The Musical-Theatrical Global South
A special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre 
Call For Papers - deadline extended to May 15

While the term “global south” has gained currency over the past decade among thinkers and policy makers in economics, political science, and sociology, for example, it is rarely discussed in North American musical theatre study and practice. More than merely a cartography of regions in some ways aligned with areas previously framed as the “Third World,” the concept also usefully activates solidarity among geographically disparate places similarly subject to exploitation by wealthier nations and populations. With this project, we seek to mobilize the organizing principle of the global south to catalyze productive conversations about musical stages and screens beyond the mythic and hegemonic spaces of Broadway, Hollywood, and the West End. 

Throughout the global south Cuban zarzuelas, South African jazz operas, and a dazzling array of musical comedy films emanating from culture hubs in Mumbai, Cairo, and Mexico City have long thrived alongside imports from New York, Los Angeles, and London. A consideration of the musical-theatrical global south flips the script on longstanding narratives and sounds of exoticization that Broadway-style musicals so often serve up in shows purporting to represent the global south. Our project seeks to surface insights into local expressions of musical-theatrical forms and allow for comparative study and cross-pollination of practices, displacing unspoken beliefs in the anglocentric origins and exceptionalist nature of “the musical.” 

We invite submissions from scholars, artists, and writers on the topic of musical-theatrical performance in various countries thought of as the global south for a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Studies in Musical Theatre. We welcome essays, papers, conversations with artists, and performance reviews on “the musical-theatrical” broadly defined. We understand musical-theatrical to encompass a wide array of styles, traditions, and works, especially local expressions. We encourage contributions that engage performances on the musical stage inclusive of and extending beyond what is often thought of as a “musical.” 

Contributions may include: 

  • comparative analysis of vaudeville and revue performances that travel by various names (teatro de revista, concert party theatre, music festival) 
  • studies of cabaret and nightclub performing artists who came to prominence across the global south in previous historical eras 
  • mapping the dynamics of musical-theatrical performance venues along hemispheric and international circuits inclusive of global south locales 
  • interviews with or research on significant architects of musical-theatrical performance (composers, lyricists, translators, directors, choreographers, filmmakers, etc.) 
  • assessment of state-sponsored shows that stage song, dance, and story/comedy in service of national projects and propaganda 
  • media, television, and film works produced in the global south that cite and reanimate contemporary and/or historical expressions of musical-theatrical performance 
  • consideration of musical-theatrical performances innovated by immigrant communities both within the global south and in global north locales 
  • studies of how mask, makeup, puppetry, and/or costume conventions engage along global transits of blackface or brownface minstrelsy to configure local understandings of race, song, and comedy 
  • analyses of the practices and implications of re-mounting Broadway or West End musical theatre works vs. locally produced, large-scale productions also branded as global north-style “musicals” 
  • (re)considerations of how the global south is represented in mainstream international musical theatre circuits and productions 
  • theories about musical-theatrical aesthetics specific to, or prominent within, certain global south geographies 

Please submit a 250-word abstract by May 15, 2023 to co-editors Masi Asare (  and Emilio Méndez ( with the subject heading “MT Global South.” Completed essays will be due December 1, 2023. Issue 18.3 will be published in 2024. 

You are welcome to email Masi Asare or Emilio Méndez  with questions.