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BWW Blog: Misconceptions of Musical Theatre at a Christian University

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How can a Christian university provide an accurate representation of the business?

BWW Blog: Misconceptions of Musical Theatre at a Christian University

I attend a private Christian university AND study Musical Theatre. To a lot of people, even myself, this declaration sounds a bit contradictory. How can a Christian university provide an accurate representation of the business? There are numerous misconceptions about studying Musical Theatre at a Christian school, and I'm here to dispel them.

1. Only Christians attend a Christian university.

One of the things I love about our MT program is the diversity in beliefs. I have MT-major friends who are strong Christians, some who are more indifferent to religion, and some who are still figuring out what they believe. I have friends who openly combine their faith with their work, and friends who are more private in their beliefs.

2. We only produce "safe" shows.

Before I started at my school, I was a little nervous that the shows we produced would be the kind of shows that are fun, but don't have a lot of depth. I was worried that, because it's a Christian university, we would be limited to polite shows. I have, thankfully, been proved wrong, as we have produced shows like Violet, addressing racism, and Menotti's opera The Medium, addressing death, grief, abuse, and psychosis. The likelihood of us producing Spring Awakening is slim, but nevertheless, each show we produce challenges both actors and audience members to gain a new perspective.

BWW Blog: Misconceptions of Musical Theatre at a Christian University
From our production of
Menotti's opera, "The Medium."

3. Our professors aren't "real" with us.

Some people may believe that our professors aren't tough enough or tend sugarcoat everything. This is far from the truth. Yes, our professors are encouraging and kind, but they also know the reality of the entertainment business, and ensure that we are prepared to graduate with thick skin and accurate expectations.

4. We don't get many opportunities to make real-world connections.

We actually get to work with a ton of different people in the musical theatre world through in-person and video call masterclasses! We've spoken with and worked with playwrights, professional theatre directors, Broadway performers, and casting directors! Even though we are a small, private school, we are provided with so many opportunities to learn and create connections outside of the college community!

5. Religion is enforced in everything we do.

Students may be reluctant to audition for a Christian university, afraid that Christianity will be thrust at them. Are students limited to only performing religious or "safe" monologues and songs? Is the Bible/ religion a main focus in every class? No, we are very much encouraged to explore theatrical and musical pieces outside of our comfort zones and that challenge our perspectives and understanding. Also, no, religion incorporation in a class is the professor's choice, and even then, it is provided as ideas and prayers that students can choose to absorb and participate in, but is not necessary.

I can only speak from my experience at my particular Christian school. Maybe some of these are true at other universities. But, if you are looking for a collegiate musical theatre program, don't automatically discount Christian university programs. I am grateful for a program that nourishes not only our triple threat skills and education of the entertainment business, but, if desired, a marriage and balance of faith and artistry.



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