MFA in Musical Theater Collaboration

The innovative 60-credit MFA in Musical Theater Collaboration program is the first in the nation to collectively train, mentor and develop new composers, lyricists, book writers, directors and choreographers together as a cohort group in a comprehensive collaborative program. The program is designed to prepare candidates for careers in the musical theater industry as collaborating creative team members and as independent artists engaged in the creation of new musical theater works for both the commercial and nonprofit sectors, and for educational programs.

The program emphasizes intensive graduate-level craft-based training that includes abundant studio, workshop and production experience opportunities. This degree program places primary emphasis on the inherent collaborative nature so characteristic in this most integrated of performing art forms. The program seeks to mirror the actual field-based creative process of generating new musical theater works, teaching fundamental craft skills as well as collaboration skills within a world of access to the necessary mentoring and talent resources vital to the process of creating a new musical.

Current collaborative artists include Mark Hollmann (Urinetown), Dave Caplan and Alan Jay Zipper. Below photo of staged reading of Age of Power, a new musical by Hollmann, Caplan and Zipper.

Students perform AGE OF POWER

Course of Study

The 60-credit degree in musical theater collaboration is the the first graduate degree to offer a comprehensive multi-track program in creating musical theater works. Over three years, students will engage in craft-based disciplinary studies in their respective areas plus a core curriculum they will take as a full cohort group. Please note: Program start is Fall 2018.

  • The first year of the program will focus primarily on building creative collaboration skills in concert with studies based in their respective disciplinary areas of emphasis. 
  • The second year will continue disciplinary studies and break the cohort into groups of collaboration teams focused on the creation of new music theater thesis pieces.
  • The third year will be the thesis year; focused on bringing their thesis projects to fruition culminating in either a fully rehearsed workshop production or inclusion as a full production in the main Temple Theaters season. 

Graduate assistantships are available.

Course Work Includes:

Musical Theater Practicum

Script and Score Analysis

Dramaturgy and Adaptation

American Musical Theater

Composition, Vocal Arranging and Lyrics Seminar

Playwriting and Book/Lyrics Seminar

Visual History

Directing for the Musical Stage

Curriculum varies by track: Composers & Composer/Lyricists; Directors & Director/Choreographers; and Playwrights & Book Writers. 

Degree culminates in a showcase and thesis project. 

Showcase: Industry showcase of students’ selected work to be presented in New York City to an invited roster of industry and field professionals, funded in part by the George and Joy Abbott Center for Musical Theater, consisting of a short concert-style presentation featuring selected performed excerpts from the candidate’s body of original work.

Thesis Projects: Creation of a complete new musical culminating in a fully rehearsed workshop production, written by MFA candidate composers and composer/lyricists, book writers and playwrights, and directed by MFA candidate director/choreographers.

Learn more about the curriculum in the Graduate Bulletin.


Admissions Information

Please Note: The next eligible entrance date is Fall 2021. To be considered, please submit a complete application no later than March 1, 2021. 

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the head of Musical Theater, Steven Gross, at

If you have questions about the admission process, please contact Paury Flowers at

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