• Albert Chan (S.M. 1999, Ph.D. 2004) is pestered by Tom Bardwell and Margaret Ann Brady in a scene from Associate Professor Thomas DeFrantz's 'Queer Theory! A Musical Travesty.'

    Albert Chan (S.M. 1999, Ph.D. 2004) is pestered by Tom Bardwell and Margaret Ann Brady in a scene from Associate Professor Thomas DeFrantz's 'Queer Theory! A Musical Travesty.'

    Photo / Craig Bailey

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DeFrantz's 'Queer Theory' builds musical bridges

Albert Chan (S.M. 1999, Ph.D. 2004) is pestered by Tom Bardwell and Margaret Ann Brady in a scene from Associate Professor Thomas DeFrantz's 'Queer Theory! A Musical Travesty.'


"Queer Theory! A Musical Travesty," written and directed by Thomas DeFrantz, associate professor of music and theater arts, will be performed Thursday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m., in Kresge Little Theater. An additional 2 p.m. matinee will be staged on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tickets are $10, $6 for students.

Set at an academic conference on addressing the relevance of queer studies, the satirical show incorporates dance, music and spoken words to portray the journey of five gay characters as they travel literally and metaphorically from the ivory tower of academia to a downtown drag bar. Along the way, according to DeFrantz, they learn the author's lesson: It is essential to bridge the gaps within the "really diverse queer community and figure out how to work together before we all fall apart."

"Queer Theory" was commissioned by Boston's Theater Offensive and will be presented by Slippage: Performance, Culture, Technology, a performance collective led by DeFrantz that explores connections between performance, formations of culture and interventions of technology.

DeFrantz earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Performance Studies at New York University in 1997 and joined the faculty of MIT that year. His area of expertise is the performed African American arts, and he has published essays on African American concert dance, social dance and theater.

DeFrantz is editor of "Dancin' Man Drums: Excavations in African American Dance." He serves as archivist for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, and he is the author of "Alvin Ailey's Embodiment of African American Culture," which won the 2004 de la Torre Bueno Prize for an Outstanding Dance Publication.

DeFrantz choreographed "Paul Robeson, All-American," a play for children by Ossie Davis, and he collaborated with Ballet Hispanico on "Border Crossings," an art-in-education program which tours nationwide. He has also choreographed and performed a "tap biography" of Thelonious Monk: "Monk's Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk."

DeFrantz is a member of the Drama League of New York and the Dance Critics Association, and he serves on the editorial board of the Society of Dance History Scholars.

For more information, call x3-4720 or see web.mit.edu/slippage.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 22, 2006 (download PDF).


Topics: Arts, Faculty

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