• Academic

    Social Messages in “The Sound of Music”

    New York University, 2019. Musical Theatre History. Mother Abbess: “These walls were not made to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to find the life you were born to live.” Maria: “How do I find it?” Mother Abbess: “Look for it. Climb every mountain… till you find your dream.”[1] These words first inspired audiences 60 years ago, and their message of facing one’s problems and persisting against odds to pursue an authentic life has become universal – echoed in recent megahits like Frozen and Wicked, and substantiated by decades of research in the social and behavioral sciences that simply did not exist when they were penned.…

  • Academic

    “The Merry Widow” and Women’s Roles

    New York University, 2018. Musical Theatre History. “The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.” Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Dutch-American historian, journalist, and author. The arts have always reflected society – often depicting cultural values and norms, satirizing persistent problems, highlighting changes that are brewing, and pushing boundaries.  The Merry Widow provides a revealing lens through which to examine established and changing gender roles and expectations in the West around the turn of the twentieth century. From Henri Meilhac’s 1861 comedy L’attaché d’ambassade, the team of Viktor Léon and Leo Stein (librettists) and Franz Lehár (composer)…