BFA in Music Theatre

9 to 5 the musical
"9 to 5 The Musical" Fall2012

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre is for the student who aspires to a performance career in music theatre.  This well-rounded pre-professional curriculum requires each student to enroll in a balanced mix of theatre, music and dance courses.  These include both applied skills courses like acting, singing and dance, and academically oriented courses like dramatic theory, history and literature. Students are also exposed to the technical and design areas through coursework and production experiences.  In addition to intensive coursework, BFA Music Theatre students have the opportunity to apply their craft on stage during our active production season. Scott Susong is the Head of Music Theatre.

Here is a link to an article that looks inside the current BFA in Music Theatre program.




Passion - Spring 2010


Main Stage

Each year The School of Theatre Arts produces two musical productions.  Every other year one of these is a Faculty Choreographed Dance Concert. Recent McPherson musicals include Promenade, Hello Again, Once Upon a Mattress, Passion, Pippin, Of The I Sing, Scrooge, Into the Woods, Urinetown, Chicago, Cabaret and 42nd Street.

Hello Again

Hello Again - Fall 2011

Monkey Trail Dance Concert

Monkey Trail: Faculty Choreographed Dance Concert - Spring 2011

 Once Upon a Matress

Once Upon A Mattress - Fall 2010

Lab Season & May-term

Musicals are also produced in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre. These musicals are often smaller but fully supported and can be faculty or student directed.  Recent productions include Spitfire Grill and Working.

Ballet III

Ballet III

 Music Theatre Workshop & Scene Study Showcase

The mission of the Music Theatre workshop class is to explore the works of a new or upcoming composer.  The students work with composers to shape and create characters and serve as a way for young composers to hear and see their works in a collegiate environment away from critics.  Students come away with real life workshop experience and connections to professional composers working in the business. Recent workshops include Joey Contreras & Kate Thomas' All The Kids Are Doing It (2013, Michael John LaChiusa's Lucky Nurse and other Short Musicals (2011) and Lawrence Rush's Winter of The Fall (2009).

Josh Conrad

 Lucky Nurse and other Short Musicals - Spring 2011


Music Theatre Scene Study explores the music and works of a composer or specific genre.  The students work on scenes and solos throughout the semester culminating with a showcase performance.  Previous scene study showcases have included: "The Musical of Musicals" (featuring Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Herman & Lloyd Webber), "Horror Freaks & B-Movie Geeks" (featuring Cult musicals from "Rocky Horror Show" to "Bat Boy"), "All I Need Are Words" (featuring the musicals of Tim Rice) and "Away We Go!" (featuring golden age musicals from 1943 to 1964).

Chess    "One Night in Bangkok" - 2009            

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Words of Wisdom & Alumni:

Lisa Karlin

"IWU gave me a well-rounded education not only as an artist but as a scholar and free thinker.  The faculty at IWU was especially supportive; as a student, they challenged me to discover myself and my limitless power as an artist." - Lisa Karlin '05

Evan Kasprzak

Evan Kasprzak '10

2012 Tony Award-winning Newsies on Broadway (Elmer)

Bryhona Parham

Bryonha Marie Parham '07 

Curtain call opening night of the 2012 Tony Award-winning The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (Serena)


Frank Vlastnik

Frank Vlastnik - '87

(Broadway credits include: A Year With Frog and Toad, Sweet Smell of Success and Big, Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night, Kander & Ebb's new All About Us and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!)  Co-author of Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time)


Tim Salamandyk

 Tim Salamandyk – '89

(Theatre credits include:  Parade (National Tour), City Center Encores' Bloomer Girl & Kismet; Off-Broadway The Green Heart; Regional The Man of La Mancha, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Apple Tree, On The Twentieth Century, Television credits include: Great Performances-South Pacific at Carnegie Hall; Shine! The Horatio Alger musical; Law & Order among others)

Ian Coulter Buford

Ian Coulter-Buford - '12.

(Recent credits include: Aladdin at The Muny and the national tour of Junie B. Jones)