Edited Collection: Shakespeare on Broadway
Edited Collection CFP: Shakespeare on Broadway
In 1750, Thomas Kean and Walter Murray opened the first Broadway theatre on Nassau Street in New York City, producing, among other entertainments, Shakespeare plays. Since then, a rich tradition of Shakespeare performance has grown in New York City, reflecting New York’s complicated cultural heritage as both a diverse, egalitarian city and a capitalist utopia, where the current gross weekly cost to mount a Broadway production is easily half a million dollars. Although Broadway and Shakespeare both operate as discrete neoliberal cultural ecologies, this collection aims to bring them together to examine Broadway’s specific cultural context for performing and adapting Shakespeare.
This collection aims to theorise Broadway as a unique genre, and one that operates with similar mass appeal and cultural capital to Shakespeare. ‘Broadway’ denotes a specific set of signifiers, some of which are tied to material considerations of space and scale – a Broadway house must have at least 500 seats, for example – and some of which are more ephemeral, evoking questions about what does and does not belong on Broadway. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere – but what ‘makes it’, and why?
Essays might address any of the following questions: What is the relationship between the insistent Americanness of Broadway and the defining Englishness of Shakespeare? What happens in the interaction between Broadway’s cultural capital and Shakespeare’s? Does Shakespeare need Broadway, or Broadway, Shakespeare? On Broadway, is Shakespearean authority displaced by the demands of the market? How do the spaces and traditions of Broadway shape Shakespearean productions? Do the economics and cultural hegemonies of the Great White Way depend on particular aesthetic affirmations of what Shakespeare should look or feel like? If Off and Off-Off-Broadway is designated by its alterity to large-scale, commercial theatre, how must Shakespeare change to accommodate the different economics of production? Equally, what is the place of Broadway Shakespeare in the larger networks of Shakespearean consumption - how do Broadway Shakespeares exert their influence through regional, national and international tours, school productions, and streaming?
Proposals are invited for essays of 5,000 words. Abstracts are due by May 30th, with accepted essays due October 31st, 2023. The anticipated delivery of the manuscript will be March 2024.
To be considered for the collection, please send a 300-word abstract and a brief bio to Louise Geddes (email@example.com) and Nora J. Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 30th. We will respond to all submissions by June 15th, 2023.