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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Gabriel Kahane’s Book of Travelers


Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • American Culture
  • Comparative Literature
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Composition
  • Musical Theatre
  • Musicology
  • Theatre & Drama
  • Voice
  • Business
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work


  • Read Kahne’s New Yorker article, “Learning to Look at L.A.,” about his process writing his last record, The Ambassador, which also focused on evoking place through song.
  • Examine the musical and cultural legacy of one of Kahane’s antecedents in Harry Partch, Hobo Composer (2014, University of Rochester Press).


  • How does Kahane evoke different locations and characters, both lyrically and musically?
  • How does the unique traveling space of a train impact the relationships Kahane is able to establish with the individuals dramatized in this work? Are there other settings that facilitate those kinds of relationships?
  • What statement–or statements–do you think Kahane is making about contemporary American life with this piece?