Caseen Gaines

Caseen Gaines is an author, director, educator, and popular culture historian.

​His work has received praise from media outlets around the world including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Hollywood Reporter, and Esquire.

​He is the author of We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, which led to his television appearances on Entertainment Tonight and Netflix's The Movies That Made Us. His book The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History received a starred review in Booklist. His first book, Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse, was a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medalist. Its follow-up, A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic, was featured on The TV Guide Network, where Gaines also appears on a perennially televised documentary. He is also the author of the 2022 book E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History.

His latest book, When Broadway Was Black: The Triumphant Story of the All-Black Musical That Changed the World, was recently featured in the New York Times.

​Beyond his books, he has been published at Vanity Fair, io9, and New York Magazine — and has written original features for Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club, and Decider. He has also worked as a consultant and ghostwriter on several narrative nonfiction projects.

He holds a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in American Studies, where he focused on racial representations in popular culture, and, in addition to writing, is co-Artistic Director of a nonprofit theater company he cofounded in 2005 and a high school English teacher in New Jersey, where he has taught for sixteen years.

Find him online at and on social media @caseengaines.

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