Newswise — Musical theatre is taking center stage at Cornell College.

The departments of music and theatre & dance are on track to offer a new degree, the bachelor of fine arts (BFA)  in musical theatre, next fall.

“We already offer students opportunities to participate in musical theatre, but this will expand the work we are already doing into the pre-professional world,” said Theatre & Dance Department Chair Scott Olinger. “We know musical theatre skills are vitally important to a long career in theater. This new program can give our students a competitive edge and relationships with professional companies when transitioning to a job or graduate school after Cornell.”

The degree will offer an innovative approach to the study of theatre in a liberal arts environment. Spurred by a 2012 Curricular Enhancement Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the BFA is the result of a joint exploration by faculty in the departments of music and theatre & dance. The new degree is similar to other BFA programs, but Cornell’s offers the benefit of pre-professional arts training in a supportive educational environment while avoiding the selective elimination typical of conservatory programs.

Professors are creating new courses and making changes to the performance season to reflect the new offering. The theatre & dance department just finished its production of “The Rocky Horror Show” this past weekend and is already building excitement for its production of RENT” next fall.

The new degree program has been approved by the Cornell faculty and Board of Trustees. After review from the Higher Learning Commission, the College's accreditor, the program will be launched in fall 2018.

The BFA in musical theatre also provides a distinction between Cornell and peer institutions in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. In addition, the departments are offering a new minor in musical theatre.

About Cornell College

Cornell College, a selective liberal arts college in Mount Vernon, Iowa, offers a distinctive One Course At A Time curriculum, immersing students in a single academic subject during each 18-day block. With a student body from 42 states and 17 foreign countries, and renowned faculty, speakers, and entertainers, Cornell offers the world from its hilltop campus.