Texas Tech Music Theatre has been a performing ensemble of the TTU School of Music since the 1970s. Many of its participants have gone on to major careers in opera and the American musical theatre stage. The list of famed vocal artists grows each year, and now includes soprano Susan Graham,Bruce Ford, Terry Cook, Garrett Sorenson, Greg Warren, and Rebecca Babb-Nelsen. Each of these performing artists boast of international careers that began with TTU Music Theatre.
The stage works offered by Music Theatre include musicals, operettas, grand opera, and musical drama, following the German definition ofMusik Theater. According to this philosophy, any theatrical work that also offers singing is a genre of Music Theatre. In keeping with the definition, it is not unusual for TTU Music Theatre to offer a contemporary musical on the same season with a world premiere music drama and a grand opera. Recent past productions have included Puccini’s La Bohème, Leonard Bernstein’s Candid, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. The settings for these works have included the usual proscenium theatre, as well as dinner theatre presentations, and cabaret performances.
In addition to mainstage performance opportunities, Texas Tech vocalists participate in a great number of Music Theatre activities designed to enhance their performance skills and give them practical stage experiences that they can take to the professional level. Freshmen Music Theatre students are encouraged to enroll in an Introduction to the Musical Theatre Stagecourse and are allowed to participate in an annual children’s opera. Students with intermediate-level performance skills participate in operatic/musical theatre scenes studies that culminate each semester in a staged performance at the School of Music. For this reason the Texas Tech School of Music is considered a school of choice for both undergraduate and graduate vocal students.
Texas Tech Music Theatre also performs in Midland. We are sponsored by the Midland Opera at Wagner-Noel Center for the Performing Arts. TTU Music Theatre made its international debut last summer with Cosi fon tutti at the national theatre of Honduras.
In the summer months, TTU vocalists are encouraged to participate in any number of opera/musical theatre apprenticeship programs, and many have with remarkable success. Texas Tech Music Theatre enjoys a fruitful relationship with the professional Cedar Rapids Opera Company in Iowa. Music Theatre Director Gerald Dolter founded a Young Artist Development Program with this company in 2002. More than 50 TTU vocal students have received valuable professional training with this company since that time, and several have made their professional operatic debuts as a result.