New undergraduate degree in musical theatre available

Marshall University’s College of Arts and Media is offering a new Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree with a major in musical theatre.

Approved by the university in late spring, the program will be jointly directed by the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance, with the course content balanced among music, theatre and dance.  Courses will be taught by faculty in both schools.

Students will have coursework in all three performance areas and will have regular opportunities to perform, both in workshop settings and in large staged performances.  Like the major programs in music and theatre, students will begin taking courses in the major from their first semester at Marshall.

The curriculum for this B.F.A. degree program was designed by a committee made up of faculty from the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance, along with Dr. Susan Tusing, director of the School of Music, and Lang Reynolds, director of the School of Theatre and Dance.

“It’s a terrific program that we’ve been working on for some time that really brings together the strengths of music, theatre and dance,” Reynolds said. “I think students will really be excited about this new program.”

The new major “is designed for students who have a desire to perform and specialize in musical theatre and for whom a traditional major in theatre or in music does not quite align with their performance goals,” Tusing said. “Many music and theatre students fall in love with performing musicals in high school, and we think that this new program will help us reach those students as well as enrich our performance offerings in the College of Arts and Media.

“The theatre faculty have found that every year a vast majority of students inquiring about theatre studies are specifically interested in musical theatre,” Tusing added. “Also, this major may be an intriguing option for students who have participated in show choirs, which are popular in high schools in this region.  We think this will become a popular major in our college.”

This fall, Marshall will seek accreditation of this program by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), which accredits the music degree programs at Marshall.

More information about the program will be made available during the summer and fall, and it is not too late to audition to enroll in the program this fall.  Students who are interested in learning more about the new musical theatre program, including information about the audition process, may contact Tusing of the School of Music at tusings@marshall.edu or Reynolds of the School of Theatre and Dance at reynoldsh@marshall.edu.