Ethnographic encounters and local musical theatre in the United States

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, I reflect on some of the research and writing choices I made while engaged in ethnographic research for Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre Across America. I consider several challenges, including how to navigate my role and point of view as an empathetic insider or advocating outsider of local musical theatre; how to conceptualize the project’s scope and scale how to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of a multi-site, limited-view project; how to manage relationships with corporations that challenged my politics; and how to deal with revisions, which I invited, requested by people I interviewed and observed. I also discuss how I understood non-professional theatre-makers’ disavowal of the label ‘amateur’ and came to appreciate the untenable distinction between ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Musical Theatre
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Music
  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Amateur musical theatre
  • Broadway theatre
  • Community theatre
  • High school musicals
  • Local musical theatre
  • Multi-site ethnography
  • Musical theatre
  • US theatre


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