Department of Performing Arts
Musical Theatre (BFA)
Program Spotlight: Musical Theatre
About the Program
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.
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.
|BFA Musical Theatre (detailed below)||72|
|General Education Requirements||56|
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.
|1st||PA101||Languages of the Stage||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
|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
|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|
A Round of Applause...
Recent news highlights from the Department of Performing Arts.
Polly Carl, creative director of ArtsEmerson and director of Office of the Arts and HowlRound, was named "Person of the Year" by the National Theatre Conference. Carl also teaches in the Performing Arts department.
Andrea Ríos, a graduate student in Theatre Education, recently won Best International Documentary at the Girona Film Festival in Cataluna, Spain for her film Aleks.
Kevin Dwyer, '13 visits Boston as ASM on Book of Mormon National Tour.
Dwyer credits networking and mentorship of Emerson faculty with helping him land national tour of Tony-winning show.
Assistant Professor Christina Marin recieves service learning innovation grant
to support collaboration between Emerson's Theatre Education graduate program and ¡ACCIÓN! Community Theater (ACT) in Hyde Square.