Barrie Gelles is a theatre scholar, director, and teacher. She is a doctoral candidate of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Barrie writes about the aesthetics of musical theatre, Jewishness and Broadway musicals, pedagogical approaches to theatre courses, and the role of theatre practice in the academy. Her dissertation, “Broadway’s Promised Land: The Jewishness of New York City’s Progressive Era as Reflected in Broadway Musicals Since the 1960s,” examines the reoccurring themes and tropes in musicals that recreate, reframe, and reclaim narratives of Jewish American culture memory.
Her research emphasizes the study of musical theatre aesthetics as a way to examine how Broadway musicals create narratives that become part of cultural memory. Barrie directs new musicals, rarely produced musicals, and re-envisioned revivals of musicals wherein she uncovers a new story while remaining loyal to the original text and authorial intent. She also cultivates opportunities for new musicals through Overtures, a new musical developmental reading series that she created and continues to curate. Barrie has published reviews in Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics and have authored the article “Glee and the Ghosting of the Musical Theatre Canon” in Popular Entertainment Studies. In addition, she has published a follow-up to the article as a book chapter in Queer in the Choir Room: Essays on Gender and Sexuality in Glee. Barrie regularly presents at the annual conferences of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the American Society for Theatre Research.
She is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group at ATHE. Barrie teaches a variety of courses, including musical theatre history, theatre history, acting, script/song analysis, and public speaking. In addition to teaching at NYU, she teaches at Marymount Manhattan College and Baruch College. She has previously taught at Brooklyn College and Hunter College as well. She was a fellow for two years in Brooklyn College’s Writing Across the Curriculum program; during that appointment, she worked with departments to create shared digital resources and create tools for incoming adjunct instructors. Barrie has a BA in Theatre and Literature from Sarah Lawrence College, an MA in Theatre from Hunter College, and is in the final stages of earning her PhD in Theatre and Performance from The Graduate Center, CUNY.