With many events planned for this year, the musical theatre program celebrates its 50th anniversary, and for a majority of its existence, it’s been under the direction of professor and department chairman Aubrey Berg.
With the college’s roots dating back to 1867, CCM became part of UC in 1962. The college introduced the country’s first bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre seven years later. It would be another two decades until Berg found himself guest-directing for CCM’s summer music series and the college was searching for a new department head.
He was teaching in Birmingham, Alabama, at the time and had just purchased a home there, but he decided to apply anyway. He got the job.
“I had been teaching at a liberal arts school, and I thought it would be fun to teach in a conservatory,” Berg says. “So I sold my house and moved up here, thinking I’d be here for a year or two.” It’s now been more than 30 years.
Under Berg’s leadership, CCM’s musical theatre program began to soar. What sets it apart from other universities and conservatories is a focus on “triple-threat training.”
Triple-threat performers can sing, dance and act, Berg explains, “if not equally well, at least well in each area.” Some popular triple-threat celebrities include Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris and Jennifer Lopez.