David Savran holds a Ph.D. in theatre arts from Cornell University. His major publications include: Breaking the Rules: The Wooster Group (1988); In Their Own Words: Contemporary American Playwrights (1988); Communists, Cowboys and Queers: The Politics of Masculinity in the Work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams (1992); Taking It Like a Man: White Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture (1998); The Playwright’s Voice: American Dramatists on Memory, Writing, and the Politics of Culture (1999); and A Queer Sort of Materialism: Recontextualizing American Theatre (2003). He is coeditor of Journal of American Drama and Theatre and has served as vice president of the American Society for Theatre Research. He was a judge for the Village Voice Obie Awards for two years, a member of the nominating committee for the Lucille Lortel Awards from 2005 to 2010 and again in 2013–14, and a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 2011 and 2012.
Savran’s most recent book, Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class (2010), won the Joe A. Callaway Prize for the Best Book in Theatre or Drama and the Kurt Weill Prize. He coauthored an essay with eleven students from his class on the sociology of theatre, “‘Let Our Freak Flags Fly’: Shrek the Musical and the Branding of Diversity,” which was published in Theatre Journal in 2010. In 2012, he was awarded a Messenger Lectureship at Cornell University and a fellowship at the International Center for Interweaving Performance Cultures at the Freie Universität Berlin. His new book project theorizes branding as a cultural performance and studies the international traffic in U.S.-branded theatre since the 1990s. Focusing on musical theatre, in particular, it analyzes the cultural exchanges between the United States and Germany and the United States and South Korea.