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.”
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. All majors take studio voice lessons, music theory and skills courses; studio dance courses in jazz, modern, tap, ballet and musical theatre dance; and at least four semesters of acting. Students also explore the history and literature of music theatre. In the capstone senior seminar, you will prepare a project that showcases your proficiency in performance skills.
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:
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.
Richard Gang has more than 30 years of acting experience. He starred in the New York production of “Fantasticks,” the international tour of “West Side Story” and has also appeared in television commercials. He is a member of Actor’s Equity and the Screen Actors Guild.
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 a 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 shows at Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Artpark, Dollywood, Studio Arena Theatre and Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
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, Craig Carnelia, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jason Robert Brown, Andrew Lippa and Adam Guettel and Randy Skinner.
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 “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Kiss Me, Kate”, “West Side Story,” “A Little Night Music,” “Crazy for You,” “Jane Eyre,” “Jekyll & Hyde” and “Sweeney Todd.”
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.
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.
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 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.
Most music theatre graduates move straight into performing careers. Recent graduates have appeared in the Broadway productions of “Wicked,” “Memphis”, “In The Heights”, “West Side Story”, “The Encore Series”, “Jersey Boys” and “Spring Awakening.” Recent National tours include “Spring Awakening,” “A Chorus Line,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Mamma Mia.”
Other graduates continue their training in prestigious graduate schools such as Yale School of Drama, The Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.