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Curriculum and Course Descriptions

To have a prolonged career in the industry, performers must be as versatile as possible. The formal curriculum includes equal emphasis on acting, voice and dance. Having said that, at its core, the focus is always as an actor first and foremost. Regardless of which area of your training you are focusing on, the primary principle the program is based on is making sure you are a strong and versatile actor in every area of your work in order to become a fully integrated performer. 

Each student will take four years of musical theatre performance, acting, voice lessons, dance training (ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre styles). They will also receive music theory, nutrition, vocal health, sight-singing, voice and speech, theatre history, dialects, musical theater history, acting for the camera, and much more, as well as the required university liberal arts core curriculum. There are 125 hours in the degree plan, 42 are academic core-based hours. The remaining 83 hours are performance-based credits. 

Junior and senior year, additional emphasis is placed on a “Business of the Business" Lab series and transitioning students into the professional industry.  In addition, industry professionals are brought in every semester as part of the Bowman Guest Artist Series to teach, assess student work, and provide insight into the current state of our ever-evolving profession. 

We do not believe in a "one-size-fits-all" approach, and so when appropriate, a student, in consultation with the Head of Musical Theatre, the Theatre Department Academic Adviser, and the Department Chair, may make course substitutions that will enhance his or her specific education, training, and preparation for a career in the profession. Texas State's Musical Theatre program is not a conservatory, but rather includes a liberal arts university core curriculum as well as conservatory style training in Musical Theatre.

Sample Four Year Curriculum

Graduation requirements

125 Total hours
University Core Curriculum must be met.
A minor in a subject outside of theatre is optional but not required.
Visit the University Honors Program if you are interested.

Note: after students complete the required dance hours, they are encouraged to audit additional dance classes.

Class Size

Small classes of 14 or less allow us to cater to each student’s needs and interests. Each year Musical Theatre accepts 12-14 artists in the freshmen class. As a result, we are able to provide highly personalized training.

Freshman Year

Fall

TH 1210 Intro to Musical Theatre
TH 1364 Beginning Acting
TH 2111 Theatre Activities
MU 1312 Musicianship I
MUSP 1121 Vocal Techniques
DAN 1180 or DAN 2181 Ballet
DAN 1160 or DAN 2161 Jazz
US 1100
3 Hours University Core
 

Spring

TH 1211 Intro to Musical Theatre II
TH 1365 Intermediate Acting
MU 1314 Musicianship II
MUSP 1121 Vocal Techniques
DAN 2161 or DAN 3162 Jazz
DAN 2181 or DAN 3182 Ballet
TH 1350 Intro to Theatrical Design
3 Hour University Core
 

Sophomore Year

Fall

TH 2210 Intermediate Musical Theatre I
TH 3364 Acting Realism
DAN 3151 Musical Theatre Tap I
DAN 3171 Musical Theatre Dance I
TH 3120 Applied Voice
9 Hours University Core
 

Spring

TH 2211 Intermediate Musical Theatre II
TH 2345 Experiencing Speech
TH 3322 History of Musical Theatre
DAN 3152 Musical Theatre Tap II
DAN 3172 Musical Theatre Dance II
TH 3120 Applied Voice
TH 3111 Nutrition for the Performer
6 Hours University Core
 

Junior Year

Fall

TH 3390 BFA I
TH 3320 Theatre History I
TH 4120 Applied Voice
DAN 4171 Musical Theatre Dance III
TH 2354 Characterization
6 Hours University Core
 

Spring

TH 4390 BFA II
TH 3321 Theatre History II
TH 4120 Applied Voice
DAN 4172 Musical Theatre Dance IV
TH 4361 Dialects
6 Hours University Core
 

Senior Year

Fall

TH 4391 BFA III
TH 4364 Directing I
TH 4120 Applied Voice
DAN 3162 ADV Ballet or DAN 3182 ADV Jazz***
9 Hours University Core
 

Spring

TH 4392 BFA IV
DAN 3162 ADV Ballet or DAN 3182 ADV Jazz***
TH 4120 Applied Voice
6 Hours Theatre Elective
1 Hour Dance***

Course Descriptions

Freshman


TH 1364 Beginning Acting

Students will be exposed to the tools, techniques and vocabulary needed to approach acting for the stage. Classroom time will be spent learning how to develop a character and exploring individual truth in acting through monologue performance, basic scene study, theatre games, and introduction to Shakespearean Text. Reading assignments will include both classic and contemporary plays, as well as traditional acting texts. 

TH 1365 Intermediate Acting

This intermediate acting course takes up where beginning acting left off, continuing to explore the tools, techniques and vocabulary needed to successfully approach acting for the stage. Classroom time will be spent learning how to develop a character and exploring individual truth in acting through object exercises, contemporary and Shakespearean scene study, and improvisation. Reading assignments will include both classic and contemporary plays, as well as traditional acting texts.

TH 1210 Intro to Musical Theatre I

This course will introduce the student to the dynamic world of musical theatre through song analysis and acting the song, class exercises for the body and the voice, as well as an initial look at both classic and contemporary musical theatre style, structure and content with an overall emphasis on performance.

TH 1211 Intro to Musical Theatre II (spring)

This class is designed to train students in musical performance through individual and collective class work on songs and scenes, with an emphasis on score and libretto analysis. In addition attention is given to starting to build repertoire in the Golden Age and traditional musical theater genres, and on studying industry professionals, theaters and theater companies to develop a working knowledge of the business today.

DAN 1180 Beginning Ballet 

An introduction of the basic concepts and principles of classical ballet. The class is designed to develop proper alignment, strength, flexibility, coordination and musicality. Students will increase their knowledge of ballet theory, vocabulary and history through readings and viewings of assigned videos and/ or live performances. Students will discover movement as a medium for creative expression of ideas and gain an appreciation of dance as a performing art.

DAN 2181  Intermediate Ballet Intermediate

Ballet course designed to continue the study of basic ballet concepts.  All of the basic ballet barre exercises on head-eye-arm port de bras coordination, demi-pointe work, and the development of extensions and classical “line.”  Preparatory exercises for pirouettes are begun.  The eight directions of the body are introduced. Basic petit allegro steps are studied including simple jumps to one leg.  Students will begin to learn how to put ballet steps together in a danced phrase.  For those who are ready, pointe work may be introduced.  An additional component of this course is the study of French ballet terms as they relate to ballet technique.

DAN 3182 Advanced Ballet

An introduction of the advanced level concepts and principles of classical ballet. The class is designed to develop proper alignment, strength, flexibility, coordination and musicality. The students will work on increasing technical skills and their knowledge of the English style of Ballet, and more specifically the syllabus from the Royal Academy of Dance. Proper body alignment will be stressed as well, as the development of performance qualities and musicality. Students will increase their knowledge of ballet theory, vocabulary and history through readings and viewings of assigned videos and/ or live performances. Students will discover movement as a medium for creative expression of ideas and gain an appreciation of dance as a performing art.

DAN 1160 Beginning Jazz  

Beginning levels of jazz dance include developing a knowledge base and understanding of fundamental jazz technique including core engagement and proper alignment. Exploring the use of dynamics (including tempo, weight, force, space, flow, and release of energy) and how these dynamics can be used to express emotion through movement. Investigating creating character and conveying a story through movement. Gain strength (especially in the core) and flexibility. Start to develop dance auditioning skills that will enhance the students marketability and ability to pick up choreography quickly. Become knowledgeable of important jazz and movement innovators including Luigi, Jack Cole, Bob Fosse, and Rudolf Laban. Learn how to interpret music through movement by creating choreography.

DAN 2161 Intermediate Jazz

This Jazz dance course will focus on building awareness of technical skills and technique learned in Jazz Dance 2161. We will focus on various choreography concepts commonly seen within auditions, development of flexibility and strength, finding your dance type. This course will promote a better understanding and use of adapting each dancers body to the technique needed to sustain a healthy career in dance; gaining a more sound sense of release of tension through the body; and becoming more familiar with various rhythms and choreographic styles. We will dive deeper into improvisation skills and technique to grow and challenge students when creating their own work/pieces.

DAN 3162 Advanced Jazz 

This advance jazz dance course will refine awareness of and skill in Jazz dance technique and movement; solidify knowledge of Jazz dance history; enhance range of movement within the students natural capabilities; further developing the understanding and use of proper dance terminology; mastering a sound sense of lines through body, legs, arms and head; understanding rhythm; developing a greater consciousness of moving through space; and inspiring a sense of self expression.

TH 1350 Intro to Theatrical Design

Course introduces the freshman theatre major to the four primary areas of theatrical design: costume design, scenic design, sound design, and lighting design. Each area’s practice is explored and analyzed through a series of exercises that incorporate design projects.

MU 1312 Musicianship 1

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the basic musical elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, texture and form. Students will develop a high degree of fluency with Western systems of musical notation, and sharpen and hone basic, practical musicianship skills through extensive sight-singing, ear-training and aural skills practice. Students will gain a working knowledge of musical terms and common practices. This particular section of Music 1312 will be tailored to meet the specific needs of B.F.A. students in musical theater. Consequently, much of the supplemental musical material for both analysis and ear-training practice will be pulled from the American musical theater canon.

MU 1314 Musicianship II (spring)

This course will pick up where 1312 left off and focus on Advanced music theory and sight singing skills specifically designed for musical theater performers.

MUSP 1121 Vocal Techniques (both semesters)

This is course will focus on the foundation of the One Voice technique. It includes simplicity in breathing, release, vocal coordination, and healthy singing tools that will help students achieve one voice with freedom, connection, and strength and applying it to musical theater repertoire.

TH 2111 Theatre Activities

A course designed to provide credit for participation on a production crew and also completing required box office/ushering hours related to the degree plan.

 

Sophomore


TH 3364 Acting Realism

A studio course emphasizing the theories and methods of the Stanislavsky System, as developed by the American master acting teacher Sanford Meisner, creating characters in realistic drama.  Beginning with Meisner’s definition of acting as “living truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” the focus is on integrating practical analysis with a systematic, organic approach to acting; includes Meisner exercises, in-depth script analysis, and the presentation of individual acting projects from the plays of Chekhov, Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, O’Neill, Odets, Miller, Williams, Shepard, Mamet, among others.

TH 2345 Experiencing Speech 

A somatic approach to gaining awareness of the vocal tract and the ability to use it as desired. Includes an experiential and practical study of International Phonetics Alphabet as a useful tool for the actor, stage combat sounds, how sounds (phonemes) convey intention, and the beginning of accent study.

TH 3120 Applied Voice 

This class is a one hour private voice lessons every semester. These sessions are focused on using the One Voice technique to enable singers to access their most important coordinations, strength, agility, and flexibility while creating the most efficient, healthful, commercial sound possible, and working specific repertoire related to musical theater.

TH 3111 Nutrition for the Performer

Designed specifically for the performer this class focuses on proper nutrition and exercise programs so students may attain and maintain desired body composition and optimal health. One day a week is lecture based in nutrition and cooking, and one day a week is workout based, each student will walk away with an individualized training program.

TH 3322 History of Musical Theatre

This course examines the history of musical theatre, from its antecedents through its Golden Age to present-day issues. In the process students will study musical theatre’s elements and structure, as well as its creators, including major librettists, composers, lyricists, designers, directors, choreographers, and performers.

TH 2210 Intermediate Musical Theatre I

This class will focus on individual work sessions to build a students repertoire of contemporary musical theater and all pop rock genres through individual work sessions and advanced exploration of style.

TH 2211 Intermediate Musical Theatre II (spring)

This class will focus on Sophomore Project, creating an original piece during class that will be presented at the end of the semester. Course designed to expand the actor’s imagination and artistry thru collaboration and by exploring writing, directing and choreography skills in devising an original performance work. In addition one class a week will also be designated for work sessions of book repertoire.

DAN 3151 Musical Theatre Tap I

This class covers the basic steps of tap technique and how it applies to musical theatre.  Students learn coordination, rhythmic variations, and performance skills through a series of tap combinations and exercises. Students will examine the relationship between music, rhythm, and syncopation, become knowledgeable of important tap dancers and their influence on the art form, be able to apply and connect individual steps learned in class into a choreographed routine, strengthening weight changes and transitions and improve ability to pick up choreography quickly as well as to dance as a unified tap ensemble Identify the fundamental elements of musical theatre tap dance as well as analyze and critique professional musical theatre tap performances of stage and screen. Prerequisite: DAN 2161.

DAN 3152 Musical Theatre Tap II (spring)

This class picks up where Tap I left off. Students continue to develop a knowledge base and understanding of fundamental tap steps used in musical theatre tap dance. Students learn to  apply and connect individual steps learned in class into a choreographed routine, strengthening weight changes and transitions. Examine the style of rhythm tap and how it differs from musical theatre show tap. Improve ability to pick up tap choreography quickly by honing tap dance auditioning skills that will enhance their marketability in the musical theatre profession. Explore the relationship of tap with rhythm through improvisation. Investigate how tap and rhythm can be used to express emotion, tell a story, and create character. Find the student’s connection between tap and music through student choreographed pieces. Prerequisite: DAN 2161.

DAN 3171 Musical Theatre Dance I

This course involves the study of dance as it pertains to musical theatre performance. Students will apply the foundational concepts of musical theatre jazz dance and dynamics work, honing the techniques necessary for effective character development, story telling, and audition skills.  The course also covers some of the styles that make up musical theatre including character dancing, the Charleston, and various ballroom dances. Prerequisite: DAN 2181.

DAN 3172 Dance II

This course involves the study of dance, movement, and staging for musical theatre and culminates in student choreographed/staged works from a variety of musical theatre productions. It includes strategies for learning and performing dance combinations as they occur in a professional dance audition.  Students will continue to develop fundamental dance technique and apply it to musical theatre dance. Gain strength (especially in the core) and flexibility throughout the semester in preparation for the rigorous demands on the body with a career in musical theater. Continue to develop dance auditioning skills that will enhance their marketability in the musical theatre profession. Explore the use of dynamics (including tempo, weight, force, space, flow, and release of energy) to express emotion through student choreography. Investigate conveying a story and creating a build to a musical theatre production number through analysis and student-developed number. Develop stamina and skills toperform in a large group production number. Prerequisite: DAN 3171. 

 

Junior


TH 2354 Characterization

Creative impulse is developed using ‘The Style’; a technique developed by Theatre du Soleil and The Actors Gang. The class explores methods of ensemble and storytelling through extremely physical work and non-linear and music-based storytelling.

TH 3390 BFA I

This course is a practical workshop course that concentrates specifically on audition technique and working musical theater repertoire, with a continued focus on advanced analysis and deconstruction of the musical book and score. In addition a weekly  “Business of the Business” Lab prepares students for entering the professional market. Labs include contract analysis, tax prep for actors, financial planning and other topics related to being a professional actor. 

TH 4390 BFA II (spring)

TV/Film Performance In this advanced studio course, the students develop skills in auditioning for and acting in TV, film, and commercials.  In the process, the student actors explore the differences between stage and screen performance.  They develop techniques and skills specific to screen acting and through various on camera experiences build confidence in applying those skills.  Through this practical approach to film acting, the students learn the terminology, procedures, and protocol for working on TV and film sets and the special requirements fornavigating a career in the industry.  

TH 4361 Dialects for Actors

An in depth study and application of the elements of accent and accent acquisition as it pertains to practical use. Focus is on all elements that make up dialect including, but not limited to, oral posture, prosody, and the International Phonetic Alphabet. Using the principles laid out in Knight Thompson Speech work, we learn how to identify patterns of speech contributing to accent and how to replicate those patterns.

TH 3320 Theatre History I

A study of the theatre and its place in the social and cultural evolution from primitive civilization to 1700. Selected examples of theatre literature are studied.

TH 3321 Theatre History II (spring)

A study of the theatre and its place in the social and cultural evolution from 1700 to the present. Selected examples of theatre literature are studied.

TH 4120 Applied Voice

This class is a one hour private voice lessons every semester. These sessions are focused on using the One Voice technique to enable singers to access their most important coordinations, strength, agility, and flexibility while creating the most efficient, healthful, commercial sound possible, and working specific repertoire related to musical theater.

DAN 4171 Musical Theatre Dance III

This course provides an examination of the history and development of musical theatre dance styles, including an in-depth study of significant works of choreographers before 1970, including George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jack Cole, Jerome Robbins, Gower Champion, and Michael Kidd. Students will exhibit stylistic integrity through the performance of iconic selections from the theatre dance repertory. Gain strength (especially in the core) and flexibility throughout the semester in preparation for the rigorous demands on the body with a career in musical theater. Improve their ability to pick up different styles of dance quickly.  In turn, this will highly improve students’ audition skills and working collaboratively with other students to create ensemble-based choreography in reference to one of the choreographers studied Prerequisite: DAN 3172.  

DAN 4172 Musical Theatre Dance IV (spring)

This course provides an examination of the history and development of musical theatre dance styles, including an in-depth study of significant works of choreographers after 1970, including Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Ann Reinking, and Susan Stroman.  Prerequisite: DAN 4171 

 

Senior


TH 4391 BFA III

This course is a hands-on, practical workshop course that concentrates on advanced musical theatre performance and auditioning, with a primary focus and preparation for professional auditions, senior showcase and transition into the industry. This will include weekly  “Business of the Business Labs”.

TH 4392 BFA IV (spring)

This course is designed specifically to prepare for professional auditions that will take place during the spring semester and to create and prepare Senior Showcase and transition into the professional industry. One class a week will be designated for continuation of “Business of the Business” designed to help students transition into the professional world upon graduation.

TH 4364 Directing I

A study of the fundamentals of directing with practical experience provided by directing scenes.

TH 3120 Applied Voice 

This class is a one hour private voice lessons every semester. These sessions are focused on using the One Voice technique to enable singers to access their most important coordinations, strength, agility, and flexibility while creating the most efficient, healthful, commercial sound possible, and working specific repertoire related to musical theater.

DAN 3162 ADV Ballet or DAN 3182 ADV Jazz***  (descriptions under freshman yr)

DAN 3162 ADV Ballet or DAN 3182 ADV Jazz*** (descriptions under freshman yr)

Additional Recommendations or course substitutions

TH 3355 Playwriting

A study of play fundamentals (structure, dialogue, and mechanics), and guidance and discussion of representative plays.  Prerequisite: Instructor approval is required prior to enrollment.

TH 4365 Directing II

A study of directing different dramatic styles. Students will direct a one-act play during regular semesters. Prerequisite: TH 4364

TH 4330 Actor Artist Aesthetic

Use of Text/Use of Self. Course designed to expand the actor’s imagination and artistry by developing writing skills, and exploring source material as wellspring for improvisation techniques and devising original performance work.  Integrating the writer’s crafting process with actor’s instrument in space, students investigate innovative storytelling, movement and theatrical conventions.  Supports individual and ensemble-based sensibilities.  Culminates in performance.  (BFA course trajectory prerequisites)

TH 3360 Stage Combat

An introductory course in stage combat. A hands-on approach with emphasis placed upon actor safety, dramatic requirements of the script, and historical accuracy.

TH 3343  Stage Makeup

A practical course in developing techniques used in applying stage makeup. Emphasis is placed on painting, and contouring the face to achieve the desired effect. Speical projects include fantasy makeup and mask painting. 

TH 4363 Directing for Film

An in-depth examination of directing theories and procedures for film with practical filming and editing exercises.

TH 4340 Business of Film 

This course focuses on how film projects are put together, from development to production, with an emphasis on job opportunities that are available in the film industry. Where applicable, working professionals are brought in as guest lecturers to provide a hands-on perspective of working in the film industry.

TH 4341 Short Film Development

This course focuses on the essential elements that go into the pre-production phase of developing a short film project. Emphasis is on script research, writing, budgeting, scheduling, finance, and development.