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CCA raises curtain on new musical theatre minor

By Terra Collier, For The Miami Student

With the College of Creative Arts' new musical theatre minor, anyone can sprint from business class to ballet or be the test subject for stage makeup - after an audition, of course.

The addition of the new minor is partly due to the large presence of Stage Left, a student-run musical theatre organization with more than 300 students across all majors involved in or attending the organization's productions.

Co-director of the musical theatre minor Alison Acord predicts many of those students take their interest one step further and add the minor.

Accepted students are given a foundation in music theory, as well as acting and voice principles. Classes will then get more focused, concentrating on skills like stage makeup application and ballet. Students also participate in at least one production, be it a musical, opera or concert.

As with any music theatre production, admission into the new minor requires a live audition. Vocal auditions take place Oct. 6 and dance auditions Oct. 7.

Miami vocal performance alumna ('15) Emily Farnell said students should not feel nervous going in for the audition.

"I know there were a lot of people, at least in the vocal department, that didn't feel they could audition because of the dance portion, but that couldn't be further from the truth," Farnell said. "The professors just ask you to do the best you can. Basically, if you want to audition but think you shouldn't because of one aspect of the audition, don't let that stop you. They aren't looking for a finished product, just potential."

The integration of majors and non-majors may serve to enrich the minor.

"It's good for our students to collaborate with students of other majors. It's good for everybody," Acord said.

Farnell is hoping the minor will have a positive impact on the Miami theatre community.

"There are so many talented people at Miami that opening up the minor will only make it better," Farnell said.

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Jeremiah Plessinger, a junior currently in the minor, praised the professors heading the new program.

"These classes have allowed me to add even more tools to my performance toolbox and gain a better understanding of the professional theatre world," Plessinger said. "In fact, I feel that my most useful experiences in the minor have been in the areas where I'm weakest. The vocal coaching given by the music department is like nothing I've ever experienced."

The techniques learned and risks taken through the minor may lead students to take a life risk like Farnell, who said she learned how to market herself through the minor and is now an au pair in Germany. Or, it may just take a bit of pressure off the collegiate lifestyle.

"It's a good creative outlet if you're in a lab all day," Acord said.

An information meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 in 114 Center for the Performing Arts. There is more information available on the College of Creative Arts' website, including sample schedules for varying paths of study.