Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:What I did for love: Queer theory and A Chorus Line - A queer critical reading of the 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama
Author(s):Godwin, Aaron James
Advisor(s):Silvers, Michael
Contributor(s):Redman, Yvonne; Magee, Jeffrey; Wigley, Sarah
Department / Program:School of Music
Discipline:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):queer theory
musical theatre
A Chorus Line
gender identity
queer kinship
power structures
queer temporality
Abstract:Musical theatre as a genre and medium has been a prime ground for performing artists and creative types from a variety of spectrums to exist, explore, and express themselves and the ways in which they live, experience, interact with, and thus create our society. Often these theatre-makers have been members of deviant, subcultural communities in their ways of thinking, living, and being in respect to societal norms. This deviant, or “queer” existence was often depicted in the works they created for musical theatre. Queerness is an innate part of musical theatre. In this thesis, I explore the existence of this queerness through a critical reading of A Chorus Line by turning attention away from the genre’s presumptive heteronormative conventions. I aim to better understand not only how a work was intentionally queer for its time, but also how it has become queerer with the passage of time and to understand further what it, but more importantly, what musical theatre, has to say about sex and gender identity, acceptance and belonging, theatrical and artistic community power structures, and temporality. In the first chapter, I will discuss queer identity and gender theory in musical theatre by examining how they appear and function in A Chorus Line. In the second chapter, I will expound on queer identity to explore queer kinship and family in musical theatre by examining the relationships between the dancers in A Chorus Line. The third chapter explores how the theatre is governed by societal power structures and the ways our bodies are policed and commodified as performers and individuals. Finally, in the fourth chapter, I investigate how we experience time by examining queer temporality in A Chorus Line. I then follow these chapters with a brief conclusion to discuss the implications this thesis has for twenty-first century theatre-makers.
Issue Date:2020
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/106957
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Aaron James Godwin
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-04-28


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