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.

The bachelor of arts degree with a major in musical theatre is a degree offered by the Elmhurst University Department of Theatre and Dance in cooperation with the Department of Music. Designed to prepare students for a professional performance career in musical theatre, this major is grounded in theatre arts, music theory and dance. Students will gain experience in acting, voice and movement for the stage, applied voice, music and dance and will be able to put their training into practice through participation in the theatre program and in vocal ensembles.

The dance minor is a suitable complement to the major in musical theatre.

Auditions and/or portfolio reviews are required prior to or during the first term of enrollment and/or declaration of the musical theatre major. Students should consult with theatre faculty before beginning the program.

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

Course Requirements

  • THE 301 Voice and Movement

Four of the following courses in dance technique:

  • THE 302306
  • THE 402406

Musical Theatre Practicum

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

Music Course Requirements

  • 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 II

Music Keyboard Requirements

  • 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 Requirements

  • AMK Sight Singing/Aural Skills (.50 credit)
  • 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.

Connect with #elmhurstu