Anita Gonzalez to be honored at the 6th Annual Shirley Verrett Award Ceremony

The Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) will bestow its 6th Annual Shirley Verrett Award to Anita Gonzalez, PhD on February 8th, 2017 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Stamps Auditorium on U-M’s North Campus.

A reception will immediately follow in the lobby.

Free, reserved shuttles will be leaving from Hill Auditorium at 4:30pm and 4:45pm for the event. After the event, the shuttle will make 2 return trips from the U-M bus stop on Murfin Avenue back to Hill Auditorium. The first will leave at 6:45 pm, and the second at approximately 7pm.

This event is free and open to the public, however registration is requested.
Please click here to register!

Anita Gonzalez heads the Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies minor in SMTD and LS&A. The goal of the minor is to introduce students to literature and performance histories of diverse cultures, and to use studio practice to develop proficiency in creating new work from diverse cultural perspectives. Her research and publication interests are in the fields of ethnic performance, 19th century theatre, maritime performance, and the way in which performance reveals histories and identities in the Americas and in transnational contexts.

Dr. Gonzalez’ most recent book is a co-edited anthology with Tommy DeFrantz, Black Performance Theory (Duke University Press, 2014) that theorizes black performance in the new millennium. Her monograph Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality (University of Texas Press, 2010) is the result of a 2007 post-doctoral research fellowship in “Race, Politics, and Performance” at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (University of Texas at Austin). Other publications include articles about intersections between theatre and dance (“Negotiating Theatrics: Dialogues of the Working Man,” The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, 2015), maritime culture (“Megaship Economies and Transnational Maritime Performance,” Theatre Research International, 2014), utopia in Urban Bush Women performance (Modern Drama, 2004), archetypes of African identity in Central America (“Mambo and the Maya,” Dance Research Journal, 2004), and the pedagogy of teaching African American drama (Theatre Topics, 2009).

Gonzalez is also a director and writer who has staged dozens of productions. She views theatrical practice as a laboratory for artists and audiences to explore new ways of interacting and considering world issues at a personal level. Current writing projects include: The Living Lakes, a collaborative dance-theatre performance with Joel Valentin-Martinez about Black/Native/Latino migrations along the Midwestern Great Lakes, the musical Ybor City about Cuban cigar rollers, and the musical Ayanna Kelly about Black and Irish cultural exchange. Her directing and choreography has appeared on PBS national television and at Dixon Place, The Workshop Theatre, HereArts, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Ballet Hispanico, and other venues. She has been awarded a residency at Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center (2003) and has completed three Senior Scholar Fulbright grants. Gonzalez earned her PhD in Theater/Performance Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997). She is an Executive Board member of the National Theatre Conference, an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, a Regional Representative of The Dramatists Guild, and a member of the Executive Committee of the University of Michigan Press.

You can see more of Professor Gonzalez’s work in Ybor City: the Musical.

Ybor City is a new musical based on true events, which explores the rise of unionism and the healing of racial divides within an American community. It’s 1918, and charismatic Rafael arrives to “read” at the Fuente cigar factory. At a community Rhumba party, Rafael quickly falls for Teresa, the sister of union organizer Catalino. Trouble erupts when Catalino urges the cigar rollers to confront their greedy boss. After Catalino is found beaten, will the workers overcome cowardice and come together to fight for their rights? Who will step up to unite Ybor City?

Music and Lyrics by Dan Furman
Book by Anita Gonzalez

Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
8:00 p.m. – Friday, January 27
8:00 p.m. – Saturday, January 28
2:00 p.m. – Sunday, January 29

This event is free and open to the public, no registration or tickets required.



The Shirley Verrett Award was created in 2011 by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost in honor of the late Shirley Verrett, a teacher who “would have walked the world over for her students.” Ms. Verrett was a James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Voice at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as well as an internationally acclaimed opera singer who was one of the pioneering leaders in the generation of black opera singers. Ms. Verrett performed over 40 roles all over the world during the course of her illustrious four decade career.

The Shirley Verrett Award recognizes a faculty member whose work – teaching, performance, scholarship, or service – supports the success of female students or faculty in the arts who come from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. The Shirley Verrett award is administered by the Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) at CEW.


If you have any questions about this event, contact Jacquie Bowman at [email protected].


CEW extends special thanks to TIAA-CREF for its generous support of this event.