Category Archives: PhD_

Doctoral terminus …

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Since my diagnosis (2010) I’ve cried just a handful of times … cried for the loss of opportunity, the denial of possibilities, the tarnishing of the future.  It’s generally been over minor concepts and abstract notions, things like: I will never run again; I won’t be able to dance to music; must I forget the piano and burn the Grainger and the Gottschalk; travel may be too hard, no more delights from other lands. Despite these limitations, in general I’ve remained determined and singularly focussed on ‘the possible’. I have a partner who makes it so.

So imagine my surprise when several weeks ago I concluded a telephone conversation with a Graduate Research supervisor at UWA and found myself hunched on the floor, blubbering.

It had been an affable conversation – no, better than affable, it had been kind and full of care. Dr Juniper had listened closely and with empathy AND sympathy (one phrase especially had me thunderstruck, “It’s not fair that you have to deal with this”). She had let me reach my own conclusion from the two options we had discussed – whether to remain enrolled with an extension of time, or to withdraw, finally and completely. I chose the latter, on the understanding that I can still submit the thesis for marking should I ever complete it. The decision seemed right, considered, balanced, ripe with wisdom. And still there I was, hunched and heaving … Continue reading

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Sound of Music

The Sound of Music (1959) was the last musical by Rodger’s and Hammerstein – hopefully it won’t be mine! I have a teensy part in the ICW Productions production at the Regal Theatre in July. I am, consequently, sufficiently removed from the production to observe the piece itself.

As with most folk, I grew up on a slender diet of movie musicals, the most notable of which was the Christopher Plummer/Julie Andrews film version, one of the rare instances where the film was an improvement on the original stage (I’ve seen 3 stage productions and cared little for them). Continue reading

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The Papers of Broadway

If you’re going to tread the path of historical research (and undertaking a PhD exploring the development of the Broadway musical will certainly demand it of you), you will surely arrive at a destination that speaks ARCHIVE. And upon entering the archive, the treasures therein – or part of the treasures, at least – will be the papers that belonged to some-one or some-thing.

The Papers … notebooks, letters, diaries, unpublished writings, drafts. Literary gold. Bejewelled history. Hallowed ground.

I’m doing this PhD thing. At The University of Western Australia. Fascinated by the term musical theatre, I wanted to find out how music and theatre intersect on the musical stage in this complex twining of  two rich cultural forms. And because I laboured for so long on the book of Nostradamus, I decided to research the works of a major bookwriter for the Broadway musical stage in the twentieth-Century ; and I’ve found myself looking through the looking glass and drawn down and into the strange depths of libaries and archives, the realm of history and the kingdom of the highly personal.

It all started with my research on Peter Stone(1930-2003), one of the men behind the seminal stage show 1776 (long a personal favourite of mine), Continue reading

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