Musical Theater New Works Ensemble
This course focuses on the process and development of new musicals after completing the staged reading phase. During the semester, students who have auditioned and been cast in the course will learn how to create and develop a character in the context of a new musical workshop and how that differs from a staged reading or a full production. They will use improvisational techniques as well as traditional acting methods. This will be the second stage class that allows new works created by Berklee students, alumni, and faculty to be developed and explored.
After Berklee’s staged reading course is completed, the writers of the musical will regroup and offer suggestions for what the workshop class should focus on. Students are required to learn the songs and scenes from the new work that need to be revised, analyze these songs from an acting perspective, and perform them at public workshops in order to help with the development of the work. When given feedback, the writers will rewrite portions of the songs and scenes, and students will have the opportunity to learn and explore these changes as well. The course requires outside work with fellow actors and each week there will be a weekend lab that allows students to practice their scene work. Students are evaluated through weekly song performances, scene work, a graded midterm workshop performance and final performance, character analysis, and through dialogue and presenting papers.
There is a focus on a deeper analysis of music and lyrics of the songs in these contemporary pieces than in the staged reading class. Students will gain a more thorough understanding of how theater songs create and bring dramatic elements to life as well as how actors are an integral part of the development of new works.