Who Am I? I Am What I Am!

A Performative Autoethnography written by

Christopher Cayari

While popular culture and media icons including musicians, athletes, actors, and authors have become champions for identities that are not heteronormative, many educational institutions still have policies that allow and even encourage discrimination toward queer individuals. Young people face the persistent issue of the under-representation or misrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people in school curricula. It is possible to help LGBTQ+ students better understand themselves, explore their communities’ histories, and feel empowered by incorporating inclusive practices that allow students to perform music and theater that expresses LGBTQ+ voices and tells their stories.

Who Am I? I Am What I Am is a 45-minute musical theater review that depicts LGBTQ+ characters in a performance you will not forget! Dr. Christopher Cayari tells his story through music theater songs, original prose, and verse. As a K-12 music teacher, Christopher avoided the topic of sexuality in his classroom; he used to think that LGBTQ+ issues had no place in school. This performance tells his journey of acceptance, empowerment, and activism that began when he realized that portraying LGBTQ+ characters through song and on stage was not only appropriate for young people, but also necessary for the representation of this population. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be entertained!

Excerpt from Who Am I? I Am What I Am!

High Praise for

Who Am I? I Am What I Am!

Through this shared emotional, musical journey of self-awareness, Christopher Cayari helps to demystify LGBTQ issues and help others empathize with the realities of life as a gay young man and academic. Everyone should see this show. - Ruth Wright, Professor of Music Education, Western Ontario University

Christopher bravely empowers this community through the lens of his own life as he reflects on moving through the fear of expression as a young teen by choosing to musically verbalize highly personal moments in a superbly well-thought out musical and emotional journey. - Sarah Wigley, Assistant Professor of Voice and Musical Theater Resident Director, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This intimate and moving performance piece speaks to inclusion, diversity, and the courage to know and embrace the truth of who we are. Vulnerable, celebratory, and empowering, “Who am I…” reaches out in all directions and deserves a platform at fringe festivals, professional theatres, social justice events, music and theatre programs, and LGBTQ centers. Voiceless and long-marginalized members of humankind will find communion, strength, and liberation in “Who am I…" - Richard Stockton Rand, Professor of Theatre and Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, Purdue University

Audio of the Show

Click here for a downloadable format of the whole show.

Upcoming Performances

Purdue University

Date: Fall 2018

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

Refreshments served following the performance provided by the Purdue University Faculty of Color Network

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February 23, 2023

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May 28, 2023

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Date: Fall 2018

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

West Lafayette, IN

HOTCon

Date: October 27

Time: TBD

Location: IUPUI

Indianapolis, IN

Teachers College Columbia

Date: Spring 2019

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

New York, NY

University of Massachusetts

Date: Spring 2019

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

Amherst, MA

Gettysburg College

Date: Spring 2019

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

Gettysburg, PA