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

Go to Program Requirements »

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

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 2014) Williamstown, Berkshire Group, Forestburgh Playhouse, Hangar Theatre, Camden Shakespeare, Heritage Theatre, Circa ’21, Circle-in-the-Square (NYC) and North Shore Music Theatre. Recent alumni have worked on Broadway (including Hair, Kinky Boots, A Little Night Music, The Little Mermaid, High Fidelity, Warhorse, and Godspell), Off-Broadway, national tours (including the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Tour, Jersey Boys, American Idiot, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, Rock of Ages – Las Vegas, Man of La Mancha and Priscilla Queen of the Desert), regional theaters such as Goodspeed, Asolo, Dallas Theatre Center, The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington D.C., New Jersey Shakespeare, Oklahoma Shakespeare, Orlando Shakespeare, and cruise lines such as Oceana, Norwegian, and Disney. 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

PA 101 Languages of the Stage
TH 149 Emerson Stage Production Crew
TH 215 World Drama in Its Context I
TH 216 World Drama in Its Context II
MU 204 Music Analysis I
MU 205 Music Analysis II
TH 123 Acting I: Movement
TH 124 Acting II: Voice and Text
TH 221 Acting III: Basic Scene Study for Musical Theatre
TH 222 Acting IV: Foundations of Musical Theatre Technique
TH 327 BFA Musical Theatre Studio I - Technique
TH 328 BFA Musical Theatre Studio II - Advanced Technique
TH 427 BFA Musical Theatre Studio III - Styles: Pop Music. Shakespeare.
TH 428 BFA Musical Theatre Studio IV - Styles: New Music. Sondheim.
Dance - Minimum one class per semester (technique as approved/assigned)
Applied Voice - private study/12 sessions per semester
TH 329 &
TH 429
Musical Theatre Dance Rep (8 credits) (as approved)

You will choose two Stagecraft classes, typically in the sophomore year:

TH 141 Stagecraft: Special Topics
TH 142 Stagecraft: Electrics
TH 143 Stagecraft: Properties Construction
TH 144 Stagecraft: Costume Construction
TH 145 Stagecraft: Scenic Construction
TH 146 Stagecraft: Scene Painting
TH 147 Stagecraft: Costume Crafts
TH 148 Stagecraft: Masks

Students are also required to complete 4 non-tuition credits in Chorus/Musicianship.

If available, electives offered in the junior and senior year include directed studies, acting for the camera, stage combat, etc.

Total Required Credits: Musical Theatre - 72. Liberal Arts Core Curriculum - 56. Graduation - 128.

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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