Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

08 December 2007

American Musical Theater

I just got a notice from a conference I sent an abstract to at the end of August. Check it out!
Dear Mr. Thomas,
We’re pleased to accept your paper for the conference, American Musical Theater, at the CUNY Graduate Center in April 2008. The conference will begin on Wednesday, April. 2 and continue through Saturday, April 5. We’ve scheduled papers to last no more than 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of discussion to follow.

We will be posting the program on the web in early January – first with just the titles of sessions and papers, later with abstracts, program details, and brief biographies of the presenters. So we’ll need your final title by January 3 and the final version of your abstract and biography by February 15. We will send you the web address as soon as the website is up and running.

We look forward to seeing you in April.

The Program Committee
John Graziano
bruce mcclung
David Savran
Stacy Wolf
The paper I sent them is called "The Legacy and Reclamation of the Mammy in Caroline, or Change." Here's the abstract:
Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's 2004 musical Caroline, or Change has been hailed as a triumph of musical theatre as well as a shrewd social commentary. Critically ignored, however, has been a crucial component of the musical's subject matter: an exploration of the legacy of black women working as domestic servants to Southern white families. This paper explores Kushner's musical in the context of its place in a history of devastatingly harmful representations of black women on the American stage. The value of this historicity, finds Kushner's heroine to be a fully-formed portrait of black woman; she exhibits the characteristics of the traditional mammy, but emerges as a complicated, multi-dimensional character. Kushner re-imagines the stereotype of the black American mammy and finds new and vibrant life in her story both as a mother figure to the white children she raises and as a profound force for change in her own household.
Fun, huh?