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.