Real Thing the Musical
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DepartmentEnglish and Languages
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ABSTRACT Title of dissertations: REAL THING, THE MUSICAL Tyrone Stanley, Doctor of Philosophy, November 2017 dissertations Chair: David J. Warfield, M.F.A. Department of English and Language Arts This research demonstrates awareness of the underrepresented and misrepresented transgender heroine in dramatic literature, and looks at how playwriting, as a tool for inclusion and education, can expose stigmatized themes of sexuality and gender through the creation of an original musical with a transgender woman as its heroine. Looking at the methodology used by playwriting scholars to successfully display the craft basics of structure, theatrical language, and storytelling, this research examines and connects critical areas in transgender theory necessary to create a heroine and plot that is indicative of current states of being for transgender women. Additionally, exploring some of the darker aspects of humanity as it pertains to the transgender community and applying these findings to the storyline authenticates the characters, their individual arcs, and the general plot of the work. Real Thing, the Musical tells the story of Tammi, a transgender woman, who is arrested for murder. Tammi lives in her Bed and Breakfast home called Blushing Rose, where she both employs and cares for several other transgender women. After killing the son of a dangerous drug lord, Tammi is arrested for murder. Because she has not made a complete medical transition, and her driver’s license has not been changed to match her new identity, she is booked and held in a male facility. She is thus relegated to her former identity as Terrell Clarke. This research joins an ongoing global conversation surrounding equal opportunities and fair treatment of Transgender people. Using true accounts of brutal treatment and cases of infringement on the rights of these women, as well as documented legal and emotional battles faced by these women, a new American musical is formed.