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:

Julio Agustin is a professional Director-Choreographer (SDC) and Associate Professor / Director of Music Theatre at Elon University. He has performed in six Broadway shows (Chicago, Fosse, Steel Pier, others) and has been nominated for such awards as an Audelco Award, Best Director (Sweet Charity @ New Haarlem Arts Theatre, NYC); Syracuse Area Live Theatre, Best Choreographer (In the Heights @ Hangar Theatre); and Houston Press, Best Choreographer (Guys and Dolls @ Theatre Under the Stars).  He studied under Kristin Linklater and Anne Bogart while at Columbia University’s MFA Acting program, and is the author of the popular industry book, The Professional Actor’s Handbook: From Casting Call to Curtain Call. BM Florida State University; MFA in Directing, Penn State University. www.JulioAgustin.com

Brian Kremer is Associate Director and 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, R&B and hip-hop. His current and former students can be seen performing on Broadway, off-Broadway, on national and international tours and at various concert and commercial venues. Beyond the classroom, he is co-author of “The Singing Teacher’s Guide to Transgender Voices”; the first comprehensive resource developed for the training of transgender and nonbinary singers. He also maintains Kremer Voice Design, a private voice studio providing individualized vocal instruction. BFA, Carnegie Mellon University; MM, Manhattan School of Music. www.kremervoicedesign.com

Deb Leamy is a professional actor/choreographer/teacher whose career spans over 25 years. Broadway credits include the principle role of “Margaret” in Never Gonna Dance, original companies of Fosse and The Sweet Smell of Success, and national/international tours of Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She’s also had roles in such reputable theatres as Paper Mill Playhouse, ST. Louis MUNY, North Shore Music Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, Houston Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Arkansas Rep, and Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Directing/choreography work includes Grease, Pippin, In the Heights, My Way, Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd, Shrek, Legally Blonde, and the West Coast (S.F.) premier of Broadway Bares. Deb can be seen in many television commercials and holds a BS Communication/Minor in Performing Arts, Emerson College. Member: Actors’ Equity Association.

Catherine McNeela, Professor of Performing Arts 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.

Visiting performers come to Elon each year to conduct seminars, workshops, performances and master classes. Among them are Quentin Darrington, Felicia Finley, Deidre Goodwin, Erik Liberman, David Chase, Beth Level, 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 We Will Rock You, Cabaret, Damn Yankees, The 1940’s Radio Hour, Once on This Island, The Wedding Singer, Sweeney Todd, American Idiot, Baby, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hello, Dolly!, Little Women, Cats, and Parade, 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 are awarded based on the audition. Not all incoming students will receive a scholarship offer.

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 2020 on all of their successes only months after graduation!

Graduates of the past four graduating classes have joined the Broadway casts of The Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, and Hamilton; joined the National Tours of The Book of Mormon, A Bronx Tale,  Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Finding Neverland, Something Rotten!, and The Spongebob Musical; performed Off-Broadway in Fiorello; signed with prestigious agencies like DGRW, CGF Talent, CESD, BRS/Gage, Harden-Curtis, MSA, Bloc, Avalon Artists, The Price Group, The Roster Agency, Take 3 Talent Agency, 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 Paper Mill Playhouse The MUNY, Pittsburgh CLO, The Kennedy Center, Music Theatre Wichita, Theatre Under The Stars, Ogunquit Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Maine State Music Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, Cortland Repertory Theatre, The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare, Bucks County Playhouse,and The New York Musical Theatre Festival, among many other venues.

 

Broadway: Graduates have appeared in the Broadway productions of Ain’t Too Proud, Beautiful, A Bronx Tale, Caroline, Or Change, Carousel, Choir Boy, Cinderella, The Color Purple, Curious Incident, Evita, Freestyle Love Supreme, Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Hamilton, Head Over Heels, Hello, Dolly!, The Lion King, Matilda, Mean Girls, Motown, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, My Fair Lady, Newsies, Pippin, The Prom, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tuck Everlasting, West Side Story, White Christmas, and Wicked, among many others.

National Tours: Recent graduates have also appeared in recent National Tours of Aladdin, American Idiot, Bandstand, Bat Out Of Hell, Beautiful, Bullets Over Broadway, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Cinderella, Crazy For You, Dirty Dancing, Elf, Evita, Fame, Fiddler on the Roof, Flashdance, Grease, Hello, Dolly!,  Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Mean Girls, 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”, “Blue Bloods”, “The Carrie Diaries”, “CSI: Miami”, “Containment”, “The Flash”, “Deception”, “Fosse/Verdon”, “Girls”. “Glee”, “Jersey Boys”, “The Last O.G.”, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “Modern Family”, “Rise”, “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.