Guests in a series examining Race and the American Musical Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts

On April 11 at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, Broadway producer David Stone will discuss his career and work on Wicked and other hit musicals, and Broadway performer Arielle Jacobs will lead a master class and discuss her international performing career in musicals such as In the Heights, Aladdin, and Wicked. Both guests are being hosted by Professor of Theater Stacy Wolf and her students as part of the spring course “Race and the American Musical Theater, from Minstrelsy to Hamilton.” Stone’s discussion is open to the public and will take place at 1:30 p.m. (rescheduled from March 14) and Jacobs’s master class, which is open to the public to observe, will follow at 3:00 p.m. in Room 219 at 185 Nassau Street. Presented by the Lewis Center’s Program in Music Theater and co-sponsored by Princeton’s Program in American Studies, these events are free.

Wolf’s course examines race as a key component of Broadway musical theater, exploring musicals from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbusters In the Heights and Hamilton. Students analyze scripts, critical articles, cast albums, and performances to understand how race and ethnicity structure the aesthetics and politics of American theater. The semester includes a trip to New York City to visit the archives at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center and to see Aladdin on Broadway.

david stone

Broadway producer of such hits as Wicked, Next to Normal and War Paint, David Stone. Photo courtesy of Playbill

In addition to Wicked, Stone is the producer of Broadway hits such as Next to Normal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, If/Then, and The Diary of Anne Frank, as well as Off-Broadway successes such as The Vagina Monologues. He is a producer on the new musical War Paint opening April 6 and starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole. Stone has been nominated for five Tony Awards, with Next to Normal garnering three Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Musical for Wicked. Stone serves on the Board of Governors of The Broadway League, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. He has lectured at Columbia University, Yale University, the Juilliard School, New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.

arielle jacobs

Broadway performer in such musicals as In the Heights and Wicked Arielle Jacobs. Photo courtesy of Arielle Jacobs

Arielle Jacobs, a California native, was most recently seen playing Nessarose in the Broadway cast of Wicked. She has also starred on Broadway as Nina Rosario in the four-time Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights, opposite composer/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Off Broadway, she has starred in two world-premiere plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and director Nilo Cruz, entitled Sotto Voce and Farhad or the Secret of Being, in which she played a young Afghan girl who was raised as a boy to avoid social exile but then reaches puberty and struggles with the limitations of becoming a woman in the Middle East. Jacobs was seen in the original national touring companies of In the Heights, Disney’s High School Musical, Dreamcatcher Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, and in the original Australian touring company of Aladdin. Other credits include Broadway workshops of Between the Lines, Secondhand Lions, Atlantis, Diamond Alice, Carmen and Nightingale, as well as many others. Jacobs has sung alongside legendary artists such as Teena Marie, Chaka Khan, Stephen Schwartz, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Wolf teaches courses in American musical theater history, dramaturgy and dramatic literature, histories of U.S. performance, performance theory, and performance studies. She is the author of Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical (recently named one of the “top ten books every theater lover should read” by Marissa Friedman); A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical; and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical. She is currently working on Beyond Broadway: Four Seasons of Amateur Musical Theatre in the U.S., which examines amateur musical theater at high schools, summer camps, community centers, and afterschool programs across the country. Wolf is also director of the Princeton Arts Fellows program in the Lewis Center.

The Program in Music Theater is a collaboration among the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater and Program in Dance and the Department of Music, which brings together students, faculty, and guest artists in the creation, study, and performance of music theater to support and develop all forms of music theater—that is, any theatrical form that combines singing, acting, and movement—as both an artistic practice and a field of scholarly study.

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Steve Runk
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