Theatre Programs are offered at James Madison University?
JMU offers programs in Musical Theatre through both The School
of Theatre and Dance (BA), and the School of Music (BM). Use the
resources on this website to learn more about the program offered
through the School of Theatre and Dance. For more information on the
BM program, contact JMU's School of Music - http://www.jmu.edu/music.
Do both programs offer private
Yes. The BA degree requires one year of small group voice
lessons (including a weekly performance lab), and two years of private
voice lessons. Students are encouraged to continue private voice study
in their senior year.
Will an audition for the BA
program be considered for admission to the BM program or vice
No. The programs hold separate auditions. People
typically choose the program that is most suited to their needs,
although some students choose to audition for both programs and then
determine, if accepted, which one is best suited to their abilities
How many students does the BA
Musical Theatre Concentration accept each year?
In order for each student to receive maximum personal attention
we aim for a freshman Musical Theatre class of 8 Ė 10 students.
Do you offer scholarships for
The College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of
Theatre & Dance have partial tuition scholarships available for
incoming freshmen. An audition/ interview is required to be
considered for these scholarships. The School of Theatre and
Dance also offers partial tuition scholarships for continuing students
in the Theatre, Dance, and Musical Theatre Concentrations. Go to
http://www.jmu.edu/theatre/tscholarships.htm for information.
James Madison University offers scholarships for incoming
students. Go to http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/scholarships and http://www.jmu.edu/centscholars/index.html for information.
When will I know if I have been
accepted into the Musical Theatre
In order to be accepted into the Musical Theatre Concentration
you must also be accepted academically to JMU. We notify all
prospective Musical Theatre students who are accepted academically
into JMU about their acceptance to the Musical Theatre Concentration
by April 1st.
If I am not accepted into the BA Musical Theatre
Concentration at JMU, but am accepted to JMU academically and decide to
attend may I still audition for musical theatre
Yes, all JMU students (regardless of major or concentration)
may audition for all theatrical productions at JMU.
If I audition for the Musical
Theatre Concentration will I also be considered for admission to the
Students who wish to be considered for both programs must
audition for the Musical Theatre program, fulfill its audition
requirements, and indicate when registering to audition that they
would ALSO like to be considered for the Theatre Program. Only
those students who indicate they would like to be considered for BOTH
programs will be considered for the Theatre Concentration if they are
not admitted to the Musical Theatre Program. Admission to both
programs is competitive.
Can I apply to the Musical Theatre
Concentration before applying for admission the
No. Although you may schedule your audition before
completing the application for academic admission to the University,
you must complete the application for academic admission BEFORE your
audition/portfolio review/interview. Admission to JMU itself involves
online application directly to the undergraduate Office of Admissions
Do you accept transfer students
into the BA Musical Theatre
Yes, on a space available basis. Current JMU students in
other concentrations and majors, and interested applicants from other
schools are given the opportunity to audition for the Musical Theatre
Concentration each each fall and spring..
If Iíve had a lot of dance
training will I need to take beginning level
All BA Musical Theatre Concentrators are required to take a
three-semester jazz dance sequence and an additional dance skills
class (although you are strongly encouraged to
take more and most students take one or two dance classes a semester).
You may be able to test out of a dance level, but only at the
discretion of the dance instructor and the coordinator of the Musical
Do I have to take classes in music
theory and piano?
Students in the BA program are required to take two semesters
of Keyboarding (MUS 100 and MUS 101), and one semester of Music Theory
and Ear Training (MUS 143 and MUS 141). These courses are the same
courses that BM music majors take. Students who enter JMU with
significant prior piano/ music theory training may be allowed to test
into higher level courses. This will be discussed with the
coordinator of the Musical Theatre Concentration at the end of your
Can I take more acting, music, or
dance classes than those
Of course! Students in
the BA Musical Theatre Concentration are actively
encouraged to enroll in as many
skill development courses as possible during their time at JMU.
Suggested courses include: dance classes each semester, upper level
acting classes, movement for the actor, voice for the stage,
directing, musical theatre audition class, diction for singers, and
university choirs, among others.
Whatís the difference between
JMUís program and conservatory or BFA
At JMU we feel strongly that the undergraduate years be
balanced between skill development in the major, and obtaining a broad
base of knowledge about the world in which we live. We think that this
broad base of knowledge makes for strong actors, artists, and
Our BA program requires a total of 120 credits: 58 credits in
the major (however, most take well beyond the required credits and
coursework in the major), up to 44 credit in general education &
philosophy (depending on AP, IB, Dual Enrollment credit), 0 - 14
credits of foreign language (depending on placement), and 4 - 18
credits of electives (which can be taken within or outside of the
major concentration). Most of the students in the Musical
Theatre Concentration graduate with far more than 120 credits, with
most of the additional credits being in Musical Theatre, Theatre,
Music, and Dance coursework.
Generally speaking, many BFA programs do not require as much
general education as we do in the BA at JMU. However, some
do and it is important research the specifics of what each program
requires and has to offer in order to find the right program for you.
Students in our BA Musical Theatre concentration are highly motivated,
and balance their academic course work with their skills based
classes, and production work. Most go on to pursue successful careers
in the performing arts industry.
Is it possible to double
Yes, but it is difficult. The Musical Theatre
Concentration is a credit intensive concentration. Some students
who come to JMU with AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment credit do choose to
pursue a double major (School of Media Arts and Design, English, and
Communications are the most popular) and are able to complete both
majors within four years. Others choose to minor in another area
(Dance, English, History, and Non-Profit Studies are the most
popular). Many students who want to double major choose to
pursue the Theatre Concentration which is a less credit intensive
Is it possible to study
Yes, students in the Musical Theatre Concentration often choose
to study abroad either in the summer or during the regular academic
Do you provide summer work for your students?
JMU students may audition for the Childrenís Playshop summer
season. We also highly encourage our students to audition
and interview for work at other summer theatres. JMU students
attend and are successful at SETC, NETC, StrawHat, UPTA, and Outdoor
Drama auditions and interviews, and most graduate from JMU with
professional credits on their resumes, gaining valuable real world
experience while they are still in school. Among the venues
where JMU students have recently worked are: Adirondack Theatre
Festival, NY; Busch Gardens, VA; Central Piedmont Summer
Theatre, NC; Cortland Repertory Theatre, NY; Cumberland County
Playhouse, TN; Flat Rock Playhouse, NC; Granbury Opera House, TX; Horn
in the West, NC; The Lost Colony, NC; Mac-Haydn Theatre, NY; Papermill
Theatre, NH; Shawnee Playhouse, PA; Texas Musical Drama, TX; Theatre
Barn, MN; Theatre West Virginia, WV; Theatre by the Sea, RI; Tobyís
Dinner Theatre, MD; Trumpet in the Land,
Are your graduates successful?
Although there are (of course) no guarantees, JMU graduates
have appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, national and international
tours, cruise ships, and at regional theatres from coast to coast and
around the world. JMU grads are currently appearing, or have
recently appeared on Broadway, and in national and international tours
of: Catch Me if You Can,
Beauty and the Beast, Avenue Q, A Chorus Line, Drowsy Chaperone,
Riverdance, Fame, Grease, Jersey Boys, Joseph and theÖ Dreamcoat, Les
Miserables, Lion King, The Full Monty, The Producers, Urinetown, Rock
of Ages, Shrek, Million Dollar Quartet, and Mamma Mia among
others, and are successful off-Broadway, in regional theatre
(Signature Theatre, Forum Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena
Theatre, The Actors Studio, Berkley Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati
Shakespeare, Second City, The Barter Theatre, etc), and in TV and film
(Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: CI, Mercy,
Bored to Death, Saturday Night Live, As the World
Turns, The Guiding Light, Last Comic Standing,
Mona Lisa Smile, Gods and Generals, etc.).
How many productions do you
present in a year?
The School of Theatre and Dance produces a Mainstage season of
three plays, one large-scale musical and one studio-sized musical or
musical revue. In the Studio Theatre, a flexible black box
space, we offer eight to ten student-produced full-length plays and
musicals and a Director's Festival of approximately fifteen 10-minute
plays. Students are also eligible to audition for paid positions
in the Children's Playshop shows produced every summer. The
Playshop tours another show with separate auditions during the regular
academic year. In addition, three Mainstage dance concerts and
three student dance concerts in the Earlynn Miller Dance Performance
Theatre are produced each
What kinds of hands-on experience
in productions is available to
The School of Theatre and Dance offers production experience in
two different and complementary contexts.
Faculty-Directed Studio Theatre Productions are directed by
faculty and guest artists. Advanced students are often offered
opportunities to design or technical direct on these
productions. Students may also work as assistant designers or
directors. Acting roles are played by students and all shows
there are student stage managed. Students build and run these
shows under faculty supervision.
The Studio Theatre also provides a
context in which students can experiment with what they have learned
in classes and through faculty and guest directed experiences in their
own student-produced and student-directed productions. Each semester
the faculty and members of the student theatre organization (Stratford
Players) vote to determine the strongest production proposals (which
include production budget, concept, design team, publicity, etc.) to
produce in the following semester. A faculty member functions as
an advisor to the director and team on the proposal, rehearsals, and
production process, but all production responsibilities are fulfilled
by students. The student directed Studio Theatre productions
provide extensive practical experience for those students who choose
to participate in it. Successful work there makes students
eligible for Mainstage design and production opportunities as well as
some of the School's
Can I audition and be cast in
shows as a freshman, or am I required to
In the School of Theatre of Dance we believe that experience
provides one of the greatest learning opportunities. Freshmen
are encouraged to audition for Studio and Mainstage productions and
many are cast on both stages.
Will I be in competition with
Theatre graduate students for performance, design, and technical
No. The JMU Theatre and Musical Theatre programs are
entirely undergraduate. Undergraduates have unhindered
opportunities, including playing leading roles and designing Mainstage
productions, in all the skill
What student theatre organizations
operate within the School of Theatre and
the student theatre producing organization
This organization produces shows in the Studio Theatre and
sponsors a number of other activities such as guest artist appearances,
workshops, and 24-hour theatre experiences.
JMU Student Chapter of the United States Institute for
Theatre Technology (USITT)
One of the relatively few student chapters of the USITT in the
USA, this organization coordinates design/tech activities and enjoys
financial support from the School for students to attend the annual
conference of the USITT, where many have successfully procured summer
employment at theatres around the country.
(APO), JMU's chapter of the national honorary theatre
This organization creates social, educational, and community
service opportunities for theatre students.