Music, Musical Theatre, and Self Design Major in Directing
“You are not a number at Carthage. The smaller programs allow you to form relationships with your peers, faculty, and staff that help you to learn and grow in a way that works best for you.”
“After graduating from Carthage, I hope to make a positive impact in the lives of others through theatre as a performer and teaching artist. I hope to teach theatre and fine arts to all ages, but especially to children. I am also passionate about adaptive teaching and hope to find a position where I can help make theatre accessible to all people.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“Assistant professor of music and director of undergraduate musical theatre studies Matthew Hougland has greatly impacted my life and Carthage’s career. He takes a genuine interest in the lives, careers, and well-being of his students and helps them grow in a way that works best for them. His adaptability and creativity help him to cater his teaching techniques to meet the needs of his students. The faculty and staff at Carthage College are there to help you succeed. They want you to succeed. If you ask questions, work hard, and present yourself as someone ready and willing to learn, they will do their best to help you in any way they can. Prof. Hougland has helped me become a better person, professional, and performer by ensuring our musical theatre classes, lessons, and performances are run professionally. He also has had experience working in multiple theatrical scenes, so his wealth of knowledge and experience is invaluable to his students. He knows how the industry works right now and can translate that into how we work in the classroom.”
“My favorite class at Carthage has been Music Theatre Workshop (also known as Music Theatre Techniques). It is an almost entirely performance-based class where students take turns getting up to perform songs and then receive feedback from Prof. Hougland, master’s students, and undergraduate classmates. This is an invaluable opportunity to build a diverse repertoire while learning from giving and receiving feedback and watching your classmates do the same. You can learn just as much from watching others work as when working yourself.”
“Last year, I ran on the Carthage women’s cross country and track and field teams. Throughout my time here, I have also been in Carthage Chorale and have worked as one of the class representatives within the Theatre Department and Dance Program’s Class of 2025.”
Internships or on-campus employment
“This year, my second year at Carthage, I began working as the arts events manager in the Office of Performing and Visual Arts. It is my job to coordinate and organize the logistics for all student recitals that happen on campus. Working in the office of performing and visual arts is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in arts management. Sometimes, arts management jobs will require a few years of experience for applicants. Working in this office, I will graduate with that experience, putting me ahead of my graduating peers, who must seek this experience before applying to the same jobs. Also, suppose you want to work as a performer. In that case, the front-of-house, management, and marketing experience make you a more marketable performer as someone who understands the work that happens off the stage to make a performance possible.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“Carthage’s New Play Initiative offers an excellent opportunity to work on and premiere a new work each year. I am currently involved in ‘Memento Mori,’ a devised work that I was able to help write and develop as part of the cast. We will travel to Ireland in January to further our experience and learning with this show. This has been an incredible opportunity to further my skills as an actor and as a writer and creator.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“If you are looking to pursue a degree in the performing arts, Carthage is a great place to do it because you can pursue other passions and interests simultaneously. This allows you to become a more well-rounded and marketable artist. For example, it may be possible for you to pursue a music/musical theatre degree, as well as minors in something like Spanish and dance. This way, you graduate having a broader skill set that will, in turn, help you to be hired. Musical theatre is also a great major if you have a passion for music, theatre, and dance, instead of focusing on one of those areas.
“My advice for students pursuing this major would be to be ready to work! You are given many opportunities to involve yourself in the department, perform, and receive and give feedback. Take them! Say yes again and again, and you will grow as a performer and professional because you will have a rich bank of experience to draw from.”
“I chose Carthage for many reasons, one being its musical theatre program. Finding a school with a specific program in musical theatre while staying close to home in the midwest is difficult. Carthage not only has a musical theatre program, but it also has a thriving and growing one that gives its students unique opportunities for growth and professional development. The location between Milwaukee and Chicago provides an optimal location to benefit from the connections faculty and staff have in the area, see shows, and get involved in professional performance opportunities.”