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Tracey Chessum

Assistant Professor of Music Theatre Techniques

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Theater and Performance Studies, University of Maryland
  • M.A., Humanities, California State University
  • M.M., Music Performance: Conducting, Azusa Pacific University
  • B.A., Music Communications: Theater, The Master's College

Courses Taught

  • Musical Theatre Foundations
  • Musical Theatre History
  • Musical Theatre Techniques I and III
  • New Musical Laboratory


Hailing from Los Angeles, Calif., Tracey Elaine Chessum, Ph.D, has taught music and theatre on all levels of education, winning awards for curriculum design and performance. She is equally active in the professional theatre realm, having worked as a director, producer, music director and conductor, and sound designer at theaters across the country.

Chessum holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland, and her theatrical scholarship focuses on musical theatre between 1880 and the First World War (with a particular focus on the comic operas of John Philip Sousa). She is, also, the founding Artistic Director of Pallas Theatre Collective in Washington, D.C., a company that is passionate about developing new works of musical theatre to ensure the continuance of America's great musical theatre tradition.


Professional Memberships

  • Associate Member, Stage Directors and Choreographers Union
  • Treasurer, American Theatre and Drama Society
  • Board Member, Journal of American Drama and Theatre
  • Association of Theatre in Higher Education

Artistic Works: Directing

  • Crazy Mary Lincoln, Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Pallas Theatre Collective
  • code name: CYNTHIA, Pallas Theatre Collective, Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival
  • As You Like It: Grunge Edition, Ball State University
  • Carrie: The Musical, Muncie Civic Theatre
  • The Fall of the House of Usher, Pallas Theatre Collective
  • The Fantasticks, University of Maryland Music


  • Chessum, Tracey Elaine. "Songs of Salaried Warriors: Copyright, Intellectual Property, and John Philip Sousa's The Free Lance." Working in the Wings: Theatre, Performance, and History in Process, ed. Christine Woodworth & Beth Osborne. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015.
  • "The Charlatan with Guest Blogger Tracey Chessum," New York Public Library of Musical of the Month Blog Series, Sept. 16, 2011.
  • "The Charlatan: Flexible Operetta and Micro-History (guest blogger)," New York Public Library Musical of the Month Blog Series, 2011.


  • "Patriotic Opportunists or Imperial Propaganda: The Revising of Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Musicals to Support American Expansion Interests," MATC Regional Conference, Cleveland, Ohio, 2014.
  • "'Think of the Bright Furniture ... I mean Future!': The Democratization of Desire on the Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Broadway Stage," ATHE National Conference, Orlando, Fla., 2013.
  • "'Am I a Yankee Doodle Dandy?': Constructions of American Identity in Musical Theatre Across Genres and Geography between 1880 and 1910," ATHE National Conference, Washington, D.C., 2012.
  • "Songs of Salaried Warriors: Copyright, Intellectual Property and John Philip Sousa's The Free Lance," MATC Regional Conference, Chicago, Ill., 2012.
  • "Revivals of John Philip Sousa's Comic Operas: Patriotic Opportunists or Political Propaganda?," ATHE National Conference, Chicago, Ill., 2011.

Production Awards and Honors

  • 2016 John Aniello Emerging Theatre Award Nominee, Helen Hayes Awards
  • Best Director of a Musical, Best of 2015 D.C. Metro Theatre Arts: Tracey Elaine Chessum
  • Best Musical, Best of 2015 D.C. Metro Theatre Arts, code name: CYNTHIA
  • Best Projection Design, Best of 2015 D.C. Metro Theatre Arts, Tracey Elaine Chessum
  • Best New Theatre Company, Runner Up, Washington City Paper, Pallas Theatre Collective
  • Best Director of a New Musical, Best of 2014, Tracey Elaine Chessum
  • Best Musical, Best of 2014, The Fall of the House of Usher

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