Chapter in a Book

"Theory of the Murderous Mind: Understanding the Emotional Intesity of John Doyle's Sweeney Todd," Theory of Mind in Literature. Eds. Paula Leverage, Howard Mancing, Richard Schweickert, and Jennifer Marston William.  West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2011.  93-103.


My study of the emotional intensity of Doyle's production offers a look at audience response from the perspective of cognitive analysis.  Situated within the theoretical framework of Antonio Damasio, Robert L. Latta, and other cognitive scientists, as well as Sondheim's own notions of melodrama and the Sweeney Todd legend, the chapter contextualizes noted audience reactions to the 2005 Broadway production.  Through this lens, phenomena such as emotional response, laughter, and obcession/compulsion become a point of connection between Sondheim and Wheeler's embodied Victorian London characters and Doyle's contemporary audiences.   




"Comedy Tonight... And Tomorrow: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Laughter through the Ages."  Theatre Symposium, Vol. 16.  U. of Alabama Press, 2008. 40-51.


This article provides a glance at the evolution of cognitive-based audience response to the physical comedy, punning, and other forms of humor in Sondheim, Shevelove and Gelbart's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  Here I place emphasis on the basic parallels and divergences among accepted concepts of stage humor and audience response from the time of Plautus, to the time of Forum's 1966 debut, to the time of its revivals.



"Stephen Sondheim's Assassins and the Wartime Political Climate."  Theatre Symposium, Vol. 14.  U. of Alabama Press, 2006.  138-151.


This is an examination of the development of Sondheim and Weidman's musical Assassins, a piece made controversial in the 1990s by American involvement in fighting in Iraq and later by the terrorist assaults of September 11, 2001.  Despite multiple postponements, Assassins eventually found its way to the theatre to ask audiences to analyze the values and challenges of a nation that has hosted so many perpetuators of violence against its presidents.  My article analyzes the evolving relevance of the piece within changing national and international political contexts.




"Stephen Sondheim's Assassins and the Wartime Political Climate." Partial reprint for The Sondheim Review. Vol. XXII, No. 1, 2015.  28-30.
This article is a partial reprint of my earlier article for Theatre Symposium.
"The 'Beans' Motif: Music, Magic, and the Human Experience."  The Sondheim Review.  Vol. XXI, No. 1, 2014.  8-9.
This article is a brief critical analysis of a musical theme known as the "beans" motif and featured repeatedly in Sondheim and Lapine's musical Into the Woods.  I argue that, in addition to representing the appearance of magic in the form of beans originating from "Jack and the Beanstalk" fame, the "beans" motif effectively marks key points in the characters' journeys toward maturity.  
"From Baker to Mysterious Man: Chip Zien Takes on Another Generation.  The Sondheim Review.  Vol. XIX, No. 2, 2012.  14-16.


This is my interview with Broadway actor Chip Zien, who originated the role of the Baker in Sondheim and Lapine's Into the Woods, returning to the musical 30 years later to play the role of the Mysterious Man as part of Shakespeare in the Park in 2012.  Zien discusses with me his personal experience of working once again on the musical, his memories of the original production, and his pleasure at working with a new generation of actors.



"Sorry-Grateful: How Company Demonstrates Ambivalence."  The Sondheim Review.  Vol. XV, No. 3, 2009.  24-26.


This article is a short character analysis of the 1970s New Yorkers featured in Sondheim and Furth's musical Company.  Working from a theory basis in cognitive psychology, I argue that many of the musical's chartacters commonly embody a repeated tendency toward ambivalance, implying trends in the featured social mileau and often anlienating critics.  



"The Most Intense: Why Audiences Responded to John Doyle's Sweeney Todd Revival." The Sondheim Review.  Vol. XIV, No. 1, 2007.  24-26.


This article is a short precursor to my chapter in Theory of Mind in Literature.  It poses and begins to answer questions linking Doyle's directorial choices to critical response through the application of theories in cognitive processing.  Sondheim stated his opinion the Doyle's Sweeney Todd was the "most intense," and my analysis begins to investigate how this might be possible.    






"The Learner Performs: Embodiment as an Attractor in Learning Math."  Theatre Topics. Vol. XXV, No. 3, 2015.  223-230.


This article investigates the learning process based on a case study.  I argue for the learner as a dynamic system, one in which embodiment describes an effective approach to learning itself.  I lay out processes I have used as a learning specialist, such as stairs-by-numbers and fraction hopscotch, and I relate student response.  In conclusion, I speculate that embodiment, such as that of an actor embodying a role, can play a significant part in the learning process.   



"The 'Stage in the Head': A Cognitive Approach to Understanding Audio Description in the Theatre."  Theatre Topics.  Vol. XX, No. 2, 2010.  171-180.


This article addresses the process of audio description for blind audience members in the theatre.  I examine audio description from a cognitive perspective, breaking down the steps in brain processing thought to occur when a non-sighted audience member combines his/her reception of actors lines and music with auditory input offered by a professional describer and pertaining to visual imagery onstage.  Ultimately, I suggest the possibility that such cognitive analysis might lead to more precise training for audio describers and thus improved engagement with their audiences. 





Book Reviews


Women in American Musical Theatre.  Coleman, Bud and Judith A. Sebesta, eds.  London: McFarland & Co., Inc., 2008.  Theatre Journal; May, 2009.


Oklahoma!: The Making of an American Musical.  Carter, Tim.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007; and Lady in the Dark: Biography of Musical.  McClung, Bruce D.  Oxford: University Press, 2007.  Theatre Journal; May, 2008.  328-329.  


American Musical Theatre and the Performance of Personal Identity.  Knapp, Raymond.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.  Theatre Journal; March, 2008.


Through the Screen Door: What Happened to the Broadway Musical When it Went to Hollywood.  Hischak, Thomas S. Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004.  Theatre Journal, Dec. 2006. 715-716. 



© 2016 Diana Calderazzo

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