CFP: Special Issue, "Ethnography and Musical Theatre"

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Jake Johnson and Judah Cohen
contact email: 

Special Issue of Studies in Musical Theatre:

 Ethnography and Musical Theatre


Guest Editors: Judah M. Cohen (Indiana University) and Jake Johnson (Oklahoma City University)


With Musical Theatre studies now thriving in the fields of musicology, theatre, and literature, the time is right to expand into a more ethnographic mode that explores the broader musical theatre ecosystem. Musical theatre, after all, extends well beyond Times Square through an astonishingly rich variety of musical networks. From national tours, cruise ships, films, ‘live’ television and theme parks, to amateur venues including high schools, summer camps, community theatres, and regional pageants, to widely flung developmental networks highlighted through such entities as the BMI workshop and college musical theatre programs, musicals are an everywhere phenomenon. In broadening the focus of Musical Theatre studies to include the everyday, lived experiences with and of musicals, this special issue promotes ethnographic methodologies as a means to investigate the genre more readily and robustly, illuminating such areas as social function, community, and indigenous theory. By acknowledging the important yet understudied role by which communities large and small practice musical theatre—and choose what stories to tell—the essays in this issue will provide a meaningful context for understanding both canonical and non-canonical works from the point of view of the people who create them.


We welcome performers and scholars from all disciplines to consider musical theatre ethnographically. Topics might include:


Methods and ethics in researching musicals through an ethnographic lens

Musical theatre as a facilitator of temporary (or long-term) community

Musicals in under-studied places

Discursive networks in musical theatre

Local pageants and the making of place

Musicals in education and professional training programmes

The musical as a live (and lived) entity

Global practices of musical theatre

The process(es) of making musical theatre


Please submit abstracts of c. 500 words to and by 1 October 2018.  Selected abstracts will be invited to be developed into articles of 5000-6000 words, due by May 2019 for a projected publication date of January 2020. Submissions will undergo a full blind peer review, which will determine final selection.