Music School and Theatre and Dance Department Serve Up a Bountiful Spring Season of Student Performances

 All College of the Arts' students receive top-notch education and training; relevant and hands-on co-curricular activities including exhibits, stagings, screenings and performances ; access to faculty actively working in the field, as well guest artists and visiting speakers and presenters who offer an insider's view of their respective industries and networking opportunities; and, last but certainly not least, unique opportunities to help make the foray into their chosen career paths.


John J. Cali School of Music

For the John J. Cali School of Music, April/May is the culmination of hundreds of hours' work by members of its many ensembles. These include the University Singers and MSU Chorale, which recently performed Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem as part of a concert exploring themes of the cycle of life on earth. 

Students and jazz faculty performed new and classic jazz works in the MSU Jazz Band concert, directed by Jeffrey Kunkel. The Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony presented the winner of their concerto competition, Jordan Tarantino, in a performance of the theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams, and a provocative work, The Dream of Abraham by Daniel Bukvich, a multimedia presentation accompanied by a showing of the Abraham Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

On May 4 and 5, the MSU Opera Workshop, directed by Jeffrey Gall and the MSU Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ken Lam, will perform Dialogues of the Carmelites. The production features the combined forces of 53 gifted student singers from the MSU Opera Workshop and the Musical Theatre program, teamed up with more than 60 student instrumentalists from the MSU Symphony Orchestra.

Gall said this production should not to be missed.

"Dialogues is the most ambitious student opera production in MSU history and marks a milestone in opera at MSU," Gall said."It is the first full-length serious opera produced by the Opera Workshop. The orchestra is by far the largest and most complex to be heard in the history of student opera at Montclair State. The teamwork between the singers and players is exceptional. The production features the hauntingly beautiful projections by New York video artist Maya Ciarrocchi and the sensitive lightscapes of lighting designer David O Smith. Together, these artists have created a rich and thought-provoking visual environment for the singing actors and their onstage orchestra."
Dialogues of the Carmelites
will be performed in English in two performances on Saturday, May 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. at the Alexander Kasser Theater. Gall will introduce the May 5 performance with a pre-opera talk at 1:30 pm in the theater's lobby.

In addition to large ensemble concerts, April and May are especially busy times for individual and chamber recitals. Several chamber groups will perform in Kasser Theater on May 6. At the Cali School throughout the year, you may hear all kinds of music, early music, classical, jazz, contemporary and new compositions by our students.

For dates and times for performances, visit the John J. Cali School of Music's Performance Calendar.


Department of Theatre and Dance

For 24 students in the Acting and Musical Theatre programs, this year's Senior Showcase on April 13-14 provided an invaluable opportunity to get their foot in the industry. Scheduled during the spring semester, the Senior Showcase is a two-day event at which students perform and audition for invited agents, managers, casting directors, producers, musical directors and industry professionals in New York City and then make themselves available for callbacks, interviews, future auditions and representation.

Acting and directing Prof. Sue Kerner said there were 50 casting directors/agents in attendance this year's, which is a record. However, she is quick to add that the Showcase is only the final of year-long opportunities for students to meet these industry professionals.

"We schedule about 15-20 casting directors and agents throughout the year to come on campus and talk to our students about what to expect in the industry and how to get into the business," Kerner explained.

During the two-day event, each student has the opportunity to perform any combination of  two scenes, songs and/or monologues for two hour-long presentations. The students are thoroughly prepared as they've already honed these showcase performances on at least three separate occasions on campus. Depending on how they did, students may receive a call back from the agents to come to their office, to determine if they should represent them.

Both Kerner and Assoc. Prof. Clay James, coordinator of the Musical Theatre program, said this year's event was a win-win for all.

"It went extremely well, and the students learned a lot," James said.

"Quite a large percentage were invited back to sign with agents and many of the students had several agents who were interested in calling them back," added Kerner.

For the past 16 years, the BFA Acting and Musical Theatre Showcase has been an important step in the professional-training programs for graduating senior actors and musical theatre majors and, Kerner said, is, for many, the beginning of successful professional performance careers on stage, in television and in film.

"It's just a first step on that journey and just one tool among others we've given students to get into the industry," she said.

For the Department of Theatre and Dance's performance calendar, visit here.