Angels in Performance

Documenting LGBTQ Lives in Theatre & Performance

University of Missouri
April 24-28, 2013

All Conference events are free & open to the public, with the exception of performances of Angels In America: Millennium Approaches.

MU Department of Theatre is hosting a weekend interdisciplinary mini-conference "Angels in Performance: Documenting LGBTQ Lives in Theatre & Performance," featuring guest artist and award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner. The conference, which will present workshops and presentations on the nature of documenting LGBTQ lives in theatre, will be held in conjunction with the MU Department of Theatre's production of Kushner's play, Angels in America. Mr. Kushner will be interviewed on the stage of the Rhynsburger Theater by David Crespy, MU Theater Department faculty and playwright about his career, including his recent Academy Award nomination for the screenplay "Lincoln."

In addition to Kushner, the conference will feature two major scholars in the field of LGBTQ theatre and performance history: Kim Marra, Professor of Theater and Performance History at the University of Iowa, who has written several books on LCBTQ theater history, and Dr. Robert Schanke, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Central College, Iowa and editor of the Southern Illinois University Press series "Theatre in the Americas."

Conference presentations will include papers on theatre and performance history, ethnography, theory, interactive theatre, and creative presentations keeping within the conference theme of documenting LGBTQ lives in theatre & performance.


Dr. David Crespy
MU Department of Theatre
129 Fine Arts Building
Columbia, MO 65201
P: (573) 882-2021

Celebrating the Legacy of Lanford Wilson

A highlight of the conference will be a celebration of the legacy gift of the Lanford Wilson Papers to the University of Missouri. This gift, which is held by the MU Libraries Special Collections, contains the personal and professional papers of Lanford Wilson, Missouri's own Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. The collection includes manuscripts for his own plays, reviews and promotional clippings for productions of his plays, and personal correspondence covering the early 1960s until Wilson's death in 2011.

Special guest artists taking part include: Marshall Mason, founding artistic director of Circle Repertory Theater, as well as Lanford Wilson's major director and artistic partner; and Danny Irvine, a Circle Repertory performer and company member. In addition to discussing the legacy of Lanford Wilson, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Irvine will be teaching workshops in acting, directing, and the business of theatre as part of the conference.

A Performance of Angels in America at the Rhynsburger Theatre

Also held in conjunction with the conference will be a production of Tony Kushner's Pultizer Prize winning drama, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. A play in two parts, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, directed by David Crespy, will be in full production at the Rhynesburger Theater. A free concert performance of Angels in America: Perestroika will be performed Sunday as part of the conference (see conference schedule for details). Set in New York City during the AIDS crisis, with magic, spirituality, brutal comedy, and theatricality, Angels In America explores the interconnected lives of its vivid characters, gay and straight, set against the backdrop of a government corrupted by greed, bigotry, and indifference.

For further information on the Lanford Wilson Papers, visit:

MU Libraries Special Collections

For ticket information, call 573-882-PLAY, or visit:

MU Theatre Tickets & Info


Tony Kushner

Special Guest

“[Tony Kushner] is fond of quoting Melville’s heroic prayer from Mardi and Voyage Thither (“Better to sink in boundless deeps than float on vulgar shoals”), and takes an almost carnal glee in tackling the most difficult subjects in contemporary history — among them, AIDS and the conservative counter-revolution (Angels In America), Afghanistan and the West (Homebody/Kabul), German Fascism and Reaganism (A Bright Room Called Day), the rise of capitalism (Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne), and racism and the civil rights movement in the South (Caroline, or Change).  But his plays, which are invariably political, are rarely polemical.  Instead Kushner rejects ideology in favor of what he calls “a dialectically shaped truth,” which must be “outrageously funny” and “absolutely agonizing,” and must “move us forward.”  He gives voice to characters who have been rendered powerless by the forces of circumstances – a drag queen dying of AIDS, an uneducated Southern maid, contemporary Afghans– and his attempt to see all sides of their predicament has a sly subversiveness. He forces the audience to identify with the marginalized – a humanizing act of the imagination.”
From “After Angels,” by John Lahr, The New Yorker, Jan 3, 2005 

Born in New York City in 1956, and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, which won both a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and has been developed as an Emmy Award-winning TV miniseries and an opera.  In addition to the plays mentioned above, Kushner has written the book and lyrics for the Tony Award-winning musical Caroline, or Change and translated and adapted Pierre Corneille's The Illusion; S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk; Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan and Mother Courage and Her Children; and the English-language libretto for the children’s opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa. His screenwriting career and awards include the Mike Nichols film, Angels in America; Steven Spielberg’s Munich (Academy Award, Golden Globe, 2005), as well as Spielberg’s movie Lincoln (Academy Award, Golden Globe, 2012).  His books include But the Giraffe, a Curtain Raising, and Brundibar: the Libretto, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon.  His latest work includes a collection of one-act plays entitled Tiny Kushner (Fall 2009), featuring characters such as Laura Bush, Nixon’s analyst, the queen of Albania and a number of tax evaders, and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (New York premiere, May 2011).

In addition to his numerous awards for his plays and screenplays, Kushner is the recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, among many others.  In September 2008, Tony Kushner became the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the largest theater award in the US.  He was also awarded the 2009 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement.  He is the subject of a documentary film, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, made by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock.  Kushner lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.


Kim Marra


Kim Marra is Professor of Theatre and Performance History and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Iowa. She holds a quarter-time appointment in the American Studies Department and is affiliate faculty in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. Her book Strange Duets: Impresarios and Actresses in the American Theatre, 1865-1914 (The University of Iowa Press Studies in Theatre History and Culture Series, 2006) won the 2008 Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book on Drama or Theatre conferred biennially by NYU’s Department of English.  With Robert Schanke, Marra co-edited Passing Performances: Queer Readings of Leading Players in American Theater History (1998) and Staging Desire: Queer Readings of American Theater History (2002), The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures of the American Stage in the Pre-Stonewall Era (2005), all for the University of Michigan Press. Her new book project is entitled “Fashioning the Thoroughbred Ideal: Show Women and Show Horses on American Stages, 1865-1930.”

Marra serves on the editorial boards of The University of Iowa Press, the Theatre in the Americas Series of Southern Illinois University Press, and Theatre History Studies, as well as on the Publications Committee of the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS). She is a former Secretary of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) and a former member of both the Executive Committee of ASTR and the Executive Board of the ATDS. She has been Book Review Editor as well as an Editorial Board member of Theatre Survey.

Dr. Kim Marra will receive the 2013 ATHE Outstanding Article. "Riding, Scarring, Knowing: A Queerly Embodied Performance Historiography"


Robert Schanke


Robert A. Schanke is Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Central College, Iowa, where he served for twenty-seven years. He is author of Ibsen in America: A Century of Change (Scarecrow, 1988) and Eva Le Gallienne: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1989). His Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne (Southern Illinois, 1992) was a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award and the Barnard Hewitt Award for theater research. He coedited with Kim Marra Passing Performances: Queer Readings of Leading Players in American Theater History (Michigan, 1998) and Staging Desire: Queer Readings of American Theater History (Michigan, 2002). Their final collaboration, The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy, appeared in 2005.

Schanke’s most recent book is  Queer Theatre and the Legacy of Cal Yeomans (Palgrave, 2011). Prior to that, his book “That Furious Lesbian”: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta (Southern Illinois, 2003), won the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year award in the best gay and lesbian nonfiction category. He also published Women in Turmoil: Six Plays by Mercedes de Acosta (Southern Illinois, 2003).

Schanke served as President of the LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgendered) Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. In addition to writing, he has directed theatre productions in England, Wales, and Mexico. In 2003 he was elected into the National Theatre Conference, and in 2004 he was elected into membership of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He is currently serving as Vice-President for Awards for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Robert Schanke will receive the 2013 ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) Career Achievement Award in Educational Theatre.


Marshall W. Mason

Marshall W. Mason was the Founding Artistic Director of the legendary Circle Repertory Company, acclaimed by the New York Times as “the chief provider of new American plays.” His 44-year collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson has been certified by Playbill as the longest collaboration between a writer and director in the history of the American theater.

Mr. Mason directed twelve plays on Broadway that earned him five Tony nominations for Best Director, including Fifth of July and Angels Fall by Lanford Wilson. Four productions received Tony Awards, and there were 24 nominations. Off-Broadway, Mr. Mason has been honored with five Obie Awards for Outstanding Director (The HOT L BALTIMORE, Tennessee Williams´ Battle of Angels, The Mound Builders, Serenading Louie, and Knock Knock), as well as a sixth Obie for sustained achievement. Among his many memorable productions are Edward J. Moore’s The Sea Horse (Vernon Rice Award for Best Play), William Mastrosimone’s Sunshine, Romulus Linney’s Childe Byron, Larry Kramer’s The Destiny of Me (Lortel Award for Best Play), Robert Patrick’s The Haunted Host, David Storey’s The Farm, and Lanford Wilson’s first full-length play Balm in Gilead and one of his last, Book of Days (American Critics’ Association Award for Best Play).

He is the author of Creating Life on Stage: A Director’s Approach to Working with Actors (Heinemann Press, 2006) and is currently writing The Transcendent Years: Founding Circle Rep. Professor Emeritus of Arizona State University, Mr. Mason now divides his time between Mazatlán, México and New York City.


Daniel Irvine

Daniel Irvine (Director) holds an M.F.A. in theater arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he acted in Lanford Wilson's The Rimers of Eldritch and directed Home Free! He began his professional theater career in 1974 as a production assistant for Circle Repertory Company in New York and later became resident director and a member of the Company. As Artistic Director of the LAB, Mr. Irvine worked with many actors, directors, and playwrights, creating classes, workshops and a performance space for developmental work. He also created the popular LATE SHOW series which showcased original one-act plays following the main stage productions. As the initial production of the LATE SHOW, Mr. Irvine directed the world premiere of Lanford Wilson's Brontosaurus.

Mr. Irvine received the first National Endowment Directing Fellowship in 1981, and was invited to the former Soviet Union in 1985 as a distinguished theater artist. He moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and produced the first production On the Edge, a series of 10 original one-act plays in 1987 for Circle Rep West. At the Lee Strasberg Institute, Mr. Irvine directed the world premiere of Lanford Wilson's Thymus Vulgaris. He taught acting and directing for ten years at Arizona State University. He continues to work with a local theater group in Mazatlán called El Recreo.



To find all events on a map, got to:
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

12:00 p.m.: Pride Parade sponsored by the MU LGBTQ Resource Center (, starting at the Circle Fountain just outside of the MU Student Center.

5:00-6:00 p.m.: An interview with Tony Kushner. David Crespy speaks with Kushner on the stage of the Rhynsburger Theatre.

6:00-7:00 p.m.: Celebration of Lanford Wilson Papers with remarks by Tony Kushner and Dr.Crespy, reception at the Bingham Art Gallery (entrance in the Rhynsburger Theatre lobby). Sponsored by MU Libraries.

7:00 p.m.: Andrea Gibson, MU Pride Month Keynote Speaker, sponsored by the MU LGBTQ Resource Center (, Mark Twain Ballroom, Memorial Union.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.: Tony Kushner meets with the student cast of Angels in America, Rhynsburger Theatre. All theatre and honors students are invited to participate in the discussion.

11-12:30 p.m.: Marshall W. Mason, and Daniel Irvine discuss acting, directing and the business of theatre with students in the Rhynsburger Theatre.

1:30-3:30 p.m.: "Documenting LGBTQ Lives On and Of Stage": Historiography workshop session on documenting LGBTQ Lives in Theater and Performance with Dr. Marra and Dr. Schanke, Fine Arts Annex, Room 116.

10:00 p.m.: Angels in America Alpha Psi Omega Reception, Rhysburger Theatre Lobby.

7:30 p.m.: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Millennium Approaches. Directed by David Crespy. Rhynsburger Theatre. For ticket information, call 882-PLAY, or visit

Reception immediately following sponsored by Alpha Psi Omega



Friday, April 26, 2013

9:45-11:00 a.m.: The Legacy of Lanford Wilson . Ellis Library Colonnade
Panel Chair: David Crespy

David Crespy, Marshall W. Mason and Daniel Irvine: “The Legacy of Lanford Wilson.”Mason book signing at end of session.

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Angels in Production: Reading, Adapting and Performing Angels in America . Ellis Library Colonnade

Panel Chair: Bryan Vandevender

Sarah Crockarell, University of Colorado - Boulder: “At the Threshold of Revelation: Queer Community and Gender Difference in Kushner’s Angels in America.

Jacek Mikolajczyk, University of Washington: “American Angels in Poland: Questioning the Gender in Krystof Warlikowski’s production of Angels in America.

Dirk Visser, University of Groningen: “How to Clip an Angel’s Wings: Angels in America’s Transfer from Straight Play to Opera.”

12:30-1:00 p.m.: Book Signing by Guest Artists and Scholars. Ellis Library Colonnade.

12:30-1:15 p.m.: Luncheon provided by MU Libraries. Ellis Library Colonnade.

1:15-2:00 p.m.: Keynote: Dr. Robert Schanke. "Jumping Hurdles: How to Succeed in Writing Gay Biographies." Ellis Library Colonnade.

2:15-3:30 p.m.: LGBTQ Historiography Before and After the Millennium. Rhynsburger Theatre

Panel Chair: Bryan Vandevender

Gerald Argetsinger, Rochester Institute of Technology: “LGBTQ Mormons on the Stage, 1993-2013.”

Vanessa Campagna, University of Missouri - Columbia: “More Life: Futurity on Demand.”

3:45-5:00 p.m.: Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow. Rhynsburger Theatre

Chair: Emily Rollie

Tara Goldstein & Pamela Snell, University of Toronto: “Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow: Representing Queer Adoptive Families On and Off the Stage”

7:30 p.m.: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Millennium Approaches. Directed by David Crespy. Rhynsburger Theatre. For ticket information, call 882-PLAY, or visit

Saturday, April 27, 2013

9:45-11:00 a.m.: Queer(ing) Women’s Performance . Rhynsburger Theatre

Panel Chair: Emily Rollie

Sara Warner, Cornell University: “Terminal Maladies and Chronic Desires: Theatre’s Aching Lesbian Bodies.”

Maya Gibson & Leo Saguiguit, University of Missouri - Columbia: “Playing it Straight: Queering Billie Holiday.”

11:15am-12:30 p.m.: Queering Texts: Reading and Performing Plays Queerly . Rhynsburger Theatre

Panel Chair: Emily Rollie

Nicholas Sawin, University of Missouri - Kansas City: “Queering Strange Interlude: Marsden as a Gay Artist.

Wes Pearce, University of Regina: “More Like a Butcher than a Doctor: The Queer(ed) Grotesque Plays of Michel Marc Bouchard.”

Will Palmer, University of Missouri - Columbia: “Tennessee Williams: Dual-Sided Homosexuality and His Plays.”

12:30-1:00 p.m.: Book Signing by Guest Artists and Scholars. Rhynsburger Theatre Lobby.

12:30-1:15 p.m.: Lunch sponsored by MU Departement of Theatre. Rhynsburger Theatre

1:15-2:00 p.m.: Keynote: Dr. Kim Marra. "Historical Dances of Humans and Horses: Making and Documenting Queer Lives." Rhynsburger Theatre.

2:00-3:15 p.m.: Documenting LGBTQ Lives Theatre in Theatre & Performance. Rhynsburger Theatre

Panel Chair: David Crespy

David Crespy, Robert Schanke, and Kim Marra: “Documenting LGBTQ Lives Theatre in Theatre & Performance.”

3:30-4:45 p.m.: “The Miscegenations Project”. Rhynsburger Theatre

Panel Chair: Bryan Vandevender

Lea Robinson, Columbia University & Elizabeth Whitney, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY: “The Miscegenations Project: Documenting Intersectionality.

7:30 p.m.: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Millennium Approaches. Directed by David Crespy. Rhynsburger Theatre. For ticket information, call 882-PLAY, or visit

Sunday, April 28, 2013

10:00-11:00 a.m.: Conference De-Briefing Session with Dr. Marra and Dr. Schanke. Rhynsburger Theatre. Free and open to the public.

2:00 p.m.: Concert performance of Angels in America: Perestroika. Rhynsburger Theatre. Free and open to the public.

7:00 p.m.: MU Queer Monologues, written, produced and performed by Mizzou students. Sponsored by the MU LGBTQ Resource Center. Jesse Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union. Free and open to the public.

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