UPDATE: Brecht & Broadway (4/1/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
J. Chris Westgate
contact email: 
jcwestgate@ucdavis.edu

The deadline for abstracts has been extended until April 1st 2006.

I am seeking proposals for an edited collection tentatively entitled
“Brecht, Broadway, and American Theater” to be submitted to Cambridge
Scholars Press.

Brecht and Broadway have been frequently evoked as metonyms for
diametrically-opposed traditions of theater and theatergoing. Bertolt
Brecht’s epic theater is always deeply invested in sociopolitical issues,
always intending to unsettle complacent modes of reception—the trance-like
condition that Brecht considered anathema to modern theater and
sociopolitical change. Broadway theater, while obviously more diverse than
any particular playwright or theorist, is nonetheless predominantly
motivated by commercialism and dedicated to escapism. Those productions
intending serious questioning of social or political conditions today are
often more the exception than the rule for Broadway theaters.
Nevertheless, a number of plays have recently come to Broadway—in
particular, plays written in opposition to the Iraq War—that are at least
superficially political and often described as “Brechtian.”

What does it mean to describe any play or production as Brechtian today?
Historically? Does it describe a collection of techniques or an openly
advocated ambition? Does it open-up or foreclose lines of debate and
discussion about the place of sociopolitical theater? What is the legacy
of epic theater for playwrights and theater practitioners who have “come of
age” in the decades after Brecht? And, just as significantly, what are the
connotations of Broadway theater today? Historically? What are audiences
expecting when they buy tickets to a Broadway production? How has
commercialized theater shaped the writing, staging, and attendance of
socially- or politically-conscious theater? These are some of the
questions this collection of essays will address.

The collection would be organized around the following categories:
1. Dramaturgy
2. Production & Performance
3. Critical and Scholarly Reception
4. Ethnography of Theater Companies and Audience-Attendance

I welcome articles written from a variety of perspectives: theater studies,
Marxism, American studies, feminism, history, postcolonialism, etc, about
spoken and musical theater. But all articles considered for inclusion will
foreground some aspect of the opposition and antagonism, coexistence and
coalescence of Brechtian and Broadway theater.

Email proposals of 500 words along with a 100 word biography to Dr. J.
Chris Westgate at westgatejc_at_yahoo.com. The deadline for proposals is
March 1, 2006. Cut & Paste proposals and bios; please—NO attachments.

Completed articles of 20-25 pages (roughly 7,500 words) in MLA format will
be submitted in hard copy and electronic format (email or disk is fine).
The deadline for articles will be September 1, 2006.

J. Chris Westgate, Ph.D.
jcwestgate_at_ucdavis.edu

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Received on Sat Mar 04 2006 - 15:03:59 EST

cfp categories: 
twentieth_century_and_beyond