The Department of Theatre Arts offers students three ways to study musical theatre. The most popular is a BA in Theatre Arts with the Music Theatre Track. Students wanting a deeper engagement in music or dance may wish to enroll in a double major: BA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Music, with some courses in Dance; or BA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Dance, with some courses in Music.
What is the Music Theatre Track? It is a way for students to complete the Theatre Arts major while pursuing their love of musical theatre. Its goal is to help develop skills to audition professionally and pursue further instruction in music theatre. You will take courses in acting, singing, musicianship, and dance, all of which are essential to the successful musical theatre performer. Students who complete the major and the Music Theatre Track will have both listed on their University transcript.
What are the requirements? The Music Theatre Track requires 51 semester hours of course work: 36 required for the Theatre Arts major (some elective courses are specified for the track), 8 in Dance, and 7 in Music. See below for a full listing.
Do students perform in a final project? Yes. Each student’s program will culminate in a final presentation, to be determined in consultation with the track advisor. The final project may be a role in a music theatre production or a special showcase performance. These projects normally take place in the student’s final three semesters of study.
How do I enroll? To be part of the Music Theatre Track, you first register as a Theatre Arts major. You may then take any theatre course, including music theatre classes. To enroll in the track, which you can do at any time, you may declare it yourself in MyUI or contact Molly Rechkemmer, undergraduate academic advisor. You may also want to meet the track supervisor, Mark Bruckner.
Do I have to audition to be in the track? No. But auditions are required to enroll in the music theatre acting courses. Auditions are held in the department during pre-registration periods or, in fall, during orientation week. Information about auditions is included on each course’s MyUI entry.
If a Theatre Arts major can take any of the music theatre courses, why should I be in the track? You’re right, those courses are open to anyone. But there are advantages to being in the track. You will receive information about courses and other opportunities, be eligible for coaching when performing in on-campus and off-campus musicals, and have easy access to music and dance classes. In addition, you may present a final showcase, and you will have the track listed on your transcript.
How many musicals are produced each year? Annual productions include at least one musical produced by the Department of Theatre Arts, one opera and a second light opera or musical produced by the School of Music, and several musicals produced locally by City Circle and other theatre groups.
How does this track compare to musical theatre programs at other schools? Most BFA programs in musical theatre require students to spend at least seventy percent of their class time in music, dance, and theatre courses; in addition, they offer various opportunities to perform in musicals. These programs provide students with a highly focused, professionally oriented education in the field. In Iowa’s program, students receive a broad-based liberal arts education, have an opportunity to perform annually in some twenty-five productions of all kinds (especially new plays), have time to complete a second major, if they wish, and can still pursue their love of musical theatre.
Students who pursue a Theatre Arts/Dance double major will complete a Theatre Arts BA program and a Dance BA program, with additional suggested courses in music. Please see this list of suggested dance/theatre arts double major courses available. The Department of Dance requires an entry audition the semester prior to beginning classes; the Department of Theatre Arts requires no audition to become a major, but does require an audition after the completion of Acting II prior to advanced study in acting.
The Music/Theatre double major allows students to major in both the Theatre Arts BA program and Music BA program, with additional suggested courses available in dance and/or theatre movement. Please see this list of suggested music/theatre arts double major courses available. The School of Music requires an entry audition the semester prior to beginning classes; the Department of Theatre Arts requires no audition to become a major, but does require an audition after the completion of Acting II prior to advanced study in acting.
To schedule an audition for the School of Music, students should visit the School of Music website.
To schedule an audition for the Department of Dance, students should visit the Department of Dance website.