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Randolph adds musical theatre minor

Randolph College’s new musical theatre minor is all about connecting students’ enthusiasm and interests with the curriculum.

The new academic program was recently approved by faculty and will be open to students next fall.

“This offers a way to give students credit for things they might already be piecing together for themselves,” said Stephanie Earl, professor of theatre. “A student who is a theatre major, who has a strong interest in musical theatre, might already be taking voice classes every semester and as many dance classes as they can. This is now a focused way for them to be recognized for that.”

That curricular component will also appear on students’ transcripts.

“It gives them a chance to really make a declaration that this is something they’re serious about,” said Emily Yap Chua, professor of music. “It legitimizes it for them. We want students to have a college experience that really motivates and excites them.”

Each year, the theatre faculty base the performance season on students and their interests. Musicals have become increasingly popular over the years among both current and prospective students.

“We have these fantastic opportunities to go to theatre conferences to recruit high school students, and they are so interested in musical theatre,” Earl said. “If we’re going to continue this path of doing musicals more frequently, then we want to allow for more specific training to accompany that.”

The new offering comes just as the College’s music, theatre, and dance programs have merged together to form the Department of Performing Arts.

Chua said putting the curriculum together has been an organic process. The minor will include courses like Music for the Stage and Dance from Stage to Screen, the latter of which will span from vaudeville and Broadway all the way up to social media and the role it plays in the discipline (think TikTok dance crazes).

“We’ve been thinking about which classes could apply to multiple disciplines,” she added. “We did create some new classes, and some of the other things that are part of the minor program are a way for us to coalesce the strengths we already have.”

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