Music Theater

MUS 217: The Musical – Past, Present, and Future

What is a musical and why should we care? As performers, writers, designers, theater fanatics, or simply pop culture consumers, we are touched by musicals every day. Reaching millions of people, this uniquely collaborative and expansive form continuously shapes our world. Students will explore the history of the American musical and develop tools to analyze musicals and their reception. They will investigate music theater through artist conversations, trips to see musicals, and expanding scholarship in the field. The class will culminate with visions of the future of the musical presented via student-written, collaborative mini-musicals.

MUS 404: Creative Musical Leadership

In this course, students will develop and implement a personal philosophy of music ensemble direction. Students will connect practice-based learning with broader theories of art-making, exploring questions about why, how, and with whom people make music. For those who dream of directing a vocal group, conducting an orchestra, music directing a musical, or even inventing a new ensemble, this process-driven course will create an environment for experimentation, risk-taking, and musical and personal growth. A background playing an instrument, singing, conducting, or composing music is required.

MUS 267: Musical Theater Writing II

This upper level musical theater writing course will delve into the creation of new musical works for the stage, with an emphasis on music as an essential dramatic language. In the first half of the course, students will explore the fundamentals of music composition, including song structure, melody, harmony, and vocal writing. In the second, students will create and workshop 15-minute musicals, harnessing music as a tool to tell stories, illuminate character, and express ideas with impact and resonance. The workshop will culminate in a presentation of these short musicals-in-progress.

MUS 303: Actor-Musicianship

A practical class. This is a workshop based class for those interested in multi-skilled performance and in how performance skills can illuminate new forms of theatre making. Ideally participants should have musical skills and be able to bring an instrument to work with. A lack of instrument would not preclude somebody from participating. It is helpful, but not necessary if students can read music. The course is also open to those interested in directing or other aspects of storytelling. It is also available to music students who are interested in all aspects of performance.