Welcome, and thank you for visiting this archive of my professional, scholarly, and creative work. I’m a university professor, graduate program administrator, entertainment historian, world religionist, actor, director, and singer / songwriter. I have taught Communication, Theatre, and Religious Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels since 1987.
I am also a family history enthusiast.
In sum, taking a cue from World Religions scholar John L. Esposito, I am a “StoryDweller.”
My current research and writing prospectus includes the first full-length biography of the actor Thomas Ackley Lyne (1806-1890), who in the 1840s staged the earliest professional theatre productions sanctioned by any American English-speaking religious community, a full generation before any other faith tradition followed suit. You can read more about my research on Tom Lyne here.
Since 1993, Dr. David Frantz and I have been collaborating on free-form acoustic songs that we call Living Room Music (find us on Facebook by clicking here). From 2012 through 2017, David and I were Artists-in-Residence for the Randall L. Tobias Leadership Conference. The on-site compositions from those years are available for listening here on the Living Room Music page. I was also a founding member of the folk band Kindling. My daughter, the artist Brooks Krähenbühl Eisenbise, and I have appeared as a featured performers at On Earth Peace’s annual itinerant Song and Story Fest.
I live in Fairland, Maryland with my wife, Nancy Laubach Smith.
My site logo (right) depicts the ground plan of the theatre at Epidauros, the most perfectly preserved performance space that has survived from the ancient world.
The inscription, “στην αρχή ήταν η παράσταση” — “In the beginning was the performance” — takes its inspiration from the opening passage of John Dominic Crossan’s The Historical Jesus (HarperCollins, 1993). Crossan starts his book by echoing the first sentences of both the book of Genesis (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”) and of John’s gospel (“In the beginning was the word”):
“In the beginning was the performance;
not the word alone, not the deed alone,
but both indelibly marked with each other forever.”