Manhattan School of Music will be the first-ever independent music conservatory in New York to offer a musical theatre degree program.

Last week, Manhattan School of Music made the announcement that the New York City Conservatory will be adding a new musical theatre degree program to their current academic roster. Manhattan School of Music president James Gandre made the formal announcement during the Spring gala Manhattan School of Music Broadway Melody at the Rainbow Room, honoring Bebe Neuwirth, and featured special guests Angela Lansbury, Barbara Cook, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue and Tommy Tune.

The new musical theatre program will begin in fall 2016, and Manhattan School of Music will be the first-ever independent music conservatory in New York (and only the second in the country) to offer a musical theatre degree program. The new program will be directed by Luis Perez, who will leave his post at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts to join MSM. Perez is joined by an Artistic Advisory Committee that includes Broadway veterans such as Norm Lewis, Susan Stroman, Tommy Tune, Kelli O’Hara,Ted Chapin, Bebe Neuwrith, Christine Ebersole, Graciela Daniele, James Naughton, Shuler Hensley, Ron Raines and more.

Below is a message from Gandre regarding the new musical theatre program, which will “leverage MSM’s New York City setting to attract a top-flight artist-faculty and give the program’s students the kind of performance and real-world experiences that only New York can provide.”

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of Manhattan School of Music’s Musical Theatre Program, which will provide students with a fully accredited Bachelor’s degree. Remarkably, it will serve as New York City’s first-ever conservatory-based degree program in an art form that was birthed on Broadway and has, since the early part of the 20th century, become inseparable from this city in the popular imagination. Like jazz, which MSM introduced to its academic programs in 1984, musical theater is New York, part of the city’s heartbeat. It’s the ‘great’ in the Great White Way. In becoming the first independent music conservatory in New York, and only the second in the country, to offer a Musical Theater Program, MSM will dramatically further its mission to provide excellence in education, performance, and creative activity, while providing students with all the advantages that New York City and the Broadway community can offer (including a top-flight artist-teacher faculty). Already, the School has assembled an Artistic Advisory Committee for the program that is comprised of many of Broadway’s best and beyond, a who’s-who list of musical theater professionals that reflects the full range and scope of what’s possible within the art form. Although MSM has many alumni active on Broadway, in pit orchestras and on stages (including Artistic Advisory Committee members Shuler Hensley, Jose Llana, and Joseph Joubert), and although the School has long provided related training via its superb American Musical Theater Ensemble, this new offering will be a full-blown professional Bachelor’s degree program. It will provide each student with a solid foundation in fundamental musical and theater skills, as well as a broader background in practical courses, literature, and humanities. If it is remarkable that New York City has until now had to make due without a conservatory-based program in the art form with which Broadway is synonymous, it is equally noteworthy that it will be MSM, just a few years shy of its centenary celebrations, that ends that drought. I am truly delighted to have the honor as MSM’s President to announce that the lights are at last coming up on such a program. Raise the curtain, cue the orchestra, and let the show begin!” – See more at: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/manhattan-school-of-music-announces-new-degree-program-in-musical-theatre-349532#sthash.7hwdMLnf.dpuf