, then throughout a song, and finally across an entire arc of musical numbers.
The image below is from the first song in the score of Sunday. The apparent key is F-Sharp Minor; the apparent key signature is E Major. In this presentation I discuss why this apparent misalignment exists; how it may have happened; and what it means musically and dramatically for similar moments in the rest of the show.
"Torch Song Ternaries: Broadway Medleys as Reinterpretation"
Society for Music Theory • November 8, 2020
Music-analytical studies of songs from book musicals are generally work-centric. Such approaches prioritize musical meaning and interpretation through the dramatic context of a libretto, paralleling the critical valuation of the “integrated” musical. But musical theatre entertainment is considerably more varied than sitting down in a theatre for a live performance of a dramatic work. And for a canon that upholds stereotypes as much as it subverts them, performances that surpass the bounds established by mid-twentieth-century texts offer sites of potent and imaginative reengagement.
In this paper I examine one such category of performances, using Audra McDonald's "Children Will Listen/You've Got to be Carefully Taught" as a case study. McDonald's medley turns Stephen Sondheim’s equivocal, pleading lullaby from *Into the Woods* on its head by switching back and forth with a serene, mid-register rendition of Lieutenant Cable's outburst against the perniciousness of racism while on active duty in Rodgers and Hammerstein's *South Pacific.* A close reading of musical form shows how these two songs haunt each other, reframing an explicitly instructive lyric with particularized immediacy.
McDonald's performance is part of a broader practice of subverting expectations of song types like torch songs—“freighted with gender and sex-coded meanings” (Hubbs 1996)—through juxtaposition, alternating two affectively opposed songs into a newly constructed ternary form. These performances most often happen in cabarets, recitals, and concerts—beyond the Broadway stage, where play with musical form is much more rigidly codified—providing a liberating space to confront theatrical stereotypes and animate intersectional subtexts.