Major in Musical Theatre

By preparing students for a career in performance, students pursuing a degree in musical theatre are immersed in coursework that includes acting, dance, music theory and the inner-workings of the musical theatre industry.

Offered in collaboration with Elmhurst’s Department of Music, the major provides experience in acting, voice and movement for the stage, applied voice, music and dance. Combined with classroom study, performance and production, students in the musical theatre track should be prepared to develop their performance potential and be excited about unconventional opportunities that come with a career in musical theatre.

Admission to the major in musical theatre requires an audition and an interview. Videotaped auditions and phone interviews can be arranged when necessary.

Required Courses


  • THE 226 Acting Technique I
  • THE 227 Development of the Theatre
  • THE 228 Stagecraft
  • THE 314 History of Musical Theatre
  • THE 350 Play Analysis
  • THE 498 Theatre Capstone
  • One advanced performance course:
    • THE 326 Acting Technique II
    • THE 424 Directing
    • THE 426 Acting Technique III
  • One of the following courses:
    • ENG 336 Contemporary Literature: Drama
    • ENG 345 Shakespeare
    • THE 329 World Theatre and Drama in Cultural Contexts
    • THE 331 History of Western Theatre I
    • THE 332 History of Western Theatre II
    • Theatre literature elective

Dance and Movement

  • THE 301 Voice and Movement
  • Four of the following courses in dance technique:
    • THE 302-306
    • THE 402-406

Musical Theatre Practicum

Every major in musical theatre is required to participate actively in each designated musical theatre production at Elmhurst University. If not cast, the student must participate in some other capacity. A minimum of six terms of THE 175/275/375/475 Theatre Practicum for credit or non-credit and/or THE 176/276/376/476 Musical Theatre Practicum for credit or non-credit.


  • MUS 135 Theory I
  • MUS 136 Theory II
  • One of the following courses:
    • MUS 212 Music in Western Culture
    • MUS 343 History and Literature of Music I
    • MUS 344 History and Literature of Music I

Music Keyboard

  • MUS 221 Functional Class Piano I (.50 credit)
  • MUS 222 Functional Class Piano II (.50 credit) or pass piano proficiency

See the Department of Music for procedures.

Music Voice and Performance

  • AMK Sight singing/Aural Skills
  • AMV Three terms for credit of applied voice (.50 credit each)*
  • AMT Three terms for credit, musical theatre repertoire (.50 credit each)*
  • Major Choral Ensemble: Four terms with or without credit (.25 credit)
  • MUS 226/326 Light Opera Workshop (January Term)
  • MUS 267/367/467 Opera Workshop (.50 credit)

*Students must take AMU each term they take AMV or AMT.

Students should plan to audition for vocal ensembles in the fall, to audition for theatre productions each term on campus, and to participate in end-of-term program assessment showcases when enrolled in performance courses and ATA/ATM. Students taking AMT and AMV for credit participate in music juries at the end of those terms.

A final recital or joint recital is not a requirement, but may be considered in consultation with your vocal instructor. Students are highly encouraged to pursue summer internships, auditions and tech opportunities. Students are encouraged to consider a complementary minor or major, such as a minor in dance. A minor in theatre may be completed only if four credits toward the minor are a discrete list separate from the courses used to complete the major in musical theatre.

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