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Richard Pettengill

Richard Pettengill

Associate Professor of English and Theater
Chair of Theater



Music as Performance
Theater History


PhD University of Chicago
MA University of Chicago
BA Bates College

Courses Taught

English 100 - English Composition
English 110 - Introduction to Literary Studies
English 210 - Ancient and Medieval Literature
English 211 - English Literature I: The Renaissance and
Eighteenth Century
English 235 - Introduction to Creative Writing
First-Year Studies 101 - Music Performance in Chicago
First-Year Studies 118 = Chicago: The First City of Comedy
First-Year Studies 165 - Theater in Chicago
First-Year Studies 181 - Producing Plays at Victory Gardens
First-Year Studies 191 - Reading Performance in Chicago
Master of Liberal Studies 540 - Cinema and Society
Theater 226 - Improvisation Techniques
Theater 230 - Theater History I: Greeks to Shakespeare
Theater 231 - Theater History II: Moliere to Chekhov
Theater 235 - Theater History III: Shaw to Kushner
Theater 236 - Shakespeare
Theater 255 - Dramaturgy
Theater 340 - Renaissance Drama
Theater 480 - The Business of Show Business


Peter Sellars’ Merchant of Venice: A Retrospective Critique of Process Theatre Research International Vol. 31, Issue 3, Oct. 2006.

“Pitfalls of Cinematic Aspiration: The Reception of Peter Sellars’ The Merchant of Venice” Performance Research, Vol. 10, No. 3, Sept. 2005.

A Dramaturg Reenters the Academy” in The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater ed. Domnica Radulescu and Maria Stadler Fox, Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

Le Marchand De Venice: Journal de Repetitions du Dramaturge” in Peter Sellars, CNRS Editions/Voies De La Creation Theatrale, ed. and trans. F. Maurin; March, 2002.

Dramaturging Education” in Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A Sourcebook ed. Susan Jonas, Geoff Proehl, and Michael Lupu; Harcourt Brace and Company, 1997.

“Production Dramaturgy of a Classic: Moliere’s The Misanthrope at the Goodman Theatre and the La Jolla Playhouse” in Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A Sourcebook ed. Susan Jonas, Geoff Proehl, and Michael Lupu; Harcourt Brace and Company, 1997.

“Richard Pettengill: Dramaturg at the Court Theatre, Chicago” in What is Dramaturgy? ed. Bert Cardullo, New York: Peter Lang, 1995. (excerpted from “Dramaturgy at the Court and Wisdom Bridge” below). 

Dramaturgy at the Court and Wisdom Bridge” with Linda Walsh Jenkins. Yale Theater, Fall 1986.

Co-written Articles

Abt-Perkins, Dawn; Sherman, Shelley; Ragland, Rachel, Pettengill, Richard  “A Liberal Arts College Model for Content Knowledge Assessment of Teacher Candidates” Success in High Needs Schools, 5, 1: Dec. 12, 2009.

Ragland, Rachel G.; Abt-Perkins, Dawn; Pettengill, Richard, “Dimensions of Collaborative Faculty Development Academic Exchange Quarterly, Winter 2008.

Pettengill, Richard; Abt-Perkins, Dawn; Buckley, Shannon, “Teaching Difficult Dramatic Texts:  A Collaborative Inquiry Using Dramaturgy” English Journal, 99, 3, Jan. 2010.

Pettengill, Richard; Abt-Perkins, Dawn; Buckley, Shannon “The Plough and the Stars on Campus and in the Community: A Proposed Model for Dramaturgical Collaboration Between Colleges and Schools” Theatron, under review.

Shorter Articles, Interviews

The Cripple of Inishmaan: Deceptively Well Made,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater website, 2010.

Gabe Greene and Richard Pettengill Interview, Talk Theater in Chicago, May 2007.

The Historical Perspective: An Interview with August Wilson”;  in August Wilson: A Casebook, ed. Marilyn J. Elkins, New York and London: Garland, 1994., reprinted in Conversations with August Wilson, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and Mary C. Hartig, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006.

Memory House: Where the Personal and the Political Converge” Victory News subscriber newsletter, and Chicago Plays program book, Victory Gardens Theater, Sept. 2005.

Acting, Ensemble” “Playwriting” (with Andrea Telli) The Encyclopedia of Chicago, ed. James R. Grossman, Ann Durkin Keating, Janice L. Reiff; Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press, 2004.

“Education and Community Programs at the Goodman Theatre, 1996” in Dramaturgy in American Theatre: A Sourcebook ed. Susan Jonas, Geoff Proehl, and Michael Lupu; Harcourt Brace and Company, 1997.

Alternatives…Opposites…Convergences: An Interview with Lloyd Richards”; in August Wilson: A Casebook, ed. Marilyn J. Elkins, New York and London: Garland, 1994.

“Finding the Voice: Chicago Playwrights” Exhibit Catalog, Department of Special Collections, Chicago Public Library, 1989.

“Dramaturg Dramaturgy” with Francis J. Pettis and Stuart J. Hecht. Humanities: Journal of the Illinois Humanities Council, Spring, 1986.


Hamlet (review) Shakespeare Bulletin, (Fall 2007).

“Brian Hendersons’s A Critique of Film Theory.” Literature/Film Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1982.

“Pursuing Philosophy,” Stanley Cavell’s Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage.   Quarterly Review of Film Studies, Fall 1982.

Presentations (selected)

“Performing Collective Improvisation: The Grateful Dead’s ‘Dark Star’ 1972” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA), San Antonio, 2011.

“Performance Studies and Improvisation” Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE), Denver, 2008

“Popular Music Studies and Performance Studies” International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), Boston, Mass. 2007.

“Performing Authenticity in Long Form Improvisation,” Keynote Panel: “Bringing Up Baby: Developing Methodology and Pedagogy in Interdisciplinary Performance Studies Based Research,” Pre-Conference of the Performance Studies Focus Group of the Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE), Chicago, 2006

“Metatheatricality and Death in Webster’s The White Devil,” Renaissance Drama in Action, Toronto, 2006

“Living Subjects: A Dramaturg Writes About Process” American Society for Theater Research (ASTR), Chicago IL, 2006

“Focus on The Tempest” on panel: “When Dramaturgy Come Knocking: Dramaturgy and the Liberal Arts” Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), San Francisco, 2005

“Reading/Re-reading Sellars’ Merchant: A Dramaturg Looks Back,” (chair and panelist) Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Toronto, Canada, 2004.

Previous Employment
1988-2000: Dramaturg/Director of Arts in Education, Goodman Theatre

Member of Goodman Artistic Staff.  Served as dramaturg on Goodman Theatre productions:

Moliere’s The Misanthrope, adapted by Neil Bartlett, directed by Robert Falls, 1989

Gelbart, Shevelove, and Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, directed by Frank Galati, 1990

Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, adapted by David Mamet, directed by Michael Maggio, 1990

August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, directed by Jonathan Wilson, 1991

William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Neil Bartlett, 1992

Wings: A Musical-Theatre Piece, from the play by Arthur Kopit, music by Jeffrey Lunden, book & lyrics by Arthur Perlman, directed by Michael Maggio, 1993

Mikhail Bulgakov’s Black Snow, directed by Michael Maggio, 1993

Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, directed by Kyle Donnelly, 1993

Tennesee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, directed by Robert Falls, 1994

William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, directed by Peter Sellars, 1994

Eugene O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet, directed by Robert Falls, 1996

August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Chuck Smith, 1998

Aided season selection process.  Conceived and implemented education and community programs, including: Student Subscription Series (provided free season subscription for 1400 high school students annually, worked with teachers to provide educational support, edited student and teacher guides, produced/directed/edited educational video-documentaries, ran teacher seminars, led post-show discussions; gave public lecture series at Chicago Cultural Center; co-founder of Chicago Arts Collaborative for Teachers training workshop; conceived, fund-raised, and ran summer Youth Drama Workshops in a Chicago Housing Authority development and in Pilsen. Aided in grant writing for all Arts in Education programs. Researched and wrote for OnStage subscriber newsletter and program.

1982-86: Dramaturg, Court Theatre at the University of Chicago

Worked on over 20 productions, including Antigone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Rivals, The Master Builder, Misalliance, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Birthday Party. Aided season selection process, researched productions, wrote program notes and newsletter articles.  Originated and directed education programs, including High School Matinee Series, public lectures, discussions, seminar.


Joseph Jefferson Committee Award for “furthering the role of the dramaturg in Chicago theater, 1986

“ABBY” award for theatre education programs, 2000, Chicago Arts and Business Council