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, THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, PARADE, and CITY OF ANGELS. 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), 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, founded by actor Jeff Daniels.
Musical Theatre and Theatre students produce around 20 plays each year through their own Basement Arts company. Students select the plays which they direct, design and perform. These performances are free and open to the public.
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. New in September 2006 was the Arthur Miller Theatre within the Walgreen Drama Center. Take a minute, click on the link and read about this exciting new theatre facility!
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.
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