Maya Cantu

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A dramaturg, theater historian, and author of American Cinderellas on the Broadway Musical Stage (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Maya Cantu specializes in twentieth-century American theater.


A dramaturg and theater historian, Cantu specializes in twentieth-century American theater. Her research focuses on Broadway musicals, plays, and the variety stage, as well as their interdisciplinary connections with film and literature. She is the author of American Cinderellas on the Broadway Musical Stage: Imagining the Working Girl from Irene to Gypsy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which explores how Broadway musicals from the 1920s through the 1950s transformed the Cinderella narrative in order to address changing social and professional roles for American women.

As dramaturgical advisor since 2013 at Off-Broadway’s Mint Theater Company, presenting “worthy but neglected plays,” Cantu has worked on productions of Hazel Ellis’s Women Without Men (1938), Harold Chapin’s The New Morality (1912), George Kelly’s The Fatal Weakness (1946) and Philip Goes Forth (1931), John Van Druten’s London Wall (1931), and as production dramaturg on Ferenc Molnár’s Fashions for Men(1917). Her essays and reviews have been published in Studies in Musical TheatreNew England Theatre JournalTheatre Journal, the New York Public Library’s “Musical of the Month” series, and in the upcomingThe Palgrave Handbook of Musical Theater Producers. BA, James Madison University; MFA and DFA, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Yale School of Drama. Cantu joined the Bennington faculty in Fall 2016.