USC School of Dramatic Arts launches new degree in contemporary musical theatre

August 15, 2017

In addition to giving USC students a strong foundation in acting, voice and dance, the interdisciplinary degree in contemporary musical theatre will give them an opportunity to take courses in digital entrepreneurship.

Contact: Ian Chaffee, (213) 810-8554 or; or Delphine Vasko, (213) 821-4050 or

The USC School of Dramatic Arts is offering a new professional degree in contemporary musical theatre through a collaboration with the USC Thornton School of Music and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
The School of Dramatic Arts will accept the first cohort for the interdisciplinary program in fall 2018.
“We are in a new golden age of musical theatre in America,” said David Bridel, dean of the School of Dramatic Arts. “This new degree, created in partnership with our colleagues here at USC, reflects the full range of what’s possible for the art form and will develop new generations of artists fully prepared to contribute their talents and move their field forward.”
The rigorous, conservatory-style undergraduate program features comprehensive training in acting, voice and dance. The students will be able to augment their foundational training through classes in the latest contemporary applications for musical theatre, including digital entrepreneurship and the on-screen musical.
(Image: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

The program is further distinguished in students’ junior and senior years when classes are offered to foster creative growth for not only performers, but also composers, lyricists, book writers, directors and choreographers — allowing for culminations in musicals created by members of the cohort.
USC has a long history of alumni successes on Broadway, including recent Tony Award nominees Renée Elise Goldsberry, Stark Sands and Charl Brown.
“It is a thrill to build on the accomplishments of our alumni and build a stronger and more contemporary foundation for the future,” Bridel said.
The school is fostering professional partnerships within the thriving musical theatre community. Last year, the school launched LiveRead@SDA, a program designed to cultivate and provide critical support for the creation of contemporary musicals for the American theatre. This innovative program provides students with the opportunity to work with industry leaders — producers, directors, playwrights, lyricists, composers and choreographers — while gaining insights and practical experience in what it means to intensively workshop new musicals headed toward commercial production.
(Image: Craig Schwartz)


Since Bridel took over as dean in 2016, the school has begun to reimagine and redefine what it means to train dramatic artists in the 21st century without losing the strong foundational training the School is known for. This flexible and contemporary approach responds to today’s rapidly changing media climate, and provides the versatile and cutting edge skills essential to the contemporary actor, writer, stage manager and designer.
For more information about or to apply for the BFA in Contemporary Musical Theatre, visit To connect with an admission counselor, please email or call 213-740-1286.
(Image: Michael Reuter/Capture Imaging)