About Ryan


I’m a childhood studies scholar and musicologist currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. My research projects to date have focused on musical theater, especially when it intersects with childhood and youth, with published articles and chapters on The Wizard of Oz, Disney, and live television musicals. I’ve also done research on Sesame Street, Schoolhouse Rock, Free to Be  . . You and Me, and the Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. In my ongoing work, I’m interested in the culturally constructed meanings of musical childhoods and child musicality; queer theories of childhood; and the cultural construction of the creative and artistic child. I have an emerging interest in make-believe as a child-centered theory of performance, performativity and social acting. I look both for the ways in which popular culture texts construct the figure of the child and the ways in which “real” kids receive these texts, revise them, and participate in their self-performances. In this endeavor, I draw on my own experiences and memories as well as the accounts of other current and former kids in combination with historical research and textual analysis. I’ve been a puppeteer, a music director of school and community theater musicals, a singing teacher, and an education writer for Opera Philadelphia’s award-winning Sounds of Learning study guides. I’ve taught courses at Rutgers University-Camden, Temple University, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Holy Family University. My book, Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

You can contact me at ryan@ryanbunch.com.