Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop is an academic offering in the Music Department at Georgetown College. Taught by Dr. Heather Winter Hunnicutt, it is an opportunity for singer-actors and actor-singers to receive additional performance experience in an educational setting. Each performer may indicate a preference of opera/operetta or musical theatre as the genre for his/her primary scene. Dr. Hunnicutt then chooses an appropriate scene to compliment the strengths of the student while providing strategic challenges for the performer. The student performs in his/her primary scene, and performs one or more secondary roles in other scenes. Scenes are rehearsed for much of the semester then presented in a performance at Georgetown College followed by traveling performances to schools, churches or community gatherings. In a demanding but highly rewarding schedule, student performers are able to grow substantially as singers and actors during the time they contribute to Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop.
No stage experience is necessary to enroll in Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop, but all participants must be able to read music and sing and receive permission of the instructor in order to enroll. It is recommended that students taking “OpShop” also be enrolled in voice lessons during the same semester (MUS 160, MUS 161, MUS 162, MUS 361 or MUS 362).
During Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop, the primary emphasis is on singing and acting, and therefore most resources are devoted to these endeavors. While costumes are utilized, props and set pieces are minimal to allow more time, energy and resources to be devoted to the “meat” of the program: the voices and the characters.
Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop is offered each spring semester. During Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop, MUS 204 “Opera and Musical Theatre Literature and Practicum” (2 credit hours), MUS 104 “Opera Workshop and Musical Theatre Workshop” (1 credit hour), MUS 304 “Intermediate Opera and Musical Theatre Practicum” (3 credit hours) and MUS 404 “Advanced Opera and Musical Theatre Practicum” (3 credit hours) meet concurrently. Students may register for MUS 204 for 2 credit hours, and this class includes a history and literature component at the beginning and end of the semester. MUS 204 is required for all voice majors and for musical theatre minors. Students may choose instead to register for MUS 104 (which is strictly the workshop segment of the course without history and literature), MUS 304 (participating as a singer-actor in the workshop segment of the course and serving as Assistant Director for a scene) or MUS 404 (participating as a singer-actor in the workshop segment of the course and serving as Director for a scene). All students meet together the first few days of the semester for course overview. After that, MUS 104, 304 and 404 students are dismissed for several weeks while MUS 204 students meet in the classroom Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the academic segment. Mid-February, MUS 104, 304 and 404 students rejoin the group to begin rehearsing scenes MWF. After the first performance in early April, MUS 104, 304 and 404 students are mostly free during class time while MUS 204 students resume the history and literature component for the remainder of the semester. In the meantime, all students may be involved in traveling performances to schools, churches and community events as schedules allow. During the first several weeks of class, MUS 304 and 404 will have individual meetings wih the instructor regarding assistant directing/directing.
MUS 204 “Opera and Musical Theatre Literature and Practicum” may only be taken once for credit. MUS 104 “Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop,” MUS 304 “Intermediate Opera and Musical Theatre Practicum” and MUS 404 “Advanced Opera and Musical Theatre Workshop” may be taken multiple times for credit. Students desiring additional performance experience may instead audit MUS 204 or MUS 104, but top priority in scene placement is given to registered students. In order to register for MUS 304, the student must have already taken either MUS 104 or MUS 204. In order to register for MUS 404, the student must have successfully completed MUS 304. Students also have opportunities to learn some technical and business aspects involved in producing Opera and Musical Theatre workshop, including costuming, props, advertising, etc.