Department of Performing Arts

Musical Theatre (BFA)

Program Spotlight: Musical Theatre

An inside look from students and faculty at what to expect from the Emerson Musical Theatre Program !

About the Program

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Nestled in the heart of Boston’s theatre district, the BFA in Musical Theatre (BFA MT) at Emerson College is one of the most unique pre-professional performance programs in the country. With over forty percent of degree requirements housed in liberal arts, and a distinguished faculty holding Broadway, regional, opera, television/film and composition credits, the BFA MT is a dynamic cross between scholarship and rigorous studio work.

Additionally, the program mission nurtures important foundations in the student such as teamwork, preparation, managing the business, and seeking conclusions about the nature of the creative process. Through the supplementary study of liberal arts, the program exposes the student to a more holistic approach to the craft; it is the faculty’s notion that a musical theatre education, in addition to developing the skills already held by the student, can also be an intellectual endeavor. Indeed, our mission embraces a well-rounded preparation not only for a career in the arts, but also for related fields.

Anne Bogart's "Cafe Variations"

Anne Bogart's Cafe Variations



In addition to regular study in singing, music analysis and dance, we support a vigorous sequential curriculum in acting and scene study. For us, the stereotype of the superficial musical theatre performer is no longer a viable approach for entering the profession. Our goal is to offer more: educating musical theatre students who can both embrace and transcend the commercial basis of the form, creating reality on a level with the best non-musical theatre.

Performance opportunities are available primarily through Emerson Stage, the producing organization of the Performing Arts Department, and serve as the laboratory for the studio work. Productions are offered in Emerson’s five performance spaces including the newly renovated Paramount Center and the magnificent 1,200-seat Cutler Majestic Theatre. The program also features two showcases for graduating seniors: The first is the annual spring showcase in Boston; the second is a one-of-a-kind autumn showcase in New York for those who graduated the previous May. Both showcases invite industry representatives and noted Emerson alumni to attend.

Current Students & Alumni

For current students, aggressive professional placement serves as an important supplement to the training. During the school year, students audition at several national unified auditions, as well as in New York and New England to glean summer positions at theatres such as (for 2015) Berkshire Group, Ogunquit Playhouse, Priscilla Beach Theatre, MacHaydn Theatre, Peterborough, Sharon Playhouse, Prizery Theatre, New London Barn Theatre, and Circle-in-the-Square (NYC). Recent alumni have worked and are working on Broadway (including Kinky Boots, Dr. Zhivago, Honeymoon In Vegas, Les Miserables, The King and I, Warhorse, Annie, and Godspell); Off-Broadway; in national tours (including Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Beauty And The Beast); and on cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Disney. Alumni from the past eight years have also worked at several Shakespeare festivals including those in Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; Orlando; and Camden. Andrea Martin, class of ’69, has won two Tony Awards, for My Favorite Year and most recently, for Pippin. Other recent alumni have gone on to success through graduate programs outside of theatre such as Villanova School of Law and the renowned Clark University School of Clinical Psychology in California.

Read the BFA MT Handbook for more details about the program.

The BFA MT curriculum requires students to begin their Emerson career with foundational and core classes. Starting in the sophomore year, the curriculum becomes more musical theatre-specific and the work becomes highly advanced in the junior and senior years.

Program Requirements

BFA Musical Theatre (detailed below) 72
Electives 0
General Education Requirements 56
Total Credits 128

Compare the requirements of this program to other Emerson BFA degrees in Performing Arts.

To see descriptions of any of the below classes, please visit our course catalogue.

Department of Performing Arts Core

Year Number Course Credits
1st PA101 Languages of the Stage 4
2nd TH141-8 Stagecraft Laboratories 4
1st TH149 Emerson Stage Production Crew 0
2nd TH215 World Drama in its Context I 4
2nd TH216 World Drama in its Context II 4
Total Department of Performing Arts Core 16

BFA Musical Theatre Core

Year Number Course Credits
1st TH123 Acting I: Movement 4
1st TH124 Acting II: Voice and Text 4
1st-2nd Dance Technique (by placement) - 4 semesters 6
1st-2nd MU301 Chorus / Musicianship - 4 semesters / non-tuition 0
1st-4th MU353 Applied Music: Voice - private study, 3 semesters 6
1st-4th MU253 Applied Music: Voice - private study, 5 semesters @ $800/semester 0
2nd TH221 Acting III: Musical Theatre Scene Study 4
2nd TH222 Acting IV: Foundations of MT Technique 4
3rd MU204 Music Analysis I 2
3rd MU205 Music Analysis II 2
Total BFA Musical Theatre Core 32

BFA Musical Theatre Advanced

Year Number Course Credits
3rd TH327 BFA MT Studio I: Technique 4
3rd TH328 BFA MT Studio II: Advanced Technique 4
3rd TH329 MT Dance Rep - 2 credits each semester 4
4th TH427 BFA MT Studio III: Pop/Rock, Shakespeare 4
4th TH428 BFA MT Studio IV: New Music, Sondheim 4
4th TH429 MT Dance Rep - 2 credits each semester 4
Total BFA Musical Theatre Advanced 24

EC: 60 w/ Scott LaFeber

Get an inside look at the head of the Musical Theatre program Scott Lafeber as he sits down for a moment with one of our students! 

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