Ohio University Launches Reimagined BFA Program
In the fall of 2019 the Ohio University School of Theater will welcome its first class to an exciting new chapter of its undergraduate Theater Performance degree program. Two interrelated four-year degree tracks will now be offered in either acting or musical theater, with an innovative curricular approach designed to prepare students for the rapidly changing theater industry.
The new musical theater track includes many first-of-its-kind degree components as well as the development of outside interests and skills, an Actor-Musicianship Certificate option and a new musical development program with OHIO's Tantrum Theater in collaboration with a NYC based theater. Both tracks are guided by an advisory panel of award-winning industry leaders.
The proposed musical theater curriculum revisions, currently going through final OHIO governance approval processes, include what is believed to be the first requirements for a course sequence on the history of rock music, as well as hip hop dance, for a B.F.A. program of this discipline. Other curricular opportunities include options for applied guitar courses and a semester abroad in London.
Unlike most musical theater programs, which do not allow room for double majors or minors, OHIO's program strongly encourages students to have a "specialization" outside of their performance coursework, which could take the form of a minor, certificate program, double major, or create-your-own course of study with elective credits. The acting program also includes integrated secondary specializations and curricular components.
A notable specialization options for both tracks may include the newly approved Actor-Musicianship Undergraduate Certificate program, a 24-credit program designed for music and theater students to gain access to major-level coursework outside of their primary discipline, so as to develop the key interdisciplinary performance skills required in Broadway hits "The Band's Visit," "Bandstand," "School of Rock," "Million Dollar Quartet," "American Idiot," and many others. While B.A. and M.A. programs in Actor-Musicianship exist in the UK, OHIO's certificate is the first program of its kind in the US devoted to this discipline.
Other recommended specialization options include minors in stage management, film, screenwriting and digital storytelling, dance performance and choreography, advertising and public relations and customer service, as well as certificates in performing arts health and wellness, social media and consumer research.
New Musical Development Partnership
The School of Theater has a longstanding commitment to new work development, including the annual Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights' Festival, which celebrates OHIO's M.F.A. playwrights, as well as many collaborations with the School of Film.
With the introduction of the musical theater track, OHIO and Tantrum Theater will partner with a well-known New York based company. Details will be announced later this spring. The collaboration will allow the organizations to workshop a new piece each January. The program will welcome three guest artists from the project's creative team for a two-week residency and workshop, including public performances of the show in development. Future OHIO mainstage productions of these works are also possible.
Tantrum Theater is the resident professional theater company of the School of Theater. Founded in the fall of 2015 by Ohio University's College of Fine Arts, Tantrum has produced three critically acclaimed seasons through 2018, bringing visiting theater artists from across the country to work alongside Ohio University students, faculty and staff.
B.F.A. in Theater Performance Advisory Panel
The Theater Division welcomes members of a new advisory panel of industry leaders to the acting and musical theater tracks. These panelists will provide consultation and advice to the theater performance faculty and students to help remain on the cutting edge of the ever-changing business of theater. Members include Loni Ackerman (actor),Roger Bart(Tony Award-winning actor),John Cariani(Tony Award-nominated actor/playwright), Luke Frazier (Founder and Music Director - American Pops Orchestra, OHIO alumnus), Jonathan Freeman (Tony Award-nominated actor), Stephanie Klapper(casting director), Paul Michael(The Network NYC), Tom Morin (actor, CEO of Polish Your Passion, OHIO alumnus), Richard Oberacker(composer/music director, "Bandstand," Cirque du Soleil's "KA"), Emily Penick (Playwrights Horizons, OHIO alumnus), Bryan Perri(music director, "Jagged Little Pill," "Wicked," "Chaplin"), Sheri Sanders (Rock The Audition), Rick Sordelet (fight director/director), David Emerson Toney (actor/educator/playwright, OHIO alumnus) and Frank Wood(Tony Award-winning actor).
The School of Theater is headed by Michael Lincoln. The theater performance faculty, led by Shelley Delaney, has designed the new B.F.A. in Theater Performance curriculum, and collaborates with the School of Music and the School of Dance to deliver the new musical theater track. The B.F.A. acting track is led by David Haugen and the new musical theater track is led by Alan Patrick Kenny. Other faculty members include Melissa Brobeck, Dennis Delaney, Dan Dennis, Brian Evans and Rebecca VerNooy. The School of Theater is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and is a member school of the University Resident Theatre Association.
Visit the School of Theater's website for further information: www.ohio.edu/fine-arts/theater