Program Total Credits: 123
The four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theater Program prepares students for professional careers as performers in the musical theater or for continued study in graduate school. The program defines “musical theater” in a way that embraces the richness and diversity of this challenging interdisciplinary art form, which includes musical comedy, the musical play in the Hammerstein-Sondheim tradition, new and alternative music theater, “Broadway opera,” cabaret, and revue. Students receive the same technique training as acting majors in their first five semesters. This training is complemented by training in vocal technique, musicianship, dance, and the study of the repertoire of the musical theater in print and recordings, as well as in rehearsal and performance.
Actor training lies at the heart of the two-performance curricula in the School of Theatre Arts. The training is designed to cultivate the actor’s ability to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” Students develop an understanding that such truth begins with a shared interconnectedness between actors onstage.
Early technique studies, for majors in both acting and musical theater, emphasize the “reality of doing” is rooted in a full emotional life, driven by action, and expressed with meaning, clarity, and theatricality. To this end, students are challenged to cultivate a fuller understanding of themselves, and to continually exercise their skills as analysts of text and as observers of human behavior.
The program introduces students to a range of training methods, including Linklater, Meisner, IPA, LeCoq, Williamson, Fitzmaurice, and Laban, as a part of their training. The successful student should emerge from the program with a practicable performance technique in place, which enables her/him to develop and sustain a role from first rehearsal to closing night.
Students completing these programs are also expected to be knowledgeable about a variety of styles and types of drama, and the challenges presented by each; to work in a vocally and physically free and efficient manner; to be able to identify their character type and its potential range within the casting conventions of the industry; to have a sense of how to begin to establish a career as a performer; and to possess a work ethic that will support the collaborative nature of theatrical production.
Students graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from the Musical Theater program will demonstrate all the competencies of the Acting major and in addition will:
- Understand how to analyze song, scene and play structure, identify dramatic conflict, and craft strong choices of action and tactic.
- Demonstrate authentic, believable and expressive singing/acting choices and behavior.
- Have a solid understanding of styles encountered in the American musical theater from its inception to the present, and be able to execute appropriate and expressive choices and behavior within those styles.
- Be able to reveal both a strong sense of self and a strong sense of character in performance as the material demands.
- Demonstrate a flexible, vibrant, and expressive voice capable of expressing power and nuance in a variety of styles.
- Be able to read/learn music independently based on a solid understanding of pitch and rhythm as well as musical form; have adequate mastery at the piano for the purpose of learning music.
- Be an articulate and expressive dancer with a strong technical foundation in ballet, jazz, tap and partnering; have clear understanding of the dance styles encountered in musical theater; learn steps quickly and execute choreography in all major musical theater styles.