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College of Liberal Arts & Education

Performing Arts / Theatre

Major in Theatre: Make the World Your Stage

University of Detroit Mercy's theatre major is where you can start to build your boundless future.

We believe in the strengths gained through apprenticeship training in combination with the practiced application of classroom techniques create a strong foundation for the performing arts professional.

Gain Experience

University of Detroit Mercy students have the added benefit of participating in The Theatre Company, established in 1970, to gain direct experience in all aspects of theatre management and performing.

Apply for Scholarships

Elite scholarships are available for theatre majors based on audition and involvement. The Theatre Company Performance Scholarships provide up to $22,000 per year for four years.

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    Theatre - Major

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts
    Major: Theatre

    Departmental advisors work with the student to build an individualized program within the college core curriculum and the requisite and elective courses found within the Theatre major or minor. Students entering the program will work with departmental advisors to develop the course of study that best suits the student's professional goals. University of Detroit Mercy offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major or minor in theatre.

    The Detroit Mercy Theatre Department is concerned with stimulating artistic expression by articulate, dynamic and creative people. The program is designed to prepare students to enter the profession as performers, stage managers, directors or educators. A conservatory-style approach in the classroom ensures that students receive personal guidance provided by faculty and carefully chosen artistic associates. Emphasis on small class size enhances the student's potential for rapid development.

    The department's philosophy, which centers on the strengths gained in apprenticeship training, is practiced in the application of classroom techniques to performance and professional practices found in the performing arts. Towards this end, the department sponsors a season of at least four major productions and provides opportunities for student performances in other special projects. Casting is open to all students, and non-majors are encouraged to participate.

    The Theatre faculty, staff and students at University of Detroit Mercy also form the producing organization known as The Theatre Company. The Theatre Company has been an established and respected member of the Detroit area theatre community since 1972. Using an apprenticeship approach to stimulate artistic growth in a creative production process, we combine the work of seasoned professionals with young talents. At the heart of this process are the professional talents of the faculty and associate company members, who also maintain dynamic partnerships with theatres throughout the area.

    The Bachelor of Arts with a major in theatre is for students who intend to achieve their goals as theatre practitioners or educators. Some students may wish to pursue a more diversified liberal arts program through a double major or minor.

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, the student must fulfill the requirements of the University core curriculum, the requirements for the 45-credit-hour program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours.

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    Minor - Theatre

    This 20-credit minor is designed to complement the experience of non-theatre major students whose career goals include public appearances, presentations, or performance in fields such as business, health administration, pre-law, social work, education and education administration.

    Students minoring in theatre are required to:

    • prepare and participate fully in all coursework;
    • audition for at least one production per year; and
    • work on at least one production crew per year.

The Theatre Company Alumni

Detroit Mercy theatre alumni can be found from coast to coast, on Broadway, off Broadway, and on TV and film. For more alumni profiles, please visit The Theatre Company's alumni page.

David DeAngelis '94
Producer, Actor, Assistant Director

Car Matchmaker with Spike Feresten, Hell's Kitchen, American Chopper and more
David DeAngelis got a taste for behind-the-scenes action while working on a number of Theatre Company productions from 1991 to 1994. Since graduation, he has worked on high profile television shows including Pitchmen, 1000 Ways to Die, American Choppers and Ice Road Truckers. He is currently the senior producer of Hell’s Kitchen on the Fox network, but he took the time out of his schedule to produce A Cabaret Showcase for The Theatre Company in 2013. He appreciated the opportunity to come back home and to have the chance to work on a stage production once again. Read more at IMDb.

Keegan-Michael Key '93
Actor

Key & Peele, Wilfred, Reno 911
Founder of Planet Ant Theatre

While you are most likely to recognize the Emmy winner from his hit Comedy Central show Key and Peele, Keegan Michael Key has been wowing people on the stage and screen for more than a decade. After graduating from University of Detroit Mercy, Key lit up the Second City Theatre in Chicago.  While there he earned several honors, such as the Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Revue for his performance in “Curious George Goes to War”. He has since been seen in a number of films while also being a regular performer on the small screen in Mad TV and Wilfred. Read more at IMDb.

Angelina Fiordellisi '81
Founder and Artist, Director of Cherry Lane Theatre, NY, NY

Broadway: Zorba, Nunsense, Annie
Founder and Artist Director of Cherry Lane Theatre, NY, NY

After graduation from college, Fiordellisi became a professional actress and moved to New York. She has had a long television career, appearing as a guest and featured artist in numerous roles throughout the 1990s and beyond. She has also served as artistic director of Cherry Lane Theatre in historic Greenwich Village since 1996. Read more at IMDb.

Admission to the University of Detroit Mercy Performing Arts Program and The Theatre Company is a two-step process:

  • Step One:  Apply for admission to University of Detroit Mercy. Apply online for free by visiting  www.udmercy.edu/admission/apply. Application to Detroit Mercy must be submitted before step two.
  • Step Two: Audition for entrance into The Theatre Company’s Program. An audition on Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus is required for consideration for Theatre Company scholarships.

2017-18 Detroit Mercy Performance Scholarship Audition Dates

Students receiving performance scholarships would begin classes during the Fall 2018 semester.

  • Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. RSVP by Monday, December 4
  • Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. RSVP by Monday, February 12
  • Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. RSVP by Monday, February 19
  • RSVP at www.udmercy.edu/auditions
  • All auditions take place at the University of Detroit Mercy McNichols Campus

Note: Additional audition dates can be arranged through Greg Grobis, associate professor of theatre, at 313-993-3269.

  1. Perform two memorized contrasting monologues (comic/serious, contemporary/historical).
  2. Provide a copy of your resume and current headshot. Scrapbooks and press clippings will not be accepted.
  3. Participate in an interview with members of the faculty.

Note: Stage Managers and Undecided Theatre Students do not have to perform but need to provide a letter of recommendation from a theatre teacher or qualified professional that speaks about the student’s strengths. 

Theatre Company Scholarship Opportunities

  1. The Theatre Company Performance Scholarship – Elite Scholarship for University of Detroit Mercy students majoring in theatre based on audition and involvement in Theatre Company. Amount: Up to 50% of tuition ($22,000) for four years.
  2. The Theatre Scholarship – up to $1,000 for for University of Detroit Mercy students majoring in theatre.

Meet Our Faculty

FULL-TIME FACULTY

Melinda Pacha, M.F.A.
Assistant Professor of Theatre & Department Chair

Arthur Beer, Ph.D.
Professor of Theatre

Gregory Grobis, M.F.A.
Associate Professor of Performing Arts & Managing Director for The Theatre Company

Gail Mitchell. M.M.
Associate Professor of Performing Arts

Andrew Papa, M.F.A.
Instructor of Theatre

Damian Torres-Botello, S.J., M.A.
Audience Development and Outreach Coordinator

ADJUNCT FACULTY

Daniel Grieg, M.M.
Adjunct Professor of Music

Gregory Trzaskoma, M.F.A.
Adjunct Professor of Theatre


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