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Academic Opportunities

Academic programs supporting new musicals

Colleges and Universities provide some of the best opportunities for getting started in musical theatre and getting shows mounted as student productions. While in many cases, you would need to be enrolled or involved with the academic institution to submit a new musical, a few take outside submissions for their student productions. The advantage is that there is little to no cost for the writers. And you can see your show on stage for evaluation purposes and for production photos.

The following are a few of the academic programs.

Penn State University - University Park, PA

Penn State University's theatre department holds readings and a summer production to allows students and writers to work together. Their program is called a "festival" but it has downsized over the years. For writers whose work is accepted, it provides an opportunity to develop a musical without the burden of production costs. See our full article in the Growing Stages column of Musical Writerzine issue 35. Also go to Numusicals.psu.edu

Western Kentucky University

For the newsletter of Musicalwriters.com issue 10, we profiled the Before Broadway Series at Western Kentucky University. New musicals are presented as staged readings that are performed by students from the theater and dance departments. See Writerzine 10 "Growing Stages" column for details.

The American Music Theatre Project

Northwestern University,Evanston, Illinois

www.amtp.northwestern.edu/ The American Music Theatre Project is a new initiative of Northwestern University dedicated to "developing and producing new musicals in cooperation with some of music theatre's top writers, composers and directors."

Millikin University

Millikin University is a small liberal arts school in Decatur, Illinois, south of Chicago. Their New Musicals Workshop has grown to be recognized as an opportunity for established writers to develop new musicals destined for Broadway and beyond. Read more and find a link to their submissions form at Millikin U - New Musicals Workshop

Yale Institute of Musical Theater


Submission information for this annual program is posted in the autumn on their website at http://drama.yale.edu/yimt

The Yale Institute for Music Theatre is a program of Yale School of Drama, primarily for Yale students and alumni. It seeks distinctive and original music theatre works by emerging composers and writers to be developed in an intensive lab setting. During a two-week summer residency in New Haven, the Institute matches the authors of the selected works with collaborators, including professional directors and music directors, as well as a company of actors and singers that includes professionals from NYC and current Yale students. The residency culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre provides support for the Institute.

Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing

New York University, New York City

gmtw.tisch.nyu.edu The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program is a master's degree program specially designed for the major collaborators in the creation of new musical theatre and opera. Students and faculty include composers, lyricists, and bookwriters--those who put their individual talents together to write works for the musical stage.

The program's aim is to give students the skills to be able to wed form to content in original ways that best fulfill their unique artistic visions. Each year, 22 full-time students embark on a two year course, participating in ongoing writing workshops that emphasize craft, the art of collaboration, rewriting, developing the student's original voice, storytelling, and content (putting ideas on stage) ....The program culminates in the thesis musicals: the creation of full-length original works.

Pace New Musicals

Update October, 2014: Pace University's fully accredited BFA program includes around hundred students majoring in Music Theater. They often stage new works but have recently changed their policies and are handling the selection of new works without open submissions.

Alliance Theatre /Graduate Playwright...

Atlanta's Alliance Theatre has mounted numerous new productions that later made it to Broadway or tours. Over the years, the Alliance has produced more than 40 World Premieres.

The entrance to their annual Alliance / Kendeda Graduate Playwright Competition requires being a graduate student in playwrighting, such as from Carnegie Mellon, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing, UCLA, Brown, Northwestern University, etc. Alliance Theatre New Play Competition

SEE ALSO our Career section

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