My father grew up about 20 miles north of Hartford in Enfield, CT, so when I came home one day during my senior year of high school and announced that I wanted to major in music, he told me, "You should go to the Hartt School!" I always had a special longing to visit the school and check out their programs even after my parents later insisted I stay in-state for college. I'm grateful Tracey Moore, Professor of Theatre, took some time to share about the unique aspects of the BFA program at the University of Hartford.
How long has your BFA program been around?
About 24 years
How many students, in general, does your program accept every year?
25 Music Theatre BFAs (this varies; some years more, some years less)
How many students, in total, are currently enrolled in your program?
What's unique about your program?
Our program is like a combo BFA in Music Theatre and Acting. In addition to rigorous dance, acting, and singing training, our MT students take two on-camera classes, voice and speech for actors, movement for actors, period styles, Shakespeare, and can even take film or song-writing electives. Our students graduate ready to go wherever the industry wants them -- musicals, film, TV, Shakespeare.
Tell us a little bit about the musical theatre faculty at your school.
Hartt offers both the BFA Music Theatre and BFA Acting degrees. All of our faculty teach in both programs. Our Head of Dance is a choreographer who works regularly at the MUNY, Goodspeed, St. Louis Rep, and more. The Head of Music for Theatre was on the national tours of RAGTIME and CAMELOT, and did several off-Broadway shows and pre-Broadway workshops. Many of our current voice faculty were on Broadway, and continue to perform or record. The coaches and voice teachers come up from NYC to teach for us since we're only 2 hours away from the city. Being so close to NYC, we bring in a lot of guest artists!
Are there any recent productions you're particularly proud of?
A couple years ago we did a production of ON YOUR TOES which was a collaborative adventure for the music, theatre, and dance departments. The symphonic orchestra was in the pit, the corps de ballet from the dance division did a ballet section, and our music theatre students played the leads. It was amazing! This year, we are doing CHESS, with a director who was involved in the Broadway revival. We recently produced an amazing production of TITANIC. We do four or five musicals every year on our mainstages, as well as lots of smaller musical projects. We also do new works, and invite the writers to come work with our students.
How about alumni?
We have twice been named by Playbill on their list of "Schools that have the most alumni on Broadway." Our students work! Juwan Crawley, Aladdin; Riza Takahashi, Mean Girls; Dan Macke, Dear Evan Hansen; Christine Dwyer, Wicked; Jessica Vosk, Wicked; Kit Treece, Jersey Boys; Matt Faucher, Doug Lyons, and Kevin Duda are in Beautiful, The Carole King Musical Jamal Fields-Green, Hamilton in Chicago, Karis Gallant is on the Kinky Boots Tour; Rodney Bowman is on the Anastasia Tour; Max Carmel is on the Cinderella Tour; Michelle Beth Herman is swing on the Les Mis Tour; Jayke Workman and Greg Rodriguez are in Flamingo Kid, coming to Broadway soon! ......and many more.......
What is your program's "best-kept secret"?
Every musical theatre senior performs in Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals. These are shows being workshopped by writers like Adam Gwon, Jason Robert Brown, Greg Kotis and Mark Hellman, Kooman and Dimond....and directed / music directed by up-and-coming New York professionals. Our students work and live alongside these professionals for 2 weeks in January, and form lifelong connections and friendships. Not to mention, they get to work on these shows from the beginning, and often have an impact on the final product! We also have professional partnerships with Hartford Stage and Theatreworks. Students cast in shows at these Equity theatres earn EMC points.
Hartt is in Hartford, Connecticut, which is about 2 hours from NYC. It is close enough to the city to travel easily by bus, car, or train, yet far enough away that students feel like they are having a true college experience. I like to say that "Hartt gives you all the benefits of NYC without any of the crazy stuff." Our school is small, and our facility (The Handel Performing Arts Center) is really nice.
Want to learn more about The Hartt School at the University of Hartford? Visit: https://www.hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/hartt/academics/theatre/music-theatre.aspx