Student Blog: Academic Crossovers

Theatre at a Liberal Arts University

Student Blog: Academic Crossovers
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My favorite thing about getting a theatre major at a liberal arts university is that I’m taking all sorts of classes. Though I’ve only taken two theatre courses so far in college, theatre has appeared in nearly all of my classes. I want to share a few fun crossovers:

Aaron Tveit enters “freshman land”

Every first year student at Wake Forest University is required to take an FYS (first year seminar). They are taught on a variety of subjects, focusing on enhancing students’ writing and presentation skills. I took “The Successful Reentry,” which is about the process of returning into society following incarceration. One case-study we analyzed was Frank Abagnale Jr. You might know him from the hit musical Catch Me if You Can, starring Aaron Tveit as Frank. My previous knowledge of the musical helped me comment on Frank’s life and reentry process, and I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the show from learning more of his story. 

La théâtre

In my French class (taken to satisfy my language requirement), we talked about two classic French books, Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Through my prior knowledge of both musicals, I was able to summarize the plots for my classmates. Additionally, it was interesting to read from the original source material of two well known musicals. 

Weekly Gross Revenues… of Broadway

In classes with open-ended projects, I always try to incorporate theatre. This helps me learn more about the industry and how interconnected it is with other areas that interest me. For example, my statistics final project allowed me to select any public dataset and perform a data analysis. I submitted a seven-page report detailing the weekly gross revenue of Broadway shows over 35 years. Specifically, I looked at which variables affected ticket price and the impact of winning Best Musical or Best Play at the Tonys. 

Theatre/Politics collab

In my political theory class, we have to write a research paper on any topic related to both politics and money. I am researching the National Arts Endowment (NEA). I primarily want to learn how/why people advocate to keep this funding, even when some politicians desire to cut the NEA budget. 

I obviously learn a lot about theatre from my theatre and music classes, but I’ve discovered the greatest beauty of a liberal arts education are the unexpected moments in which I experience theatre outside of the arts building. These experiences are helping me realize how applicable theatre is in all aspects of life. People are quick to criticize artistic and performance degrees, saying they produce false hopes that result in unemployment. However, I know my theatre degree will be relevant forever, even if I don’t pursue performing. 

 


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