The venerable Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in eastern Connecticut hopes it will be the graduates of its new National Music Theater Institute (NMTI), which launches this fall with a semester-long immersive program that will have college students collaborating on writing, casting, staging and performing new musicals 14 hours a day, according to Jeremy Ladyga, director of institutional development for the O’Neill Center.
Deadline for applying to the inaugural semester is March 20. Classes, which are accredited through Connecticut College, start Sept. 21 in Waterford, CT. The program will include a two-week residency in Manhattan. The program is scheduled to be offered every fall and spring. Students passing the program will earn five undergraduate course credits (20 credit hours).
National Theater Institute artistic director Rachel Jett released a statement saying, "NMTI will enable students to create their own work collaboratively and in every discipline, and therefore lay groundwork for the future of the American musical.”
NMTI offers six credit-earning programs: writing, singing, directing, acting, designing and dance. Ladyga said there is no age restriction; applicants can be high school graduates, undergraduates, or post-graduates “seeking a launching pad into the professional world.”
Ladyga said students will cap each semester by writing, building and performing a new musical from the ground up over the course of the final two weeks. The O’Neill promises that the faculty will consist of “industry professionals and master teachers” but has not yet announced the names.
Ladyga said the program will cost students about $22,000, “comparable to small liberal arts colleges." The fee includes tuition, room and food.
NMTI is the latest initiative of the O’Neill Center, built in 1964 on land near the boyhood home of its namesake, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill. O’Neill Center is known for hosting several prominent developmental theatre conferences each year, notably the National Playwrights Conference (founded 1965), the National Musical Theater Conference (founded 1978), the Puppetry Conference (founded 1990) and the Cabaret & Performance Conference (founded 2005). Among musicals developed at the O’Neill: Nine, Avenue Q, [title of show], and In The Heights.
Those interested can apply online at www.theoneill.org/nti.