Michael McElroy Named Chair of University of Michigan's Musical Theatre Department | Playbill

Education News Michael McElroy Named Chair of University of Michigan's Musical Theatre Department The Big River star and Tony Award honoree comes to the prestigious program after a decade-long tenure at New York University's New Studio on Broadway.
Michael McElroy Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre, and Dance has named Broadway star and Tony honoree Michael McElroy the new chair of the school's department of musical theatre. McElroy will join the prestigious program this fall as the Arthur E. and Marsha S. Hearron Endowed Professor of Musical Theatre, succeeding Vincent Cardinal, who will be stepping down to devote his full attentions to teaching.

A Broadway veteran with a nearly three decades–long career that includes stints in Rent, Big River, and Sunday in the Park with George, McElroy has long juggled both performance and theatre education careers. He was New York University Tisch School of Drama's first director of diversity initiatives, and he spent the last 10 years as an associate arts professor in Tisch's New Studio on Broadway. McElroy comes to University of Michigan after twice serving as the school's Broadway Artist in Residence over the last three years.

McElroy received a 2003 Tony Award nomination for his performance as Jim in Deaf West's revival of Big River, and was honored with a Special Tony Award in 2019 as part of Broadway Inspirational Voices, a professional choir of Broadway artists founded by McElroy in 1994. He served as the group's musical director until stepping down last month.

"This is a thrilling appointment for us," says University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance Dean David Gier. "Michael McElroy brings a trifecta of invaluable experience: As a seasoned artist with 30 years on the Broadway stage, as an educator with impeccable credentials, and as a leader working for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the performing arts. With this unique background, he is ideally suited to guide our celebrated musical theatre program into the future at a pivotal time for the theatre industry and for higher education."

University of Michigan regularly appears on our annual top 10 list of the college theatre programs with the most alumni performing on Broadway. Notable graduates of the university include Darren Criss, James Earl Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Gavin Creel, Jack O'Brien, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Jeffrey Seller.

Founded in 1983, the Department of Musical Theatre was chaired for its first 32 years by Brent Wagner. McElroy will be only the third person to hold the title.

Education News

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