Who we are

The TAPS Workshop brings together faculty and graduate students from across the university whose research concerns theater and/or performance. If you would like to join our email list, please contact the workshop coordinators at their emails below, or using the contact page.

Faculty sponsors:

David Levin, Ph.D., is the Addie Clark Harding Professor of Germanic Studies, Cinema and Media Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, and the College at the University of Chicago. In June 2011, Professor Levin was appointed the inaugural Director of the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, a new collaborative center for artists and scholars. From 2007-10, he was Co-Director of the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH). Before joining the faculty at Chicago in 1998, he taught German and Theater Studies at Columbia University. He has been a guest professor of Theater and Performance Studies at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Mainz; he regularly team-teaches courses on opera, theater, and performance at the University of Konstanz with Professor Christopher Wild (Chicago) and Professor Juliane Vogel (Konstanz).
Professor Levin’s recent work focuses on the aesthetics and politics of performance in opera, theater, and cinema. He is the editor of Opera Through Other Eyes (Stanford University Press, 1994) and the author of Richard Wagner, Fritz Lang, and the Nibelungen: The Dramaturgy of Disavowal (Princeton University Press, 1998). His book, Unsettling Opera: Staging Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, and Zemlinsky, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007; a paperback edition appeared in autumn 2010. Professor Levin has also worked extensively as a dramaturg for various opera houses in Germany and the United States and for William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet. He serves as co-executive editor of the Opera Quarterly, published by Oxford University Press. In the Spring of 2010, Levin and Christopher Wild hosted “Praxes of Theory“, an international conference at Chicago that brought together artists and scholars form Berlin and Chicago to explore the intersections of performance practice and performance theory. The conference inaugurated a multi-year cooperation with the Institute for Theater Studies at the Free University Berlin.
John Muse, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English; Committee on Theater and Performance Studies. Professor Muse’s research and teaching focus on modern and contemporary theater, modernist literature, and performance. He is particularly interested in work that tests the boundaries of a given medium or the borders between media: plays that approach visual art, poems performed on stage, closet dramas, novels in dramatic form, metatheater and metafiction, and digital or otherwise virtual theater.
Professor Muse’s current book project, for instance, explores the minimum boundaries of dramatic form by focusing attention on modernist microdramas. The book argues that short plays warrant at least as much attention as short stories, lyric poems, or short films, in part because the temporal medium of theater allowed modernist artists both to represent and unsettle emergent conceptions of time. Plays by figures like August Strindberg and Suzan-Lori Parks, F. T. Marinetti and Samuel Beckett demonstrate that theatrical time is relative in particular ways, that minimal compositions often magnify their subjects, and that a drama of impoverishment can enrich our understanding of the possibilities and limits of the theater.

Judith Zeitlin, Ph.D., William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Professor Zeitlin is especially interested in combining literary history with other disciplines, such as performance, music, visual and material culture, medicine, gender studies, and film. Her second book The Phantom Heroine: Ghosts and Gender in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Literature explores the representation of ghosts across the range of literary genres in the late Ming and early Qing. Since then, she has also published on the eighteenth-century painter Luo Ping’s “Ghost Amusement Scroll” (2009) and on ghosts in Chinese opera film (2010).

In recent years, Professor Zeitlin’s research and teaching have become increasingly oriented toward the performing and visual arts as way of engaging actively with all the senses, and not just texts, although close reading of texts remains a fundamental part of my scholarship and pedagogy. She co-curated an exhibition called Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture with Professor Yuhang Li (University of Wisconsin, Madison) at UChicago’s Smart Museum of Art, which ran Feb-June 2014. She is also currently writing a book on the culture of musical entertainment and its relationship to courtesans, opera, and material culture in early modern China (the late Ming and early Qing). Professor Zeitlin’s collaborations also include a multi-year project inspired by an extraordinary late Ming pipa in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with China-based contemporary composer Yao Chen and pipa virtuoso Lan Weiwei.

Workshop coordinators:


Anne Rebull is a PhD candidate in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. She earned her bachelor’s in East Asian Studies and Music at the College of William and Mary in 2004, and her masters in EALC at the University of Chicago in 2009. Her research focuses on the aesthetic and political changes to traditional Chinese opera before and after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Aside from the traditional performing arts, her research interests include Chinese theater, cinema, and art that crosses media boundaries. During her years in Chicago, she has done subtitling work for film and opera, and her translations have appeared in Opera Quarterly. She has spent time in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with fellowships from the Institute of International Education and the Blakemore Foundation.
Amy Stebbins researches the intersection of arts and politics in theater, film and opera, with a focus on acting and performance. Her dissertation project will explore the politics and aesthetics of theater in Berlin from 1989-2001. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Amy worked for several years at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, and she continues to direct and dramaturg in Germany and the Untied States. She is a recipient of the University of Chicago Arts-Science Grant (2010) and the Student Fine Arts Fellowship (2013). She is also an alumna of the Deutsche Bank Foundation’s Akademie Musiktheater Heute. Recent productions include “MAKING A (RE)ENTRANCE Parts I and II” at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, and “Musical Land” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Amy graduated from Harvard University in 2007 with a B.A. in History and Literature, and received a Fulbright Scholar for the 2007-2008 academic year.

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