Kim Marra

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Kim Marra
American Studies and Theatre
134 Theatre Building
(319) 353-2402

Kim Marra is a theatre historian who specializes in U.S. theatre and performance mainly in New York City at the turn into the twentieth century. From 2008 to 2011, she served as chair of the Department of American Studies. Her book Strange Duets: Impresarios and Actresses in American Theatre, 1865-1914 (U of Iowa Press) won the 2008 Joe A. Callaway Prize awarded biennially for the best book on theatre and drama by the NYU Department of English. Other publications include four co-edited volumes from the University of Michigan Press: Showing Off, Showing Up: Studies of Hype, Heightened Performance, and Cultural Power, co-edited with Laurie Frederik and Catherine Schuler (2017); Passing Performances: Queer Readings of Leading Players in American Theater History (1998), its sequel Staging Desire (2002), and The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era (2005). Her articles and reviews have appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TDR, Theatre Topics, Theatre Annual: A Journal of Performance Studies, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and ATQ: Journal of 19th Century American Literature and Culture. A former Secretary and Executive Committee member of the American Society for Theatre Research, she has also served as Book Review Editor and Editorial Board member of Theatre Survey. She is an elected member and current Board member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre.  She also currently serves as Associate Editor of the Animal Lives Series of the University of Chicago Press. A lifelong horse lover and former competitor in the cavalry-derived sport of three-day eventing, she developed a 75-minute autobiographical solo piece entitled Horseback Views: A Queer Hippological Performance linking her family history with Thoroughbreds to the wider Anglo-American equestrian tradition.  She has presented this piece at several academic conferences and at a professional venue, Chicago’s Links Hall, in a series of performances about animals curated by Holly Hughes. She is currently writing a book in conjunction with developing a digital video project called “The Pull of Horses in Urban American Performance, 1865-1930.” For the past two summers (2017 and 2018), she co-directed the Animal Studies Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with Jane Desmond.


  • 45:230 Performing Arts in American Culture: America through the Theatre
  • 45:230 Performing Arts in American Culture: Performance Studies/American Studies
  • 45:299 American Studies Proseminar: Queer American Performance History
  • 45:156 Arts in America: Starmakers and Impresarios
  • AMST:2950/THTR:2450 Animals and Performance in US Culture
  • AMST/GWSS/THTR:3430 Women on Stage