Skip to main content

Jay Malarcher

Associate Professor, Theatre History & Criticism

Program Director, Theatre History & Criticism 

PhD – Louisiana State University

MA – St. John’s College
BA – Loyola University

Dr. Malarcher took a sabbatical leave for 2009-2010, having received a Fulbright lectureship to teach “American Comedy as Cultural Mirror” at the University of Zagreb in Croatia. He found the experience exceeded his expectations and is already folding his new insights gleaned from the creative and scholarly work associated with the Fulbright into his research, especially his work on comedy theory. Read Dr. Malarcher’s weblog here :


His professional experience includes teaching at Muhlenberg College, the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL) and Louisiana State University, as well as serving as dramaturg with the Dog & Pony Theatre Company, Swine Palace Productions, the McCarter Theatre, the King William Players and Playmakers Professional Children’s Theatre. His most recent professional dramaturgy work supported the world premiere of Larry Gelbart’s satire FLOODGATE, produced in New Orleans as a benefit for Hurricane Katrina arts community recovery. As a playwright, he has had original plays produced at Southern Rep, Village Gate, the Contemporary Arts Center, and Positive Space Gallery. Malarcher adapted It’s A Wonderful Life for the WVU mainstage.


As an actor, he has performed with the Summer Music Theatre at Muhlenberg, Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, and the Dog & Pony Theatre Company, among others. In 2001, he appeared in the 100 Monkeys production of Four Dogs and a Bone at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. At WVU, he has performed the role of Franklin in It’s a Wonderful Life and performed the title role in Frank Gagliano’s Father Uxbridge Wants to Marry . He has appeared in West Virginia Public Theatre’s recent A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Senex, and in Romeo and Juliet as the Prince. Glimpses of him may be seen in the films  JFK  (Oliver Stone) and Angel Heart (Alan Parker).


Malarcher has directed extensively in Louisiana and everywhere he has taught. At WVU, he has directed Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Idiots Karamazov, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Philadelphia Story, and Arsenic & Old Lace . His most recent mainstage direction was for Euripides’ The Trojan Women , using a translation by Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwen.


Known best as a scholar of comedy, he has recently been named the editor of Text & Presentation (McFarland), in conjunction with the annual Comparative Drama Conference. He is a former editor of the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s Theatre Symposium journal (U of Alabama Press) and coordinated two of its annual events. His book, The Classically American Comedy of Larry Gelbart was published by The Scarecrow Press in 2004. He is currently working on a book of comedy theory, tentatively titled The Situation of Comedy, and a book on the “verbal semiotics” of theatre.


Connect with us