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Performances of Faith: Post-Vatican II American Catholicism on the Professional Secular Stage

O'Malley, Kristin (2020) Performances of Faith: Post-Vatican II American Catholicism on the Professional Secular Stage. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the United States, Catholicism as a subject matter for theatrical performance was predominantly relegated to amateur, parish, and educational stages prior to the 1960s. From the 1960s through the present day, however, New York City has hosted an influx of representations of Catholicism on Broadway and Off-Broadway stages. In my project, I investigate how productions featuring representations of Catholicism engage with aspects of history to portray Catholicism as lived relationships between humans and the supernatural. My project turns to Broadway and Off-Broadway stages to examine how these lived relationships are recognized in commercial secular theatre. In that Broadway and Off-Broadway highlight artists from a variety of backgrounds and seek to serve diverse audiences, productions in these spaces provide the opportunity to examine how representations of Catholicism are crafted to broadly engage with American society. Insofar as Broadway and Off-Broadway is the center of commercial theatre in the United States, the productions provide opportunities to consider how representations of Catholicism differently resonate with New York audiences. My dissertation identifies common dramaturgical strategies used within productions to craft iterations of lived relationships between humans and the supernatural. It explores how these dramaturgical strategies represent and/or engage with aspects of history to further frame narratives of Catholic experience. Thus, my project illustrates how secular, commercial theatre in the United States gives credence to how Catholics experience the divine historically and in contemporary life in order to reflect on the acceptance of American Catholicism post-Vatican II.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
O'Malley, KristinKMO54@pitt.eduKMO54
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGranshaw,
Committee MemberCroot,
Committee MemberGeorge,
Committee MemberKane,
Committee MemberMcDermott,
Date: 16 January 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 October 2019
Approval Date: 16 January 2020
Submission Date: 5 December 2019
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 287
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Theatre, Catholicism, American Catholicism, Vatican II, Dramaturgy, Historiography, Broadway, Off-Broadway
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 19:31
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2022 06:15


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