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National Music Theater Institute Planned For O'Neill Center

Hartford Courant

To capitalize on the increasing interest by young people in the area of music theater, Waterford’s Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is launching this fall a new division of the National Theater Institute called the National Music Theater Institute.

NMTI will be a 14-week conservatory-like training program offered twice a year with classes seven days a week. The program aims to be “a springboard for those pursuing a career in music theater to hone their craft, find their voice, and meet with like-minded collaborators.”

The O’ Neill’s annual National Music Theater Conference, under artistic director Paulette Haupt, has developed dozens of musicals over the decades, including the award-winning shows such as “Nine,” “Avenue Q,” “[title of show]” and “In The Heights.”

NMTI awards five undergraduate course credits (20 credit hours) through transcripts issued by Connecticut College, NTI’s school of record.

The 44-year-old National Theater Institute is under the direction of Rachel Jett, A search for a director of the NMTI is under way. The NMTI Advisory Board includes: Jett, Haupt, the O‘Neill’s executive director Preston Whiteway, David Jaffe (NTI Alum; Chair of Theater, Connecticut College), David Dorfman (choreographer; chair, Connecticut College Dance Department), Ted Chapin (NTI Alum; President, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization), Donna DiNovelli (NTI Faculty; lyricist), Scott Richards (NYU-Tisch), Thomas Viertel (O’Neill Chairman), and Jack Viertel (artistic Director, City Center Encores).

The O’Neill, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is undergoing a major campus expansion, providing seven new dormitories, a state-of-the-art rehearsal hall, and additional production and rehearsal space to accommodate the fall 2014 semester.


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