Professor Galella researches twentieth and twenty-first century U.S. popular performance as a site of struggle over capital, race, and nation because she argues that theatre socially reproduces, challenges, and changes hierarchies. Her scholarship, teaching, and practice span the fields of African American, Asian American, and musical theatre.
Professor Galella is currently working on two book projects. The first is a critical history of Arena Stage, the earliest professional resident theatre company in Washington, D.C., and its stagings and struggles over what it means to be non-profit, black, and American. She argues that Arena Stage has not only sustained itself but thrived by producing racially liberal dramas, capitalizing upon the resources of Washington, D.C., and developing institutional practices that have helped it to accumulate economic, symbolic, and cultural capital. Based in part on this manuscript-in-progress, her award-winning article on the musical version of A Raisin in the Sun was published in Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, and her theorization of casting in Arena’s recent multiracial production of Oklahoma! was published in Theatre Journal.
Her second research project investigates the affective economy and modern manifestations of yellowface in U.S. musicals. Although yellow makeup and eye prostheses may be gone post-Miss Saigon, she contends that yellowface remains pervasive, profitable, and pleasurable. By mobilizing the aesthetic tactics of commodity racism, ironic racism, and multiracial casts in fantasy Asia, contemporary musical producers continue to perform yellowface and consumers continue to enjoy it but in ways that disavow more explicitly racist representation. These stagings of contemporary yellowface without yellowed faces have prompted what she theorizes as “feeling yellow” and Asian American artist-activists’ creative and affective critiques.
Professor Galella has presented her research at the conferences of the American Society of Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the American Studies Association, the Black Theatre Network, and the Consortium of Asian American Theatres and Artists, among others. Her work draws upon Theatre, Performance, and American Studies; Sociology of Culture; and Critical Race Theory. She has published reviews in Theatre Survey, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, and Slavic and Eastern European Performance.
At UCR, she teaches Theatre History with an emphasis on global performance, women, and critical historiography. She will also build a new course in Asian/American theatre. She has previously taught English at Hostos Community College, Speech at Baruch College and Brooklyn College, and Theatre at Eugene Lang College-The New School.
She is the Dramaturg-in-Residence of Leviathan Lab, a New York-based Asian American creative studio. For this company, she has provided dramaturgical support for projects ranging from ten-minute plays by fifth-grade students in Chinatown to new musicals inspired by Asian and indigenous ghost stories and directed by BD Wong.
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