Stephen Reaugh

Graduate Student, Literature

Stephen Reaugh’s (STEE-venn REE-uh, he/him) researches the intersections and intertextualities of performance, narrative, and spectatorship: How does a spectator “learn,” in the event(s) of performance? And how can a spectator potentially “learn,” as José Muñoz writes in Cruising Utopia, ways to learn how to exceed the here and now (of the performance event, of the oppressive scripts in the performance’s fictional worlds, in our “real?” worlds)? Can we, as Jill Dolan famously titled her book, find Utopia in Performance and hope through the theatrical event?

To explore these questions, he reads for moments of possibility in the overtly pedagogical and narrative structures and conventions of four Broadway musicals, all occurring in the timeframe leading from the founding of the “metoo.” Movement in 2006 through the viral moments of #metoo in 2017: Legally Blonde, Fun Home, Waitress, and Mean Girls. In so doing, he hopes to suggest that the performance event allows for the flourishing of new and possible ways of being in the world, ways exceeding the here and now, like those underpinning “metoo.”/#metoo, to be realized both in the live moments of performance and in how the spectator interprets that performance.

As a writer-practitioner of theater, Stephen holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama, concentrating in creative nonfiction and playwriting. His final thesis, Disoriented, a digital closet play that sources online chat messages for all of its dialogue, was the recipient of a Hudson Strode Summer Research Grant in 2014. His creative work has appeared in several literary magazines, including The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Pomona Valley Review, Allegheny Review, and Rabbit Catastrophe Review, among others. He has also performed in several theatrical productions, including Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Roy Cohn, Edison Theatre), Legally Blonde (Professor Callahan, Edison Theatre), Into the Woods (Jack, Struthers Library Theatre), and Assassins (Charles Guiteau, Meadville Community Theatre), among many.

Stephen has presented his work in panels and roundtables at numerous conferences, including the Gender and Women’s Studies Research Conference at Villanova University, the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Conference, and at the New York College English Association (NYCEA) Conference, where his essay on Brian Friel’s Translations won Best Graduate Student Paper in 2017. His critical work has also been published in Teaching American Literature: A Journey of Theory and Practice, and CONCEPT.

Joining with his critical and creative pursuits, Stephen continues to build on ten years of teaching experience with students ranging from middle and high school-level to the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has taught nearly 25 different courses in departments as wide-ranging as English Literature, Business, American Culture Studies, Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Women’s Studies, Performing Arts and Dance Studies, and Global Studies. He has also contributed several book chapters on critical and creative pedagogies: Once Upon a Time in the Twenty-First Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing, published by the University of Alabama Press in 2020; and Teaching Gradually: Practical Pedagogy for Graduate Students, by Graduate Students, published by Stylus Publishing with support from the Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University in 2021.

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