Acting in Musical Theatre

A Comprehensive Course

By Joe Deer, Rocco Dal Vera

© 2008 – Routledge

450 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415773195
pub: 2008-05-09
Currently out of stock
US Dollars$50.95
Hardback: 9780415773188
pub: 2008-05-09
US Dollars$125.00

Comp Exam Copy Companion Website

About the Book

Acting in Musical Theatre is the only complete course in approaching a role in a musical. It is the first to combine acting, singing and dancing into a comprehensive guide, combining what have previously been treated as three separate disciplines.

This book contains fundamental skills for novice actors, practical insights for professionals, and even tips to help veteran musical performers refine their craft.

Drawing on decades of experience in both acting and teaching, the authors provide crucial advice on all elements of the profession, including:

  • fundamentals of acting applied to musical theatre
  • script, score and character analysis
  • personalizing your performance
  • turning rehearsal into performance
  • acting styles in the musical theatre
  • practical steps to a career.

Acting in Musical Theatre’s chapters divide into easy-to-reference units, each containing related group and solo exercises, making it the definitive textbook for students and practitioners alike.


'This is the book we have all been waiting for! This book makes the textured work involved in the technique of acting in a musical more of a game and exploration than a chore. Whether for the beginner or the experienced professional, the student or the teacher, the fan or the critic, this text is a must-have and a must-read.' Victoria Clark, Tony Award-winning actress, The Light In the Piazza

'Though I attended a highly respected drama department for six years (two degrees), there was never a single course offered having anything to do with musical theatre. Therefore, I am all the more impressed by Acting in Musical Theatre, which gives a comprehensive and thought-provoking guideline to the study of performing on the musical stage. I found it fascinating and functional, and I am sure you will, as well.'Tom Jones, Tony Award-Winning Author/Lyricist of The Fantasticks, 110 In the Shade and I Do, I Do!

'At last a book that assists us in guiding our students to inhabit characters in musicals organically! A major milestone in musical theatre pedagogy.'Robert Barton, Author of Acting: Onstage and Off

'Deer and Dal Vera break down the complex terrain of musical theatre into digestible bits.Whether you are a fledgling musical theatre artist or a seasoned professional, this book offers an array of insights, suggestions, guideposts and exercises which you will find invaluable.'Michael Ellison, Bowling Green State University, USA

'Acting in Musical Theatre covers it all – acting, musical terminology, style and auditions. It is a must-have resource for all teachers and students of performing in musical theatre.' – Mary Jo Lodge, Lafayette College, USA

'A lively, engaging read that fills a heretofore empty niche. The authors do not patronize, but help the student focus on those aspects of the profession under his or her control.' – Judith A. Sebesta, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA

'Beautifully articulate and no-nonsense. A gift of a text for musical theatre.' – Lara Teeter, Tony Award Nominee: On Your Toes. Head of Musical Theatre, Webster University, USA

'A very detailed, clearly structured programme of work, with a good range of contextual information to support the practical enterprise… Deer and Dal Vera are meticulous in breaking down their sections and chapters into numbered sub-sections, and ensuring that their table of contents lists all of these.' - Studies in Musical Theatre

'A great resource for musical theater acting… Recommended.' - CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Fundamentals of Acting in Musical Theatre 1. Acting Basics – The Foundation of Musical Performance 2. Beats 3. Making it Matter Part 2: Score and Libretto Analysis and Structure 4. Musical Analysis – Listening for Clues 5. Reading for Change – Character Clues in the Libretto and Lyrics 6. Elements of Storytelling 7. Character Analysis Part 3: The Journey of the Song 8. Beats, Actions and Verbs 9. Working with Relationships 10. Intensifiers Part 4: Creating a Performance 11. Discovering your Phrasing 12. Staging your Song 13. Rehearsal into Performance Part 5: Style in Musical Theatre 14. What is Style? 15. Style Tags 16. A Range of Styles Part 6: The Profession 17. Do you have the Stuff? 18. Auditioning 19. A Winning Attitude. Bibliography of Useful Musical Theatre Books. Discography of Shows and Songs Cited. Videography of Useful Performances. Index of Exercises by Section

About the Authors

Joe Deer is currently head of musical theatre at Wright State University and Founding Past President of the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance. He has been involved in musical theatre as an actor, director, choreographer or stage manager across more than one hundred productions.

Rocco Dal Vera is a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, specialising in vocal training. He is co-author of the book Voice: Onstage and Off, and founding editor of the Voice and Speech Review. He has featured as a voice artist more than 500 times in both film and television.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Broadway & Musical Revue