MemberLauren Acton

Lauren Acton is faculty and program coordinator for the Performing Arts Fundamentals program and faculty for the Music Industry Arts and Performance program at Centennial College in Toronto, Canada. She is a musicologist, cultural theorist, and performer who received her PhD in musicology at York University, Toronto. Her academic research and teaching interests embrace a range of topics: musicology, popular music studies, theater studies, acting, performance studies, cultural theory, and aesthetic philosophy. Her research publications have addressed violence in Canadian musicals, analyzed the stage and screen versions of Show Boat, explored the repertoire of musicals written for children in school and community settings, and examined the intersection between tourism and musicals at the Stratford Festival of Canada.

MemberLawrence Davies

I am a researcher, pianist, and harmonica player specialising in the history of the blues. My research focuses on the international circulation of African American music and the changing political, economic, and moral values of musical production and consumption during the twentieth century. I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University, working on a project entitled Global Blues: Performance, Politics, and Meaning 1980-2016. I completed my PhD – entitled British Encounters with Blues and Jazz in Transatlantic Circulation, c.1929-1960 – in April 2018. In the 2018-19 academic year, I was a postdoctoral researcher in jazz and popular music studies at the Institute for Jazz Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz.  

MemberJake Johnson


Lying in the Middle: Musical Theater and Belief at the Heart of America (U Illinois Press, 2021)

Mormons, Musical Theater, and Belonging in America (U Illinois Press, 2019)

Refereed Journal Articles
“The Music Room: Betty Freeman’s Musical Soirees.” Twentieth-Century Music (forthcoming).
“Calling Out the Nameless: CocoRosie’s Posthuman Sound World.” Journal of Popular Music Studies Vol. 29, Issue 3 (September 2017).
“‘That’s Where They Knew Me When’: The Oklahoma Senior Follies and the Narrative of Decline.” American Music Vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer 2016): 243-262.
“Elliott Carter in Los Angeles, January 12, 1994.” Elliott Carter Studies Online Vol. 1 (2016).
“Mormons, Musical Theater, and the Public Arena of Doubt.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought Vol. 48, No. 2 (Winter 2015)…

Jake Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. His research focuses primarily on twentieth-century American music, and he most recently has been investigating the place musical theatre holds within communities far removed from Times Square. His first book, A Theology of Voice: Mormons, the Musical Stage, and Belonging in America (under advance contract, University of Illinois Press), considers the practice of speaking on behalf of another person and suggests that one way to study this vocal phenomenon is by examining how Mormons frame their religious identity by, and perform a unique theology through, conventions of American musical theatre. Jake is preparing another book project, a biography of renowned Los Angeles music patron Betty Freeman. This book project situates Freeman’s patronage within theories of performance studies and sound studies to explore how female patrons have used salon culture to perform a gendered identity as nurturer and mother to the artists they financially support. Other research interests include vocal pedagogy in early repertories; aging in American musical theater; the accompanist/coach throughout opera history; and the relationship between instrument design, new tonalities, and religious fervor. Jake’s research has been published in a variety of disciplinary settings, including American Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Twentieth-Century Music, Tempo, Elliott Carter Studies Online, and Echo: A Music-Centered Journal.