Studies & Degrees in Musical Theatre
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Musical Theatre Study Programs
“The hills are alive with the sound of music” – this is probably one of the most popular and long-standing phrase that represents what Musical Theatre is all about.
Be it in Broadway in New York, The West End in London, and other theatres around the world, Musical Theatre has taken the world by storm and has delighted and is continuously delighting art patrons around the world. Who could ever forget The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera or Miss Saigon? Indeed, Musical Theatre has evolved to a well-revered discipline in the realm of art and has recently become one of the most interesting fields of study among college students.
By definition, Musical Theatre is a form of theatre arts that fuses songs, music, spoken lines and dance to convey the message and emotions of a piece. It is closely related to opera although a musical theatre actor is primarily an actor and secondarily a singer as compared to an opera singer, which is first and foremost a singer then an actor.
Different countries have different musical theatre histories. In Europe, musical theatre dates back to 5th century BC in ancient Greece where they incorporated songs and dance numbers in their comedies and tragedies. In Asia, India has one of the most antique musical theatre heritages with their Sanskrit – a performance spectacle wherein music and dance are integral components. Up until now, India’s rich musical theatre background is reflected in Bollywood (its version of Hollywood) where most movies have song and dance segments.
Although already sounding as a very specific degree to take, students can actually engage in different Musical Theatre disciplines. Voice lessons and workshops are given to train future musical theatre actors. You see, being a musical actor does not really necessitate someone to be a really good singer since acting skills are also given premium. But of course, having a good singing voice is an advantage. One can also opt to specialize in music theatre history and study how it evolved with the times and adapt itself to the current societal environment. For example, a musical theatre historian would be able to answer what kinds of musical plays were prominent during the great depression in the United States or the Renaissance in Europe and why. As such, experts in musical theatre history will be equipped with the skills to recommend what kinds of pieces will work based on current trends and occurrences.
Career opportunities for Musical Theatre majors are not confined inside the theatre or the performance halls. Those who will explore the creative side of musical theatre can work as directors for films and television shows. They can also serve as vocal and acting coaches for aspiring actors and also as production designers. In fact, the entertainment industry is known to be very welcoming to people with a lot of actors having musical theatre background such as Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt and Christian Bale.
So if music and performing is your thing, the stage is waiting for you. Get a Musical Theatre degree and prepare to have the greatest show of your life.