Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre Program is designed to train actors in a wide range of skills, techniques and experiences to provide a broad overview of theatrical performance, practice, history and literature. The overall arc of the program is to begin by establishing a foundation in the first year, moving into progressively more challenging work in years two and three, and finally exploring each student’s unique artistic voice in the final year. The end goal is to provide a high level of instruction and experiences that prepare students for further study at the college level or entrance into the profession.

1st Year – Foundations

Acting I (2 semesters) Students explore making strong choices and taking risks as individual performers and as an ensemble, using Spolin improvisation as a foundation in the first semester and story theatre in the second. The basics of character development, scenic construction, and dramatic agreement are explored using body, voice, and imagination to create fully realized and committed characters. Using techniques drawn from multiple theatrical backgrounds and pioneers, students heighten their connection to sensory life, environment and relationship in order to strengthen their creativity, imagination and understanding of human behavior. They develop skills related to scenic objectives, listening, impulse, problem solving, physical and verbal communication and given circumstances. They take the skills developed through improvisation in the first half of the year and apply them to text work in the second semester. Performance Requirements: Freshman Preview (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Dance I (2 semesters) An introduction to dance technique as it applies to Musical Theatre performance with a focus on proper body alignment, placement and conditioning, Musical Theatre dance vocabulary, and moving as part of an ensemble. Performance Requirements: Freshman Preview (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Vocal Technique & Repertoire I (2 semesters) In this progression of courses, students will lay a lifetime foundation of healthy vocal habits. The class covers exercises that introduce Alexander Technique/Body Mapping for singers developing posture and breath management, production of sound in the three vocal registers (head, middle voice, and chest), diction and International 体彩官方app是真的吗Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), ear training for singers, sight reading with solfege, and musical expression. Students also study vocal literature to actively apply these concepts. Performance Requirements: Freshman Preview (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Music Theory & Keyboard Fundamentals (2 semesters)* This course introduces students to treble and bass clefs, rhythmic notation, simple meters, intervals, the construction of major and minor scales, key signatures, and triads. Aural recognition of these musical elements also is a significant component of this course. Students further develop their music theory skills through application on the piano.

Theatre Studio* Theatre Studio is designed to be a class where theatrical learning converges for first year theatre students. The focus of this course is threefold: to provide the foundations of theatre vocabulary linked with direct experience (beginning theatre history, technical theatre and stage terms), to learn the habits needed for the discipline of theatrical performance (listening, memorization, collaboration, organization, networking), and to learn how to read a script. The umbrella over these three focal points is the growth of the ensemble. We will continue to include Spolin exercises (from “Improvisation for the Theatre”) and games to build respect, rapport, and unity among the group. The goal of this course is to be able to synthesize the terms, habits and ensemble work into a cohesive toolset for the actor.

2nd Year –Musical Theatre pre-1970s

Acting II (2 semesters) This course introduces students to the work of Constantin Stanisklavski and elements of dramatic text analysis including beats, objectives, tactics, obstacles, given circumstances and previous action to aid the student actor creating recognizable human behavior, action and theatrical worlds. They also work on dramaturgical research in order to fully understand the world of the play and the circumstances in which it was written and has been performed. The course also helps students to integrate acting technique and narrative through scenes, songs and dances of a musical through collaboration with the Vocal Techniques and Repertoire instructors using works from the musical theatre canon up through the 1960s. In each semester, the main text is an abridged version of a musical from that period. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Dance II (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year’s study with an emphasis on increasing technical skills in jazz and ballet dance, and the application of these techniques to choreographed dance works from Musical Theatre repertoire up through the 1960s. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Vocal Technique & Repertoire II (2 semesters) A continuation of the first year’s study with the addition of repertoire from the Musical Theatre repertoire up through the 1960s. Students begin learning basic vocal pedagogy, including the structure of posture, breathing, laryngeal structure and articulation, and they continue music theory work introduced in the first year. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Scene Study I (2 semesters) An acting class that focuses on non-musical theatre repertoire including monologues and scenes by a variety of playwrights. Students are introduced to dramatic text analysis including beats, objectives, tactics, obstacles, given circumstances, and left page analysis. Students are expected to incorporate the work they do in scene study into their regular acting class.

Musical Theatre History & Literature (2 semesters)* This class is a survey of Western musical theatrical history, drama and practices from late 19th century through modern day. Students study the social, political, cultural and historical influences of each period to understand the context in which theatre was created. Likewise, they explore the means by which theatre was produced and practiced including theatre companies, acting styles, design and architecture. They also study the musical theatre literature of each period including a critical analysis of each text.

      Elective Choice (2 semesters), see end of document

3rd Year – Contemporary Musical Theatre

Acting III (2 semesters) Using the musical theatre canon post-1960s, the class focuses on refining acting choices when performing solo, in scene, or in song. As in the sophomore year, the class works with the students’ Vocal Techniques and Repertoire and Dance instructors to approach all angles of the selected abridged version of a musical as the cornerstone of the repertoire. Students use the librettos and lyrics as springboards into character development and scenic arc, breaking down the beats of the work to put it back together as a more cohesive whole, and building upon the previous years to emphasize honesty, specificity and choice in their acting. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Dance III (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year’s dance study with an emphasis on integrating techniques from other disciplines, and the application of these techniques on choreographed dance works from post-1960s Musical Theatre repertoire. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Vocal Technique and Repertoire III (2 semesters) Further exploration of vocal music techniques including repertoire from the Musical Theatre repertoire post-1960s. Students continue to build and develop their music theory work and refine their vocal production. They begin to develop a portfolio of work that can be used in college and professional auditions. Performance Requirements: Winter Musical Theatre Showcase (Fall) and Musical Theatre Curtain Call (Spring).

Professional Development (1 semester, Spring)* Students explore the process of college research, selection, and preparation for college auditions as well as an introduction to entrance into the profession including an overview of the business of acting and audition preparation.

Elective Choice (1 semester, fall)

    Playwriting and Styles Section A (required for Junior MT’s)

  This course is designed to prepare the two junior ensembles for their senior project class the  following year in which they create an original one act play or musical. Foundations in styles of theatre and playwriting techniques will be practiced and discussed some of which will include docudrama and comedy styles.

4th Year – Artistic Voice and the Future

Professional Development (1 semester, Fall)* Students explore the process of college research, selection, and preparation for college auditions as well as an introduction to entrance into the profession including an overview of the business of acting and audition preparation.

Senior Project (2 semesters)* The creation and presentation of two senior showcases. In the Fall, students will present an Audition Showcase featuring monologues and songs to be used for college and professional auditions. Following that, students and instructor will devise an original one-act musical as a final ensemble project to be presented in the Spring. Performance Requirements: Senior Audition Showcase (Fall) and Senior Project (Spring).

Dance IV (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year’s study with an integration of techniques from tap, contemporary, composition, and a high focus on college audition preparation.

Vocal Technique & Repertoire IV Further exploration of vocal techniques and musical styles, with a focus on popular genres of the 20th century. In the first semester, additional work is done towards preparing college audition material; in the second semester, guidance is provided for the musical portion of Senior Project. Performance Requirements: Senior Audition Showcase (Fall) and Senior Project (Spring).

Choice of Acting IV or Production Acting IV will focus on advanced level scene study for those choosing to enter college or the profession post ChiArts, culminating and entry in city wide scene and monologue competitions. Production will focus on technical aspects of theatre and will support and work with the Acting IV students to design for the material they are working on.

* Credit bearing course required for graduation.

Students must achieve at least a D in every Conservatory course every semester or they are in jeopardy of repeating the ENTIRE YEAR’S Conservatory sequence in the following year. This may result in not graduating on time.

2019-20 THEATRE ELECTIVES

TTH 3:30-5

FALL

(Open to all Sophomores, all Juniors, and Senior Actors)

Advanced Spolin Improvisation
Viola Spolin is the mother of improvisation and founded her work here in Chicago. This class will go deeper into her exercises – well beyond the basics that were covered freshman year to help the performer who wants their scripted work to be more connected, nuanced, tied to the sensory world and the where. Whether Spolin work was a strong suite and even if it wasn’t, this class will take you ever closer to your unique vision in your work as actors, directors, and playwrights.

Shakespeare & August Wilson
Take a deep dive into texts of August Wilson and William Shakespeare, both of which require of actors immense intellectual curiosity, great physical athleticism, strong vocal production, and deep emotional availability. You will finish the semester with at least one monologue from each playwright that can be used for auditions and/or competitions. (sophomores, you must take this elective before graduating)

Diverse Playwrights
This class analyzes the works of playwrights in a US context, post-1970 through present day. We aim to explore the contributions of playwrights of color, queer playwrights, immigrants and women, and how those experiences intersect in dramatic texts. Students will  gain a deeper understanding on how an artist’s identity can impact the art they create.

Dance IV, DiCriscio (MT Seniors only)

African Dance
African Dance Class will offer and utilize  traditional african movements and rhythms to strengthen stamina cardio, balance and coordination. This class will also use African songs and chants to exercise and discipline students’ ability to control and build the skill of vigorous movement while using voice and balancing breath simultaneously.

Theatre Education (with workshops to Elementary schools)
Many who work in theatre go on to be teaching artists! In this class you’ll learn how to engage students for workshops and higher learner through enhancing their curriculum through Theatrical means. We will prepare for hands on workshops with actual kids so we can put all that we learn to use. Lets have some fun making learning exciting for kids. 

Applied Production (advanced production class)
FOR SENIORS AND JUNIORS ONLY. Applied Production is an extension and continuation of STAGECRAFT and THEATRICAL DESIGN, to include principles and practical application of techniques for designing theatre, and other types of live performances. Topics include the principles, elements, and objectives of design, scenic design and space, lighting, clothing and costume design, video production, and sound. This class is designed to be a group of 5-8 students. You must have already done stage crew, helped as AD or SM on a show at ChiArts to apply (prerequisite).

SPRING

(Open to all Sophomores & Senior Actors)

Movement To Music
Movement to Music is an intuitive, energetic exploration of your most primal impulses. Exhilarating and exhausting, this class will take your work to the next level. It is not dance, but improvisational movement to music.

Physical Comedy
Physical Comedy will encourage a sense of exploration, curiosity, and creativity as we develop the technical skills necessary to build comedic moments, craft surprising characters, and slay scenes.

Diverse Playwrights Part II (cont’d)

Playwriting and Styles Section A (required for Junior Actors)
This course is designed to prepare the two junior ensembles for their senior project class the following year in which they create an original one act play or musical. Foundations in styles of theatre and playwriting techniques will be practiced and discussed some of which will include docudrama and comedy styles.

Playwriting and Styles Section B (required for Junior MTs)
(see above)

Dance IV, DiCriscio (MT Seniors only)

Applied Production (advanced production class) (cont’d)