What I Am Thinking About Now: Dana Gooley, “The Witch’s Rap: Whiteness and Blackness in the Broadway Musical”

, Room 103

Please join us for a “What I Am Thinking About Now” presentation by Dana Gooley, Professor of Music at Brown University.

“The Witch’s Rap: Whiteness and Blackness in the Broadway Musical”
Stephen Sondheim’s classic show Into the Woods (1987) has a show-stopping number in which the apparently “evil” witch explains the causes of her rage and revenge. This number is sometimes called “the witch’s rap” because it overtly imitates the rap of the mid-1980s. What are the implications of this “intrusion” of black music into a genre that has historically marginalized black characters and has been instrumental to the production of American whiteness? In approaching this question, Professor Gooley will touch upon figurations of race in the show’s story, the musical-lyrical style of Sondheim’s number, the complex history of casting of the witch (which alternated between white and black actresses and actors), and recent studies of the musical genre that have focused on race (Warren Hoffman, Raymond Knapp, Todd Decker).

RSVP: [email protected]. Snacks and caffeine will be provided.

“What I Am Thinking About Now” is an on-going informal workshop/seminar series to which faculty and graduate students are invited to present and discuss recently published work and work in progress. All are invited to attend and participate.