Theater and Music Theater

Program Offerings

The Program in Theater and Music Theater welcomes all students interested in exploring theater and music theater, with or without previous experience. We approach theater and music theater from a liberal arts perspective— as intensely collaborative art forms, as key components of world cultures and as performance genres that shape and are shaped by history, economics, politics and technology. We research, study and perform theater, from classic plays, operas and musicals to contemporary, experimental and devised plays, performances and musicals. We offer a wide-ranging, innovative and student-initiated season of theatrical explorations, produced in collaboration with professional artists and craftspeople. Our season centers on community-building and the creation of original work, in which all students can participate, We encourage artistic and academic investigations of theater and music theater in conversation with every other area of study.

Our program is open to students of all backgrounds. Most courses are open enrollment; we also offer advanced courses that prepare a student for graduate education to pursue advanced training and scholarship. We offer more than 20 courses per year, including writing, performance, directing, music directing, design, community engaged theater, dramaturgy, performance history, performance theory and criticism. For students interested in pursuing a minor, we offer four suggested pathways through our curriculum: Theater Making, Music Theater, Performance Studies, and Community Engaged Theater. Many courses are cross-listed with other departments and programs, including African American studies, American studies, creative writing, dance, English, gender and sexuality studies, and visual arts. Most theater and music theater courses fulfill the Literature and Arts (LA) requirement, and other THR and MTD courses also fulfill Ethical Thought and Moral Values (EM), Social Analysis (SA), Culture and Difference (CD) and/or Historical Analysis (HA) distribution requirements.

In addition to our courses and theater-making season, core faculty and visiting guest artists and scholars and the Princeton Arts Fellows offer workshops and co-curricular classes and join students in community conversations.

Students benefit from the support of our professional staff in music, costumes, scenery, light, sound, stage management and producing. We sponsor trips to theatrical productions in New York, Trenton, New Brunswick and Philadelphia and provide opportunities for observation of theater making in collaboration with a variety of partners. We build community inside and outside of the University through our theater-making season and our Try On Theater days, through the Princeton Playhouse Choir and Ensemble, through volunteering or paid fellowships with Trenton Youth Theater, and through our relationships with professional theaters and off-campus organizations including the McCarter Theater, Passage Theater and the Public Theater. We offer summer internships and summer research funding through the Lewis Center for the Arts. We encourage students to study abroad; students interested in exploring conservatory training can attend the London Academy of Dramatic Arts for a semester, typically fall semester of junior year.

Goals for Student Learning

We believe that the study of theater cultivates the exploration and integration of the body, the mind, and lived experience through a uniquely collaborative lens. Our goals for student learning are to engage all Princeton students in theater and music theater through creation, performance and study; to familiarize students with the role that theater and performance have played and could play in many cultures; and to further the field in collaboration with our students through research, innovation and engagement with leading artists and scholars. Our program centers on original creation, collaboration and community-engaged learning, in connection with every other artistic and academic field. All of our theater making operates on the principle that rigorous artistic practice is a form of research, innovation, discovery and intervention.

 

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for most theater and music theater courses. There are also no prerequisites for declaring a minor in theater and music theater. However, students must take THR/MTD 101 and one additional course, and complete their student show support requirements by the end of junior year to continue into the senior year of the minor. Students may begin taking courses toward their minor and fulfilling show support requirements during their first year at Princeton.

Admission to the Program

The theater and music theater minor is open to all students who are interested in committing to theater and/or music theater practice and scholarship in their junior and senior years. No application, audition or portfolio submissions are required to enter the minor program. Students must register for the minor before course enrollment begins for spring semester junior year (toward the end of the junior fall semester). In order to proceed to the senior year of the minor, students must have completed THR/MTD 101 and one additional course, as well as show support requirements. Students who fail to complete these requirements by the end of junior year will not be able to complete the minor.

Program of Study

Coursework

A total of five courses are required:

  • THR/MTD 101 (Introduction to Theater Making), which must be taken before senior year.
  • Two additional courses in THR or MTD or cross-listed with THR or MTD.
  • Two additional courses from THR, MTD, DAN, MUS, or another relevant cognate.
  • At least one of the selected courses must have a dramaturgical or performance analysis (DPA) component. A list of current courses that would satisfy this requirement is made available annually through the program. This list is reviewed and updated annually by the program director and theater faculty. Additional courses may be proposed to the program director for approval to satisfy the DPA course.
  • Up to two of these five courses may be double-counted toward the student’s major.

Senior year independent work for the minor is optional.

While students may take THR 451 more than once, participation in THR 451 can only count toward the minor once.

Additional Requirements

All theater and music theater minors must complete show support requirements — participating in a nonperforming role on one or two program projects — no later than the end of junior year. This requirement introduces students to the many facets of theater making beyond performance and enhances their collaborative skills with faculty and staff mentorship. All program minors are expected to read the weekly program informational announcement, which provides pertinent deadlines, opportunities and important announcements. All minors are also expected to participate in the program’s annual opening community Try on Theater Day (typically held the evening of the first day of classes), and our annual closing reflective community conversation, guided by that year’s graduating seniors (typically held in the days after Dean’s Date for the spring semester).

Preparation for Graduate Study

The theater and music theater program offers advanced courses and co-curricular activities that will allow a student to move into graduate education to pursue advanced training or scholarship.

Additional Information

Juniors working toward a minor who elect to participate in a series of program meetings and initiate an independent research process are invited to suggest projects (including original work of their own) and share particular interests toward co-creating the season of theater making in their senior year. A rotating panel of faculty and staff curates a season that engages the curricular and research interests, priorities and expertise of program faculty, visiting artists and rising seniors who have completed the research process.

Juniors working toward a minor may also apply to complete an optional senior year independent research project. Research projects might include writing a paper, composing an original work of theater or music theater, developing a solo performance practice or exploring other modes of independent creative enquiry. Successful applicants will work with a faculty adviser during their senior year and will be expected to offer a one-evening public research presentation to share their work-in-process with the broader Lewis Center community. These independent research project presentations can be theatrical in nature, but will not be offered significant staff support or production resources.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Jane F. Cox
  • Executive Committee

    • Elena Araoz, Theater, LCA
    • Michael W. Cadden, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Tina M. Campt, Art and Archaeology
    • Jane F. Cox, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Tina Fehlandt, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Martha Friedman, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Aleksandar Hemon, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • A.M. Homes, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Rebecca J. Lazier, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Yiyun Li, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Pamela E. Lins, Visual Arts, LCA
    • Susan S. Marshall, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Moon Molson, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Paul B. Muldoon, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • David W. Reinfurt, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Joe Scanlan, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Patricia Smith, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Susan Wheeler, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Jeffrey Whetstone, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Rhaisa Williams, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Stacy E. Wolf, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Sits with Committee

    • Tess L James
    • Chesney D. Snow
  • Professor

    • Stacy E. Wolf
  • Associate Professor

    • Brian E. Herrera
  • Assistant Professor

    • Rhaisa Williams
  • Professor of the Practice

    • Jane F. Cox
  • University Lecturer

    • Michael W. Cadden
  • Senior Lecturer

    • Elena Araoz
  • Lecturer

    • Shariffa Ali
    • David Bengali
    • Yuval Boim
    • Nathan A. Davis
    • Vivia Font
    • Tess L James
    • Nico Krell
    • Aaron Landsman
    • LaJuné McMillian
    • Solon Snider Sway
    • Chesney D. Snow
    • Nehassaiu deGannes
  • Visiting Associate Professor

    • Yoshinori Tanokura
  • Visiting Lecturer with Rank of Professor

    • John M. Doyle
  • Visiting Lecturer

    • Sylvia Khoury-Yacoub

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

MTD 209 - Introduction to Movement and Dance (also DAN 209/THR 209) LA

MTD 214 - Projects in Vocal Performance (also MPP 214) LA

MTD 220 - The Opera (also MUS 220) LA

THR 201 - Beginning Studies in Acting Fall/Spring LA

An introduction to the craft of acting. Emphasis will be placed on honesty, spontaneity, and establishing a personal connection with the substance of material. C. Snow

THR 205 - Introductory Playwriting (also CWR 210) Fall LA

This is a workshop in the fundamentals of writing plays. Through writing prompts, exercises, study and reflection, students will be guided in the creation of original dramatic material. Attention will be given to character, structure, dramatic action, monologue, dialogue, language N. Davis, S. Khoury-Yacoub

THR 211 - French Theater Workshop (also FRE 211) Fall LA

THR 299 - Special Topics in STEM (also STC 299) Spring LASN

THR 300 - Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies (also ANT 359/COM 359/ENG 373) Not offered this year LA

A hands-on approach to this interdisciplinary field. We will apply key readings in performance theory to space and time-based events, at sites ranging from theatre, experimental art, and film, to community celebrations, sport events, and restaurant dining. We will observe people's behavior in everyday life as performance and discuss the "self" through the performativity of one's gender, race, class, ability, and more. We will also practice ethnographic methods to collect stories to adapt for performance and address the role of the participant-observer, thinking about ethics and the social responsibilities of this work. R. Williams, S. Wolf

THR 301 - Acting - Scene Study Spring LA

The preparation, rehearsal and presentation of scenes from classic and contemporary plays, from Chekhov and Ibsen to Tony Kusher and Lynn Nottage. We will use the techniques and principles found in Uta Hagen's book, Respect for Acting. Skills: understanding and activating the event of the scene; mining behavior; authentic engagement with scene partners; transformation of self. Discover the level of action and commitment needed to fulfill the life of the play. M. Nelson

THR 305 - Playwriting II: Intermediate Playwriting (also CWR 309) Spring LA

A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, in this class, students will complete either one full-length play or two long one-acts (40-60 pages) to the end of gaining a firmer understanding of characterization, dialogue, structure, and the playwriting process. In addition to questions of craft, an emphasis will be placed on the formation of healthy creative habits and the sharpening of critical and analytical skills through reading and responding to work of both fellow students and contemporary playwrights of note. M. Cruz

THR 310 - Shakespeare: Toward Hamlet (also ENG 318) Fall LA

THR 311 - Intermediate Studies in Acting: Creating Character and Text Not offered this year LA

Creation of an original theater piece in collaboration with a guest artist, leading to a public performance. Will include improvisations, exercises, study of dramatic texts, and scene study. Special attention will be given to the creation of character, both in dramatic texts and in improvisation. Prerequisite: 201. Staff

THR 317 - Costume Design (also VIS 372) Not offered this year LA

An exploration of the various aspects of costume design. Emphasis will depend to some degree on instructor's area of interest and/or student interest. Studio projects will be designed to coincide with other theater and dance courses and currently scheduled productions. Critical discussion will explore the relationship between dramatic texts and design ideas. Two three-hour seminars or studio sessions. S. Fellows

THR 321 - Special Topics in Contemporary Practice (also DAN 304/MUS 301/VIS 320) LA

THR 326 - Criticism Workshop Not offered this year LA

A workshop devoted to the development of the student's critical sensibility. Through extensive in-class analysis of their own reviews of professional theater and dance productions and through the study of past and present models, students will learn what makes a good critic of the performing arts. One three-hour seminar. Staff

THR 327 - Princeton Dance Festival Expanded (also DAN 324) Not offered this year LA

THR 330 - Special Topics in Performance Practice (also MTD 330/MUS 328) Not offered this year LA

A special topics course designed to build upon and/or enhance existing program courses, taking into consideration the strengths and interests of program concentrators and the availability of appropriate instructors. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year. Staff

THR 331 - Special Topics in Performance History and Theory (also COM 311) Not offered this year LA

Designed to provide students with an opportunity to study theater and/or dance from a historical or theoretical perspective. Topics, prerequisites, and formats will vary from year to year. Staff

THR 364 - Modern Drama I (also COM 321/ENG 361) Fall LA

THR 372 - Contemporary Drama (also ENG 372) Not offered this year LA

THR 401 - Advanced Studies in Acting: Scene Study and Style (also MTD 401) Fall LA

A practical course focusing on approaches to classical and contemporary acting styles. Primarily a scene lab investigating the actor/director relationship; performance as a collaborative experience: the exploration of a wide variety of techniques including movement, voice, comedy and musical theatre. Texts will come from a range of playwrights, classical and modern. N. deGannes, J. Doyle, E. Araoz

THR 408 - Seminar in Italian Literature and Culture (also COM 469/ITA 401) Fall LASA

THR 410 - Topics in Drama (also ENG 409/HUM 409) Fall LA

THR 411 - Directing Workshop Not offered this year LA

Special directing assignments will be made for each student, whose work will be analyzed by the instructor and other members of the workshop. Students will be aided in their preparations by the instructor; they will also study the spectrum of responsibilities and forms of research involved in directing plays of different styles. Prerequisite: Introductory acting, writing or design class. E. Araoz