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Musical Theatre

Bachelor of Arts

Our musical theatre majors blossom under the challenging direction of Clarke’s esteemed faculty. You’ll study an intense curriculum including performance techniques, musical theatre history, and theatrical literature, as well as all the technical aspects of set, lighting, costumes, and makeup. You won’t just spend the first few years of the program watching other people perform … you’ll gain performance experience from your first semester on campus. Our graduates emerge from the program with knowledge of musical theatre literature and historical perspective needed to become successful performers in musical theatre.

Drama production of Elephant and Piggy

Program Details

Our musical theatre major is designed to provide you with a balanced mix of acting, voice, and dance classes. Working closely with the Music Department, we emphasize the synthesis of acting, singing, and dancing. These include both applied skills courses such as Audition Techniques, Music Theory and Dance, and academically oriented courses such as Theatre History and dramatic literature courses. You will also gain knowledge in technical theatre through such courses as Production Techniques and Stagecrafts. Graduates will have the necessary performance techniques, knowledge of musical theatre literature, and the historical perspective needed to become successful musical theatre performers.

Classes You'll Take

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

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Meet Our Faculty

When our graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. They will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Ellen Gabrielleschi, MFA

Ellen Gabrielleschi, MFA

Chair and Professor of Drama

My teaching philosophy is simple … we are all life-long learners. Learning is the fabric that binds us together as human beings.

Joe Klinebriel, MFA

I believe in cultivating a classroom in which students embrace risk and feel the freedom to create, fail, and create again!

Nicholas Halder, MFA

Nicholas Halder, MFA

Assistant Professor of Drama

My goal is to help students find their way through this part of their life and discover the potential that is within them as they look to the future.

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There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond

But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Ben Graham

Ben Graham

Musical Theatre ’14

I was challenged from the minute I walked through the door.  The various roles I received were amazing and allowed me to reach my full potential as a performer.

Chelsea Stratton

Chelsea Stratton

Musical Theatre ‘15

The school is small, the teachers are awesome, the campus is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the people are great!

Lily Rottinghaus

Lily Rottinghaus

Drama ‘17

All the activities I am involved in have helped me make better friendships and connections at Clarke.

4 Productions
Each year

The number of drama/musical theatre department major productions each year.

1:1 Ratio
One-on-one with faculty

Musical theatre students work one-on-one with faculty in intense performance situations with individual performance and design instruction.

97 percent
are employed

Percent of musical theatre graduates who report being employed in their field or continuing their education after graduation.


Clarke University is an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Clarke’s music education program is also approved by the Iowa Department of Education.

Other Programs to Explore

Experience Clarke Musical Theatre for Yourself

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