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On Stage: ART's 'Failing Grade' At Harvard


A recent announcement came from Harvard University that it is suspending its graduate-level theatre training program, the ART Institute, for three years in an effort to address ongoing problems. The U.S. Department of Education gave the program a “failing grade” in January because of the debt that its students typically face upon graduation. 

For the two-year program, the median debt for students is approximately $78,000; at Yale, the average debt is about $12,000, and at UC San Diego, graduate students' full tuition is covered. Then in May, the Institute fell off the annual Hollywood Reporter's list of the 25 best drama schools for a degree in acting. Unlike most other graduate programs in theatre, Harvard does not offer a Master of Fine Arts, which was established as a terminal degree for creative and studio arts. Instead, Harvard awards Institute graduates a Master of Liberal Arts degree in extension studies through the Harvard Extension School.

Meanwhile, Disney has become well-known for re-purposing its films as stage musicals, and its musicals as films. The original 1992 film musical Newsies, based on the 1899 Newsboys Strike in New York City, was adapted for the stage in 2011, and arrived on Broadway in 2012. With music by Alan Mencken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by Harvey Fierstein, the stage musical was nominated for eight Tony Awards and won two, for choreography, and musical score. You can catch this lively production onstage at Century II, thanks to Music Theatre Wichita, from August 11 to August 20.