Projects in World Music Theater

Spring 2019
Class Size: 75
25% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Andrew Buchman
music composition
Patricia Krafcik
Russian language and literature
Sean Williams Square

In many cultures, performance is an interdisciplinary art, combining aspects of storytelling, image-making, theater, music, and dance. We'll compare and contrast histories and theories of the musical and opera, studying examples from around the world. Drawing from Chinese opera, Indonesian wayang puppet theater, Japanese kabuki , and traditions of performative processions such as Carnaval in Brazil and the Procession of the Species in Olympia, we will explore the nature of display, identity, and what it means to draw from the past to understand the present. Expect to study music theater works--not just watch them once through, but study key scenes repeatedly, analyzing them as one might analyze a written text in many academic disciplines. We'll study La Boheme and Rent,West Side Story, My Fair Lady,Wicked , The Cradle Will Rock , and related source texts, such as G.B. Shaw's play "Pygmalion" and the novel "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire. We'll explore the current trend of making stage musicals out of popular films, such as Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion , a recent original production at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

Each student will work on a creative research project focused on an artist or artwork, and work together in small groups to develop, refine, and present research and scenes from music theater works to the program. A public performance, a revue of original songs and scenes, will be scheduled towards the end of the quarter. We'll study the human voice as an instrument through practical exercises, and study songwriting and playwriting as crafts. While the faculty's central disciplines are ethnomusicology, music composition and theory, we will draw on our students' interests, skills, and previous studies as well to create and develop capstone senior projects within the program.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

music, theater, dance, technical theater, ethnomusicology, and arts history.


Credits per quarter


None. Previous experience onstage or behind the scenes in musical theater, and/or some previous academic work in ethnomusicology, cultural studies or anthropology, will be helpful.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$75 for entrance fees.

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 75
25% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 9:30 am
Com 107 - Recital Hall

Advertised schedule:


Located in: Olympia

2018-08-03Faculty member added, deleted the word "Advanced" from title, changed from Jr/Sr to "All Level" program, deleted prerequisite restrictions, added "none" to prerequisite section.