I am an award-winning theatre scholar, artist, and teacher.
Hi! My name is Joe, but my students call me "Dr. D." I serve as Fine and Performing Arts Resource Specialist for the School District of Osceola County, FL, and Graduate Faculty Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Theatre at the University of Central Florida.
I hold a Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University, a M.A. in Theatre Studies from the University of Central Florida, and a B.A. in Theatre from Messiah University.
This site provides a glimpse into scholarly, artistic, and pedagogical work. Thanks for visiting!
"On the Stage, but not of the Stage: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The Christian Slave and the Advent of
Evangelical Theatre in Antebellum America.” Ecumenica: Performance and Religion, 13.2, 2020,
"The Search for a Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow: Performing Utopia with Non-Human Bodies in the Hall of Presidents" in Performance and the Disney Theme Park Experiences: The Tourist as Actor. (Palgrave Macmillan 2019).
Elected Focus Group Representative (2021-2024) of the Religion and Theatre Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).
I am a theatre scholar, artist, and teacher with a Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University. My scholarly work is published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections, including Ecumenica Journal, Theatre History Studies, and The Harold Pinter Review. I have taught at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. Currently, I serve as Fine and performing Arts Specialist for the School District of Osceola County, FL, serving 175+ arts teachers, 70,000+ students across 70+ schools across the district. I am also a Graduate Faculty Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Theatre at the University of Central Florida where I teach a graduate seminar on Dramatic Theory and Criticism.
My dissertation and ongoing book project argue that American Christianity developed as a result of the theatre’s existence by appropriating tactics of theatricality so its message might find relevancy in society. Famed revivalist preacher Charles Grandison Finney, for example, looked to the actor for ways to manipulate of the spectators’ senses. Additionally, author Harriet Beecher Stowe—who opposed the many melodramatic adaptations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin—wrote a dramatic reading of her famous novel, casting a free Black woman to play the roles. While many historians assert that nineteenth-century evangelicals were inherently antitheatrical, my work reveals the complicated nature between Christianity and the theatre. Intervening in the fields of theatre studies, religious studies, and American studies this project offers a new understanding of evangelicalism, as well as the influence of theatre on antebellum society and beyond.
I hold a Master of Arts in Theatre Studies from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, PA. I am a proud servant-leader to my field and institution, having served in elected roles at the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). In addition to my scholarship and service, I have worked professionally as a dramaturg and director. I am the proud recipient of ASTR's 2016 Thomas Marshall Graduate Student Award and SETC's 2016 Thomas Porterfield Graduate Student Award.
Originally from Long Island, NY, I currently live in Orlando, FL, with my fiancé, Harris, and cat, Horatio.