Applications are due by December 1. Late applications may be accepted for a few days after the deadline, but late applicants will be reviewed and scheduled for an audition, if space remains, after on-time applicants.
Most of the classes relate to performance, with courses in drama, music, dance and musical theatre. General academic studies total one-fourth of the degree requirements. As a first-year student, your public performances will be limited and you will spend much of your time developing techniques in voice, dance and acting, as well as beginning your academic requirements. After one year in the Department, Musical Theatre majors are encouraged to audition for all productions — musicals, plays, films, operas and dance concerts.
Specialized courses are devoted to voice and performance, scene study, audition techniques, career opportunities, musical theatre history, choreography, musical theatre dance (including ballet, jazz, tap, and styles) and cabaret performance. Supplementing these areas are general courses in theatre history, stagecraft, piano, music history, stage management, makeup, music theory and theatre analysis. A major component of the Department during the first four semesters of enrollment is counseling to help you assess your progress and to provide guidelines for your last two years of study. An overall performance evaluation is conducted at the end of the sophomore year.
The Musical Theatre Department maintains an enrollment of approximately 80 undergraduate students. There is no graduate program.
Each fall, 22-24 new students are admitted from the nearly 600 who apply.
Michigan offers extraordinary performance outlets. Revues, Broadway musicals, operettas, new and experimental works — all of these are part of the daily life of a Musical Theatre student. Productions presented by the Department have ranged from a lavish revue saluting the music of Broadway composer Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, City of Angels, The Life) to the world premiere of a musical by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and Joe Raposo entitled A Wonderful Life, based on the popular Jimmy Stewart film. The Department presented the first revival since Broadway of the legendary Kurt Weill/Alan Jay Lerner 1948 musical, Love Life. Other shows have included A Chorus Line (directed by Tim Millett, who played Zach on Broadway), 42nd Street (directed by Debra Ann Draper, who was the dance captain for the Broadway production), Sunday in the Park with George, and The Most Happy Fella. Another production, Quilt, inspired by stories connected with the AIDS memorial quilt, has music composed by UM graduate Michael Stockler. Department students also participated in a staged reading on campus of the new musical Summer of '42, written by two graduates, David Kirshenbaum and Hunter Foster.
In addition, Musical Theatre majors often participate in MUSKET shows (student-produced musicals), Basement Arts shows, Gilbert and Sullivan Society operettas, faculty-directed plays, and productions by the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre as well as the Michigan Opera Theatre. The University is also affiliated with the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, headed by actor Jeff Daniels.
A particular strength of the University of Michigan is the variety of theatres in which students perform, ranging from an intimate arena theatre to a modern, 1,300-seat theatre with a proscenium stage.
The Musical Theatre faculty encourages students who show aptitude to pursue other areas of interest, such as composition, stage direction, choreography and the writing of lyrics and librettos. In addition, students need to learn as much as possible about backstage areas of production. You will have many opportunities to learn technical theatre skills, such as painting, scene design, costuming, makeup and property construction. You may also serve as an assistant to a director.
No single route is followed by graduates of the Musical Theatre Department. Many pursue careers in New York City or Los Angeles; some go on to graduate study, while others work in not-for-profit theatres or in television. A major advantage of the degree is the Senior Showcase, in which graduating seniors present scenes and songs for agents and casting directors in New York City.
Recent graduates have appeared in the Broadway or touring productions of Show Boat, Miss Saigon, The Secret Garden, Forever Plaid, The Will Rogers Follies, Les Misérables, Side Show, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Fosse, Fiddler on the Roof, Footloose, State Fair, Cats, Rent, Titanic, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Beauty and the Beast, Candide and Carousel, as well as in not-for-profit theatres such as the Old Globe Theatre, the Goodspeed Opera House, the McCarter Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, Theatreworks USA, and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
The Musical Theatre Department is dedicated to maintaining ties with the professional theatre community. As a student at Michigan, you will meet many people with active and important careers in the field. Guests have included:
Andre De Shields (The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin')
Frank Rich (former theatre critic for The New York Times)
Sheldon Harnick (lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello!, The Apple Tree)
Cy Coleman (composer of Sweet Charity, City of Angels, The Life)
Maureen McGovern (popular recording artist and stage performer)
John Cullum (Northern Exposure, On a Clear Day..., Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century)
Barbara Cook (The Music Man, Candide, She Loves Me)
Hal Cooper (Hollywood director of All in the Family, Maude, The Dick Van Dyke Show,
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Gilligan’s Island, and a UM graduate)
Armelia McQueen (Ghost, Ain’t Misbehavin’)
Jack O’Brien (Broadway director, artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, and a UM graduate)
Stuart Ostrow (Broadway producer of Pippin, The Apple Tree, 1776, M. Butterfly)
Michael Maguire (Tony Award-winner for Les Misérables and a UM graduate)
David Craig (renowned teacher of Musical Theatre performance technique)
Pat McCorkle (New York Casting Director)
Richard Maltby and David Shire (Big, Closer than Ever)
Patti LuPone (Evita, Master Class, Sunset Boulevard)
Susan Stroman (Choreographer of Crazy for You, Show Boat, Steel Pier)
Representatives from Johnson-Liff Casting, and Jay Binder Casting
Mark Simon (Livent US Casting Director) and Jeffrey Huard (Livent Senior Musical Supervisor), New York City
Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along, And the World Goes 'Round, Sweeney Todd)
Jim Brennan and Karen Ziemba (Crazy for You)
Ben Whiteley (Musical director, national tours of Falsettos, Big, and Grand Hotel,UM graduate )
Malcolm Ewen (Stage manager of Paul Simon’s Capeman and of Steppenwolf Theatre Company)
Jeffrey Seller (Producer of Rent, Avenue Q and a UM graduate)
Alan Eisenberg (Executive Director of Actors' Equity)
GUYS AND DOLLS
A Tradition of Great Musical Theatre!
THE LARAMIE PROJECT
MY COUNTRY'S GOOD
UNDER MILK WOOD
MT DEPARTMENT 25th ANNIVERSARY GALA CONCERT
A GOOD BOY
CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE
THE WATER (premiere)
MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
WEST SIDE STORY
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
THE MUSIC MAN
SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
THE MOST HAPPY FELLA
A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
INTO THE WOODS
IF MY FRIENDS COULD SEE ME NOW: A Tribute to Cy Coleman
THE THREEPENNY OPERA
A CHORUS LINE
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM
ON THE TOWN
LOVE LIFE (1st Revival since Broadway 1948)
A WONDERFUL LIFE (premiere)
I'VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE: A Tribute to Jule Styne
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