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The department is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Department of Dramatic Art to create the Musical Theater Minor!

Musicals were something that both departments were missing. Many first-year students come to Carolina having primarily worked on musicals in high school, to find no formal outlet for this in either department. Last year, prior to the implementation of the new minor, the departments produced Urintetown: The Musical! This was the first popular musical produced here since 2011, and further highlights the excitement and need for the musical theater minor.

Assistant Professor of Music LaToya Lain has been a key collaborator in the process of getting this new minor off the ground, seeing music students’ need for this minor clearly. “Speaking from the musical perspective, we’ve now come to a point, in this industry, where artists are balancing successful careers in both Opera and Musical Theatre. This hasn’t always been the case and in the past, singers have had to choose one or the other,” she remarked. “But with this shift, many of the most famous operatic singers are crossing over and performing on Broadway! Building a foundation that includes both classical and musical theatre vocal techniques on the undergraduate level will give our students the extra confidence, knowledge, and experience to prepare them for a career in either or both directions.” 

Anyone who is interested is able to participate in this minor. Voice, acting, and dance are the three different tracks you can choose depending on which route you want to focus on. Many new courses will be offered including, DRAM 144 Acting the Song, which incorporates music into an acting course. DRAM/MUSC 151 American Stage Musical will cover the history and background of musicals. Also, movement classes will be offered with more frequency, as well as the dance course that already exists in the Exercise and Sports Sciences department.

“The thing I’m most excited about with the minor is that it’s an opportunity for drama and music students (or even anyone else) to take these classes that would have been difficult to find otherwise! A bunch of actors I know haven’t had the chance to take dance classes because their schedule doesn’t allow it, but if the dance classes are required for the minor, then it makes it possible to take those opportunities and run with it,” said Lucy Smithwick, class of 2024. 

David Navalinsky, professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Dramatic Art remarked that “it will bring different people into the building[s]. It will bring students that are not interested in performing in non-musicals and it will hopefully broaden our audience. Musicals also have a different energy to them that permeates through the entire team.” 

“Spring Awakening is our musical for this year which we just cast, and there is a good buzz around that from the cast and production team,” continued Navalinsky. “Conversations will begin soon about what will follow very soon.” Performances will run April 20th-24th of 2023. Learn more about Spring Awakening here.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about this new minor, please contact Dr. Lain at or Professor Navalinsky at

by Casey Mentch, class of 2024

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