PROGRAM OVERVIEW The musical theatre program provides students with a solid training in preparation for a career in the professional theatre. Students take classes in movement, voice, singing (both musical theatre and classical) dance (jazz, tap, ballet, modern and musical theatre dance), piano, music theory and various acting styles and techniques.
Students in musical theatre may also have the opportunity to direct, design, stage-manage, choreograph or serve as a dramaturge depending on area of interest and expertise. Students hone their skills as performers within experimental productions, classroom performance work, main-stage shows and opportunities to work professionally in the Des Moines community. Musical Theatre students also get summer performance work and internships.
The primary difference between this program and programs at other institutions is the amount of experience and cross training students can receive. In addition to specific intense training in musical theatre, students will also learn and gain experience in every other aspect of theatre production. This approach gives students both a greater appreciation for the profession as a whole and valuable experience beyond their specific area of expertise.
FACULTY There is one full-time faculty member devoted exclusively to the Musical Theatre program. Courses required for the degree involve all seven faculty members in the department as well as music faculty for singing lessons, piano and music theory.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION There are no prerequisite high school courses or requirements needed for enrollment in the theatre program, but students should have a well-rounded academic high school curriculum. Previous involvement in high school and/or community theatre is strongly recommended.
AUDITION REQUIREMENTS Students interested in pursuing B.F.A. degrees in Musical Theatre, Acting, Directing, and Theatre Education at Drake University must prepare an audition for entrance into the program. Prospective B.F.A. Design/ Technical students must prepare a portfolio for entrance into the program. Visit the theatre department webpage to view audition and/or portfolio requirements.
GROUP AUDITION/PORTFOLIO REVIEW DAY SCHEDULE Admission and scholarship auditions are offered for incoming, fall-term, first-year students. Audition dates are in January and February. To register for an admission and/or scholarship audition, visit the theatre department audition webpage.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theatre requires 75 credit hours in theatre arts, 15 hours in music, and the Drake Curriculum.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Students participate in a rigorous curriculum of course work, but students also learn by doing. The Department offers a wide range of performance/production opportunities designed to give students the opportunity to experience the practical application of what they have learned in the classroom.
Students have the option, with faculty consent, of studying at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, part of the National Theatre Institute in Waterford, CT. This intensive program allows students to work with numerous theatre professionals and to establish possible career ties within the theatre industry. Des Moines has a lot of prestigious local professional and community theatre companies that have a history of hiring Drake Theatre students. Our students have acted, directed, stage managed, designed and worked as crew for all of the area theatres including; StageWest Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of Iowa, Des Moines Social Club, Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines Onstage and Tall Grass Theatre Company. Our students have also been hired to teach, direct and choreograph at local schools and theatre companies. Theatre students can also participate in numerous study abroad programs.
CAREER OPTIONS Career paths for theatre arts graduates include Broadway productions and national tours, regional theatre, teaching, and radio/TV. A number also have entered and completed graduate programs throughout the country.