Music Theatre

Preparing graduates to take center stage

Casting directors and talent agents take notice when they see “Elon University” on the resumes of music theatre graduates. That’s because Elon has built a reputation in the industry for producing mature, talented, energetic and creative performers. If you have your sights set on performing in music theatre, Elon will prepare you for the spotlight. The music theatre program is an intensive course of study and performance, focused on providing you with the knowledge, experience and professional exposure you need to build a successful career on stage or in graduate school. 

Working in close contact with our expert faculty, you will develop and sharpen your acting, singing and dancing skills. You will explore the theories of the craft and learn firsthand how to put those theories into practice. And you won’t have to wait in line for stage time. Beginning your first semester, you will find abundant opportunities to sharpen your skills in stage productions, concerts, revues and recitals.

Long before you graduate, you will make valuable contacts in professional music theatre by participating in master classes, auditions, conventions, competitions and workshops. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better training ground than Elon. The environment created by the talented and nurturing faculty encourages self-exploration, passion for your craft, and success. It’s a wonderful community. I worked very hard and had the time of my life.”

Lindsay K. Northen ’03

Broadway cast of “Wicked”

Innovative curriculum

Elon offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music theatre. The music theatre program admits 16 to 20 new students each year, which means each student receives the kind of close, personal attention that will bring out his or her best.

The course of study trains students in the three essential elements of music theatre: music, acting and dance. Major requirements include:

  •   Individual Voice Instruction – all four years
  •   Beginner and Advanced Music Theory
  •   Piano Class or Private Piano Lessons
  •   Acting I
  •   Acting II
  •   Acting III
  •   Performance in Music Theatre
  •   History of Music Theatre
  •   Music Theatre Literature
  •   Senior Seminar – two semesters
  •   Dance for the Musical Stage (I-IV) – all four years

Each major must also complete several electives and dance credits. Course offerings include:

  •    Mastering Your Mix
  •    Acting for the Camera
  •    Contemporary Vocals
  •    Music Theatre Styles
  •    The Fosse Legacy
  •    Music Theatre Scene Study
  •    Jazz I-III
  •    Ballet I-VI
  •    Modern I-VI
  •    Tap I-III
  •    Show Tap
  •    Beg., Int., and Adv. Jazz for Music Theatre
  •    Beg./Int. and Int./Adv. Ballet for Music Theatre

Expert faculty

At Elon, you will learn from dynamic professors who combine years of industry experience with a passion for teaching. The faculty include professional actors, musicians and dancers whose credits include performances in theatres, concert halls and opera houses on and off Broadway, throughout the nation and abroad. Among the faculty in the Department of Performing Arts are:

Ethan Andersen is the Music Director and Conductor for Elon’s Music Theatre program and a proud alumnus of the same program. Ethan has music directed and conducted the national tour of Saturday Night Fever, The Berenstain Bears Live! Off-Broadway, and the “NYC Bistro Award” winning Charlie! Anything But Basic. His original musical, HeadVoice, was produced at the New York Musical Festival, and his children’s musical, Rootabaga Express!, was recently commissioned by Flat Rock Playhouse. Ethan is also a professional performer and member of Actors’ Equity Association. www.ethan-andersen.com

Brian Kremer is an Assistant Professor of Music Theatre as well as a professional singer, actor and voice instructor. He teaches courses in voice specializing in contemporary singing and performance styles including music theatre, rock, pop, country and R&B. Brian’s current and former students can be seen performing on Broadway, off-Broadway, on tours and at various concert and commercial venues. Beyond the classroom, Brian is researching and writing The Singing Teacher’s Guide to Transgender Voices; a resource intended to aid in the development of a successful vocal pedagogy for the training of transgender singers. BFA, Carnegie Mellon University; MM, Manhattan School of Music. He also maintains Kremer Voice Design, a private voice studio providing individualized vocal instruction. www.kremervoicedesign.com

Catherine McNeela, coordinator of the music theatre program and a member of Actor’s Equity, has 25 years of experience as an actor and a director. She has performed professionally throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe in more than 100 plays, musicals and operas. She holds degrees from the College of Wooster and the University of Michigan, and was a charter member of the music theatre program at the School of Fine Arts in Banff, Canada. Her acting and voice teachers include Austin Pendleton, Clyde Vinson and Kristin Linklater.

Linda Sabo has more than 30 years of experience as a professional performer, choreographer and teacher. She founded the original dance program for musical theatre majors at Syracuse University and has also taught at the University of Michigan, Iowa State University and Interlochen National Music Camp.

Lynne Kurdziel Formato is an award winning professional director/choreographer and a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC). She has more than 30 years of experience and 300 productions to her credit, including productions at Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Artpark, Dollywood, Studio Arena Theatre and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. She directed and choreographed the European premiere of Disney’s Aladdin, the Scandinavian premiere of Young Frankenstein, and the Danish premiere of Edges for the Fredericia Teater in Denmark. Prior to her position at Elon, she served as the Director of Music Theatre for the University at Buffalo.

Visiting performers come to Elon each year to conduct seminars, workshops, performances and master classes. Among them are Kelli O’Hara, Dave Clemmons, John Bucchino, Andrea Burns, Craig Carnelia, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jason Robert Brown, Andrew Lippa, Adam Guettel , Randy Skinner and Jeff Whiting.

Early experience on stage

While classroom learning is critical, there is no substitute for getting on stage and performing. Throughout your academic career, you will have the chance to participate in productions including musicals, student-directed one-act plays, dramas, musical revues, recitals, singing ensembles, dance performances and workshops conducted by visiting performers.Recent on-campus productions include 1776, A Man of No Importance, Crazy For You, Hair, In the Heights, Jekyll & Hyde, Kiss Me, Kate, Next to Normal, Oklahoma, Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Rent, She Loves Me, Spelling Bee, Sweeney Todd, Titanic, West Side Story, and The Wild Party (Lippa), among many others.

Premier facilities

The music theatre program is housed in Center for the Arts, a 75,000-square-foot facility specifically designed for teaching and performance. The centerpiece stage is McCrary Theatre, a fully equipped performance space with seating for 575. The 125-seat Yeager Recital Hall offers a more intimate setting along with digital recording capabilities, and the center’s fully outfitted 100-seat Black Box Theatre can be configured to any arrangement, from proscenium to arena.

The Center for the Arts also houses modular practice rooms, three dance studios, a design studio, rehearsal rooms, a complete scenery shop and costume shop, computer labs, classrooms and Steinway concert grand pianos.

The brand new 13,500 square foot Scott Studios houses Roberts Theatre, a 200-seat adjustable and fully outfitted black box theatre, along with a large rehearsal hall and dance studio, practice rooms, and shop facilities.

Auditions and scholarships

Admission to Elon’s music theatre program is by audition. Audition dates are set annually in the fall and spring. View a list of upcoming audition dates.

Students may audition before being admitted to Elon; however, all offers of admission to the music theatre program are pending until a student is admitted to the university. Annual scholarships of up to $8,000 are available based on application and audition. 

Real–world experience

Most students in the performing arts programs leave Elon with professional credits on their resumes. Through internships, summer theatre work and other opportunities, you will develop significant real-world experience before you graduate. Among the venues our students have worked are the following:

  • Music Theatre of Wichita
  • Pittsburg Civic Light Opera
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • Flat Rock Playhouse
  • Arkansas Repertory Theatre
  • The Sacramento Music Circus
  • The Muny
  • Papermill Playhouse

Music theatre majors routinely participate in Elon’s nationally recognized study abroad programs, which include classical studies in Greece, semester residencies in London, and jobs and internships with the London Theatre.

After graduation

Congratulations to the Elon Music Theatre Class of 2016 on all of their successes only months after graduation! Graduates of MT 2015 and 2016 have joined the Broadway casts of “A Bronx Tale” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical;” joined the National Tours of "Beautiful," “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Cinderella,” “Fame,” "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "The Lion King," “Mamma Mia!,” "Ragtime,” and “The Sound of Music”; performed Off-Broadway in “Fiorello;” signed with prestigious agencies like DGRW, BRS/Gage, Harden-Curtis, MSA, Avalon Artists, The Mine, and more; joined productions on Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Viking Cruise Line; and performed regionally all over the country at theatres like The MUNY, Pittsburgh CLO, Flat Rock Playhouse, Bucks County Playhouse, and The New York Musical Theatre Festival, among many other venues.

Broadway: Recent graduates have appeared in the Broadway productions of “A Bronx Tale,” "After Midnight," "Anything Goes", "Beautiful," "Catch Me If You Can," "Cinderella," "The Color Purple," "Cry Baby," “Curious Incident,” "Evita," "Follies," “Ghost,” “Hamilton,” “Holiday Inn,” “In the Heights,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “The King & I,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Lysistrata Jones,” “Mamma Mia,” “Matilda,” “Memphis,” "Motown," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," "Newsies," "Pippin," "Spring Awakening," “Tuck Everlasting,” "West Side Story," "White Christmas," and "Wicked," among many others.

National Tours: Recent graduates have also appeared in recent National Tours of "All Shook Up," "American Idiot," "Annie," "Beautiful," "Beauty and the Beast," "Bring it On," “Bullets Over Broadway,” "Cabaret," "A Chorus Line," "Cinderella," "Crazy For You," "Dirty Dancing," "Elf," "Evita," "Fame," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Flashdance," "Grease," "Jersey Boys," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," “Kinky Boots,” "Legally Blonde," "The Lion King," “Mamma Mia!,” "Mary Poppins," "Memphis," "Miss Saigon," "Newsies," "Ragtime," "Sister Act," "The Sound of Music," "South Pacific," "Spamalot," "Spring Awakening," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "West Side Story" and "Wicked," among many others.

TV & Film: Recent Television & Film credits include "90210," "Arrow," "The Carrie Diaries," "CSI: Miami," “Containment,” "The Flash," "Girls," "Glee," "Jersey Boys," "Law & Order," "One Tree Hill," "Smash," "Step Up 2," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "The Vampire Diaries," among others.

Off-Broadway: Recent Off-Broadway productions include "Bare," "Carrie," "Cirque Du Soleil," "Enter Laughing," “Fiorello!,” "Found," "Heathers," "Rent," "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," and "Whorl Inside a Loop," among others.

Alumni also work around the country regionally in cities like Chicago and Las Vegas, tour internationally on cruise lines, perform in theme parks such as Disneyland and Disney World, or continue their education at prestigious graduate schools such as Yale School of Drama, The Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.