Performance Concentration

Performance Concentration Overview

CSU’s performance concentration equips students with the skills needed to pursue a variety of fields related to their own creative and professional paths. Engaged with their passion and imagination, young performers receive rigorous training in text analysis, acting technique, movement, voice and speech, emotional expression, and critical thinking. In the process of understanding theatre, they make visceral connections between the physical, emotional, and scholarly as they harness their own stories and artistic vision.

The concentration emphasizes both the theoretical and practical aspects of theatre, and focuses on developing well-rounded, responsible artists, leaders, and communicators who value collaboration within an artistic community.

Musicals at CSU

From The Sound of Music to Hamilton, musical theatre is a leading genre in performing arts and enterainment. An innately American art form, it was developed out the Music Halls of England, the ceremonies and rituals of immigrant cultures, the structure of the American Songbook, and the ordered chaos of jazz.

Music theatre blends the creative disciplines of singing, acting, and dance, harnessing the power of all three storytelling mediums to move the story forward; mastering this art form takes skill, courage, and intense dedication. To that end, students at CSU receive supportive, one-to-one studio and classroom training that results in authentic and exciting productions. Numerous performance opportunities include MainStage musicals, plays, and operas, as well as dance concerts.

With a combined 30 years of Broadway experience, as well as countless appearances on television and in film, CSU's seasoned faculty convey first-hand insight about life as a professional artist.

CSU Theatre produces one full-scale musical each season.

Courses in Performance

Students in Performance are able to take concentration related classes every term they are enrolled at CSU.

  • Introduction to Performance: Freeing the imagination with workshops from every member of the permanent faculty and a wealth of improvisation and the use (and creation of your own) white mask.
  • Acting I: Beginning scene study with an emphasis on exploring action/objective and the given circumstances of a selected text. The fundamentals of acting: self-confidence, trust, collaboration–developing the actor’s imagination and expressive technique through scene study and directed improvisation. Translating theatre texts into effective and convincing stage action.
  • Acting II: Developing range and depth in approaches to acting: the construction of character; sound preparation for playing monologues and scenes; audition techniques; genres and styles in acting with a focus on naturalism and realism as major conventions for the contemporary stage actor.
  • Reading Shakespeare: The intensive study of Shakespeare text focusing on one play which will be performed at the end of the term.
  • Voice and Speech for the Theatre: This course includes diagnostic work, instruction, vocal exercise and interpretive work based on the work of such important coaches as Kristin Linklater, Roy Hart, and Edith Skinner. The general emphasis is on freeing the body and voice from habitual tensions and patterns for optimal vocal awareness.
  • Classical Text: The Cicely Berry approach to voice and speech for speaking classical text.
  • Acting III: Using exercises to stimulate imagination and inspire instinctual choices actors will use contemporary acting methods in a wide range of dramatic texts. Advanced experience, study and training in acting methods applied to a variety of styles and genres: ranging from the contemporary, experimental or postmodern, to traditions of farce, comedies of manners, or classical plays.
  • Professional Actor Preparation: This class will focus on all phases of “getting the job.” We will begin by diagnosing your most saleable qualities, then move on to understanding how the casting process works. We will cover typing, defining the various industry jobs (both above-the-line and below-the-line), “breakdowns,” interviews, photos/resumes, agents, managers, casting directors, cold reading, prepared readings (for both TV/film and theatre) and monologues, on-camera acting, creating a one-person show. This class is also a reality check for those who are seriously considering the life as a professional actor.
  • Advanced Topics in Acting: Author-specific actor challenges for the advanced actor (e.g., Brecht, Beckett, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Moliere, and contemporary writers). May be taken two times for credit.
  • Theatre Seminar

Nothing unifies like a musical because it brings the theatre, dance, and music areas together and sets the students up for seeing how it's done in the real world. It's like where I came from on Broadway, and I'm really excited to see it here. Everyone is doing an amazing job and showing why CSU is such a great school with its interconnected, interdisciplinary, and interdepartmental coordination. —Noah Racey, Musical Theatre Professor