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Stanford production of Chicago. Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Musical Theater

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Course Description

Prerequisite:  None

Students performing musical theater

Have you ever seen a great musical and wondered, “How do the actors do it?”   In this workshop we will explore the mechanics of acting in musicals as we practice solos and scene work from contemporary and classic musicals.

Material will range from the “golden age” of musicals of the 1930’s to new releases.  Possible choices are:  Gypsy, Company, My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, Cabaret, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Ragtime, Urinetown, Dreamgirls, Hair, Avenue Q, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, Anything Goes, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Caroline, or Change, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Next to Normal, Hairspray, and others.  Students are encouraged to suggest their own material in their application for the program.

The class will be accessible to both beginners and experienced actors/singers and will include in-depth work on vocal technique, utilization of action, specificity of language, personalization, emotional truth, character, and given circumstance. Students will develop an awareness of the demands of the performance experience in a safe and supportive environment. They will be encouraged to work to expand their range and will study and perform a solo and a scene from a musical. These assignments will require a minimum of 2 two-hour sessions with a scene partner during a scene rehearsal week. Commitment and responsibility to scene partners is a crucial component to successful work in the theater.  In addition to required readings, students will be expected to conduct some research on the world of the playwright, librettist, and composer.  We will end our workshop with a final performance of the work in a showcase for an invited audience.  All levels welcome!

Instructor Bio

Kay Kostopoulos

Kay Kostopoulos is an actor and director who coaches theatre and business professionals. Her credits include A.C.T., San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and California Shakespeare Festival, where she also served as Education Director. At Stanford, Kay directs and teaches undergraduate acting, audition, vocal production, and acting pedagogy for graduate students for the Department of Theater and Performing Arts and in the Graduate School of Business. She has taught over 40 Continuing Studies Program (CSP) classes, directed and acted in five CSP projects, and coached and performed voices in CSP’s Homer’s Odyssey on- line project. She has also acted in four seasons of Stanford Summer Theatre and is the co-creator and director of the Stanford Interactive Theatre Project in association with the School of Medicine. Kay particularly enjoys nurturing new talent, assisting undergrads in their transition to the professional world, and introducing adult students to the Performing Arts.