The verse novel as musical drama: Vanishing Point as case study

Jeri Kroll, Leslie Jacobson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Jeri Kroll’s verse novel, Vanishing Point, exists as a text and a performance piece, adapted for the stage by Leslie Jacobson. Productions at George Washington University and Horizons Theatre from 2009 led to a staged reading at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ‘Page to Stage’ Festival (2011), followed by a professional workshop with original music (2012). In 2014, a 90-minute performance with musical score by Roy Barber was produced at George Washington University. That version became a winner in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Puncher and Wattman published the verse novel, shortlisted for the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards. This article takes a case study approach, using the adaptation in America of Vanishing Point into musical drama. It discusses the suitability of a verse novel for adaptation, provides context about American musical drama and focuses on shows that break new ground through dealing with challenging social and psychological material. Vanishing Point treats a young woman’s struggle to overcome anorexia and bulimia. The article explores music and emotion in drama and concentrates on the composer’s, director’s and poet’s interpretations of how music and lyrics shape the production’s affect. These ‘emic’ perspectives strengthen the case study methodology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-66
    Number of pages20
    JournalNew Writing: The International Journal For The Practice and Theory of Creative Writing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


    • music and emotion
    • Musical drama
    • performance-as-research
    • theatre for social change
    • verse novel


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