The Department of Theatre at Ohio State is collaborating with the Department of Dance and the School of Music to present students with the new option of a minor in musical theater.
The departments hope this new minor will appeal to students not just within the theater, dance or music programs, but any student with an interest in the performing arts.
The musical-theater minor is offered through the Department of Theatre, but is an interdisciplinary minor focusing on performance in musical theater, giving students the chance to explore how theater, music and dance intertwine. It also allows the students to take their interest in any of those subjects to a new level.
“I think [the minor] really opens up the possibilities to students who aren’t interested to focusing their entire degree just in theater or in dance or in music,” said Brad Steinmetz, the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Theatre.
Classes include a history of musical-theater course, musical theory and voice courses and an array of courses in different dance styles, including a course on dance in popular culture. The minor requires 18 credit hours, half of which are spent in electives.
The curriculum is meant to take a broader approach to musical theater. It aims to give students more than just skills to perform, including an education in musical theater they can take with them after they graduate.
“We’re not training students for a job, we’re educating artists to go out and create their own work,” Steinmetz said.
Students who have graduated from Ohio State’s theater program have gone on to diverse jobs and some found success in the field of musical theater. For example, Ohio State alumni Sifiso Mazibuko performed on the cast of the London premiere of Hamilton, and other alumni have also appeared on Broadway.
“We are amazed by all the terrific work being done across campus,” said Mandy Fox, season producer for the theatre department and director of this year’s musical, in an email. “There is some incredible talent at Ohio State, and it is an honor for us to mentor and guide those students.”
Adding the new minor to the theater department’s roster is just one step the department is taking to improve its curriculum. The other changes could include updates to the bachelor of the arts program and new courses, according to Steinmetz.
“We have been looking at our B.A. program,” Steinmetz said. “[We’re looking for] ways to make it stronger and have it serve the students better.”
Students interested in musical theater and its related minor also can find performances in which they can participate in the Department of Theatre and the School of Music.
This fall, the Department of Theatre is putting on the musical version of “Legally Blonde,” and the School of Music is performing several operas in the fall semester, including Opera Americana. Auditions are open to all students, regardless of area of study.