School of Theatre, Television and Film

MFA, Musical Theatre - New Musical Initiative

The SDSU Musical Theatre Program really is dedicated to creating a space for new musical theatre writers to try out their material.  There is no better way to apply theory to practice than helping to create new work.  Everybody wins: Artists get to hear their work and students get to experience first hand just what goes into creating a new musical.

BD_Wong during a rehearsal

In the spring of 2015, SDSU MFA Musical Theatre students worked with La Jolla Playhouse artist-in-residence BD Wong on stage for a reading of his new musical Mr. Doctor (co-written with Tony nominated composer Wayne Barker). This collaboration between SDSU and BD Wong/La Jolla Playhouse is mutually productive, giving the MFA students valuable hands-on experience with the development of an original musical work in progress, while giving its creators a chance to see their piece off the page with a real audience for the very first time.  La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley said, “BD Wong is in residency at La Jolla Playhouse as actor, director and writer.  He is also expanding our relationships in the arts community. SDSU’s outstanding Musical Theatre program, and the development of BD’s own exciting new musical is a perfect fit.”


Ryan Scott Oliver seated

In the spring of 2014, the SDSU MFA Musical Theatre Program hosted contemporary music theatre composer Ryan Scott Oliver to be a composer-in-residence.  Mr. Oliver worked with the current MFA Musical Theatre students as well as selected alumni to present a reading of his new work, We Foxes.  Mr. Oliver has written eight musicals, and is a 2011 Lucille Lortel Award Nominee, a 2009 Jonathan Larson grant recipient, and the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre recipient.

Illustrated hot air balloon over a medieval city beside the words On the EveIn the fall of 2015, The MFA Musical Theatre Program at San Diego State University once again teamed up with La Jolla Playhouse to develop a new musical. On the Eve has a book by Michael Federico and lyrics and music by Seth Magill and Shawn Magill of the indie rock band, Home by Hovercraft. The creators wrote this of their experience:

“The opportunity provided by SDSU is truly unique in the development process. There is no substitute for the hands-on experience in an environment that boasts professional talent in an academic setting. It’s an experience that will help On the Eve continue to grow and move forward, and it’s something we would encourage any of our fellow musical theater creators to take part in if they had the chance.