Combining its strengths in music and theater, Milligan plans to launch a new major in musical theater in the fall. The major prepares students not only for Broadway, but also careers in film, musical performance, worship arts, music and theater education, ballet, dance and more.
President Dr. Bill Greer, along with music and theater faculty, announced the new major at a special event during Milliganâ€™s Homecoming celebration, which featured a performance of Broadway classics by the collegeâ€™s music department, as well as a theatrical performance of the Roman comedy â€œThe Menaechmi.â€
â€œMilligan has a long tradition of excellence in music and the theatrical arts, including many wonderful collaborations in the musical theater genre,â€ said Brown, who will be directing the new major. â€œAdding a major in musical theater is an exciting way to build on these strengths and provide opportunities for the many students who are interested in learning the skills and gaining the experience necessary for success on stage.â€
The majorâ€™s interdisciplinary curriculum is composed of courses in theater arts, music performance and dance. In addition, students develop their performance skills through singing, acting, and dancing, while exploring stage direction, as well as the technical and design aspects of theater production.
Students also create and perform in musical productions each year in state-of-the-art facilities, like Milliganâ€™s McGlothlin-Street Theatre located inside the Gregory Center, with 294-seats, proscenium stage, fly system, orchestra pit, green room, dressing rooms, box office and concessions area.
â€œWhether it has been a musical performance or a theatrical production with an orchestra, I have never left a performance at Milligan without a hearty laugh or several moments that moved me to tears,â€ said Meg Foster, theater teacher at Elizabethton High School and adjunct French instructor at Milligan. â€œMilliganâ€™s new musical theater major is an important and exciting addition to the college and its students, as well as to the region, which is steeped in a deep-seated love for music and storytelling.â€
Milliganâ€™s music and theater areas have produced a number of successful graduates who have pursued careers in a variety of fields. Recently, Laura Mixon Mehl, a 2016 alumna who majored in music performance, is one step closer to her Broadway dreams: sheâ€™s studying in the graduate musical theatre program at New York University Steinhardt.
In addition to being prepared for a career in musical theatre, Mehl took away something more from Milligan.
â€œThe friendships and connections I formed, as well as the input I received from those around me, have stayed with me,â€ said Mehl, who is from Kingsport, Tennessee. â€œI still seek out my former teachers for support. They remind me that I am working to serve something bigger: not just to have a paycheck. Iâ€™m working to serve God and show the beauty in everyoneâ€™s life and those around me.â€
Performance scholarships are available to incoming students interested in participating in musical theatre productions at Milligan, with auditions scheduled for Jan. 27 and Feb. 9.
Learn more about Milliganâ€™s new musical theatre program at www.milligan.edu/music or email Admissions Counselor Christina Mushayamunda at firstname.lastname@example.org.