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Lightyears away from you: an exploration of "non-normative" characters in musical theatre

Thomas, Lauryn Morgan (2017) Lightyears away from you: an exploration of "non-normative" characters in musical theatre. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this thesis I explore the ways in which musical theatre is uniquely suited to tell stories about characters who are considered “non-normative.” My research includes in-depth character study and performance-based practice of four characters in theatre that have been othered and outcast for their mental illness, sexual orientation, physical appearance, and perceived existence on the Asperger’s spectrum. This project culminated in a one-woman cabaret in which I performed each of these four characters for an invited audience, and added to my intellectual understanding of each of these characters, and discovered how music and extended text can enhance a character’s journey through “non-normativity.” Upon completion of this research, I found that theatre has a specific power to teach and inspire audiences to reach across difference. In my one-woman cabaret I had the opportunity to put three musical theatre characters and one play character in conversation with each other and present them to an audience as whole individuals. I conclude both my performance and my thesis with a series of pondering statements, leaving it open-ended for both viewers and readers to draw their own conclusion about the people they have just learned about and how one might approach them. Through this research I have had the opportunity to ask, if you were to disregard the differences that define these characters, “What would you see?”


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thomas, Lauryn Morganlmt59@pitt.edulmt59
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJackson-Schebetta, Lisalisajsch@pitt.edulisajsch
Committee MemberFrankenberry, Robertrnf7@pitt.edurnf7
Committee MemberSchebetta, Dennisdennis72@pitt.edudennis72
Committee MemberMalone, Beth
Date: 26 April 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2017
Approval Date: 26 April 2017
Submission Date: 20 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: musical theatre, non-normative
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2017 15:10
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2017 05:15


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