Last Updated on August 28, 2023
Muhlenberg Theatre is renowned for its superb and innovative training of the next generation of professional theatre artists. Theatre majors graduate inspired, ready to act, direct, design and educate audiences at the highest levels of theatrical achievement.
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The Theatre Major
Theatre Majors combines the intensity of world-class studio training and an award-winning production program with the breadth and flexibility of a first-rate liberal arts college.
The Theatre Major
The academic program in Theatre provides majors with a thorough background in the history, theory, and literature of performance, as well as frequent opportunities for structured studio experiences in performance and design.
Theatre majors may take courses in any of five areas of study — and may pursue all of their interests with multiple areas of study, dual majors, and other cross-curricular options — all augmented by Muhlenberg’s extensive and award-winning production program. Starting with the Class of 2024, the Theatre major has been redesigned to allow students even greater flexibility and breadth in selecting their curriculum. See the Guide to the New Curriculum for further details.
Here’s what all theatre majors can expect:
- Extensive professional training in the concentration they select, under the direct guidance of active, experienced theatre professionals.
- A comprehensive survey of all aspects of the theatre arts, both practical and academic.
- A thorough grounding in the liberal arts, with daily opportunities to interweave their arts and sciences coursework with their theatre studies.
Theatre majors select courses from five areas of study, detailed below…
The Acting curriculum gives students opportunities to practice their craft every day, alongside talented, experienced working professionals. Coursework, in both the classroom and the studio, is complemented by an extensive and acclaimed Departmental production season, with ample opportunities to put theory into practice.
Coursework for acting students includes:
- Foundation courses for theatre majors, including stagecraft, history, dramatic literature, directing, and theory courses
- Studio training for actors, including
- Scene Study
- Voice & Speech for the Actor
- Acting Classical Verse
- Commedia dell’Arte
- Experiments in Acting
- Advanced Acting courses, including
- Stage Combat
- On-Camera Acting
- Acting the Song
The Directing curriculum provides student directors with the problem-solving skills it takes to stage successful theatrical productions. The well-developed curriculum offers hands-on coursework in stagecraft, theory, performance, and design, as well as the cultural and academic underpinnings to bring their ideas and vision to the stage.
Directing students have numerous opportunities to create work at a variety of scales.Senior directing students have frequent opportunities to direct for the Departmental Season, and students direct between 20 and 40 Studio Productions each year. In addition, directing students work alongside faculty and professional guest artists, as assistant directors and dramaturgs.
Performance Studies courses make a serious academic study of the theatre — its place in the societies of the world, today and throughout history. This growing field investigates the human body engaged in symbolic action, using ideas from the performing arts, cultural anthropology, gender studies, oral history, and other related disciplines.
The curriculum examines performing arts such as theatre, dance, performance art, and music, but also inquires into cultural performances like political protests, fashion shows, sporting events, and worship services. These courses reveal how performances form community and shape identity with material consequences for performers and audience members alike.
Students often undertake Performance Studies to complement coursework in directing, design, or acting, and to deepen their understanding of the medium of theatre.
Design & Technical Theatre
The goal of the Design & Technical Theatre course group is to help students communicate effectively through design, and create compelling theatrical excperiences. Design students are given ample opportunity to work in multiple areas of set, lighting, costume, and sound design as well as in all technical staff positions on both Departmental and studio productions.
Design and technical studies offer intensive, real-world opportunities to students with an interest in working behind the scenes in the performing arts. Students work closely with talented, experienced faculty, production staff, and guest artists, in the classroom and on the stage. The direct, personal mentorship of students by faculty and staff is an important aspect of the program.
Although many design and tech students choose to focus just on working behind the scenes, others elect to study acting, dance peformance, or directing as well, or to pursue another major in addition to theatre. While production design students often focus on one particular area of design — lighting, scenery, costumes, or sound — they receive training in all of these.
Courses are taught in modern, well-equipped facilities, using state-of-the-art equipment. Productions are staged in our extensive performance facilities, including two large theatres and two studio theatres, all fully and professionally equipped.
Design students often serve as assistant designers for Departmental productions, and every Departmental season includes lead designer opportunities for students in every field of design. Students also design all aspects of the Studio Productions and Informal Concerts — 20 to 40 productions each year.
The Stage Management curriculum gives students a thorough background in a broad range of production area, which provides them with a complete understanding of the process of mounting complex theatrical work. Stage managers learn on the job, and stage management students are indispensible to the Department’s production program.
Department stage managers work closely with professional directors and designers, and take on critical responsibilities in the production process for all Departmental and other shows, under the close guidance and tutelage of an experienced stage management program coordinator.
muhlenberg college theatre ranking
Muhlenberg is in the top 10% of the country for theater. More specifically it was ranked #45 out of 606 schools by College Factual. It is also ranked #5 in Pennsylvania.
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Popularity of Theater at Muhlenberg
During the 2019-2020 academic year, Muhlenberg College handed out 75 bachelor’s degrees in drama and theater arts. Due to this, the school was ranked #36 in popularity out of all colleges and universities that offer this degree. This is a decrease of 13% over the previous year when 86 degrees were handed out.
muhlenberg college notable alumni
Muhlenberg College is 1955th in the world, 679th in North America, and 640th in the United States by aggregated alumni prominence. Below is the list of 20 notable alumni from Muhlenberg College sorted by their wiki pages popularity. The directory includes famous graduates and former students along with research and academic staff.
- Frankie GrandeBorn in United States1983-.. (age 38)In 2005 studied biology, theatre, and danceactorFrank James Michael Grande Marchione is an American dancer, actor, singer, producer, television host and YouTube personality. He is the older half-brother of singer and actress Ariana Grande.
- Richard Ben-Veniste1943-.. (age 78)lawyerRichard Ben-Veniste is an American lawyer. He first rose to prominence as a special prosecutor during the Watergate scandal. He has also been a member of the 9/11 Commission. He is known for his pointed questions and criticisms of members of both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. In 2017, he became a CNN Legal Analyst….+ show more
- Frank BuchmanBorn in United States1878-1961 (aged 83)theologianFranklin Nathaniel Daniel Buchman, best known as Frank Buchman, was an American Lutheran who founded the First Century Christian Fellowship in 1921, named after 1928 the Oxford Group, that was transformed under his leadership in 1938 into the Moral Re-Armament and became Initiatives of Change in 2001. As a leader of the Moral Re-Armament, he was decorated by the French and German governments for his contributions to Franco-German reconciliation after World War II….+ show more
- Al DowningBorn in United States1941-.. (age 80)Studied in 1963baseball playerbroadcasterAlphonso Erwin Downing is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1961 through 1977. Downing was an All Star in 1967 and the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year in 1971. Downing allowed Hank Aaron’s record breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974….+ show more
- Darryl PonicsanBorn in United States1938-.. (age 83)novelistscreenwriterDarryl Ponicsan is an American writer. He is best known as the author of the 1970 novel The Last Detail, which was adapted into a 1973 film starring Jack Nicholson. A sequel, Last Flag Flying, based on his 2005 novel of the same name, was released in 2017 and he also co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Linklater. He also wrote the 1973 novel and screenplay Cinderella Liberty, starring James Caan. Ponicsan writes mystery novels under the pen name Anne Argula….+ show more
- Matt Yallof1967-.. (age 54)sports journalistMatt Yallof is an American sports commentator for MLB Network, where he debuted June 3, 2009. Yallof hosts the regular season studio show “The Rundown” and MLB Network Strike Zone. Yallof also appears on “MLB Tonight” and “Quick Pitch”….+ show more
- Jonathan AbramowitzBorn in United States1969-.. (age 52)psychologistneuroscientistJonathan Stuart Abramowitz is an American clinical psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). He is an authority on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders whose work is highly cited. He maintains a research lab and serves as the Director of the UNC-CH Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic. Abramowitz approaches the understanding and treatment of psychological problems from a cognitive-behavioral perspective….+ show more
- Sisto AvernoBorn in United States1925-2012 (aged 87)American football playerSisto Joseph Averno was an American football guard and linebacker who played in the National Football League for the original Baltimore Colts (1950), the New York Yanks (1951), Dallas Texans (1952) and the Baltimore Colts (1953–1954). He was the final pick of the 1951 NFL Draft, serving as that draft’s Mr. Irrelevant. Sisto’s college football career also earned him recognition as a member of the Muhlenberg College Athletic Hall of Fame….+ show more
- Michael PocalykoBorn in United States1954-.. (age 67)novelistMichael Nicholas Pocalyko /poʊˈkælɪkoʊ/ is an American businessman and writer.
- George Abram MillerBorn in United States1863-1951 (aged 88)mathematicianhistorian of mathematicsuniversity teacherGeorge Abram Miller was an early group theorist.