The Musical Theatre program at CCM was the first of its kind in the country. A four-year bachelor of fine arts (BFA) program, it was used by the National Association of Schools of Theatre in creating the guidelines for accreditation of Musical Theatre programs nationwide. The program is widely recognized for its “triple-threat” approach to training and many of its graduates are following careers as performers and creative artists in every facet of the entertainment industry. The program is regularly ranked near the top of Playbill Magazine’s annual list of “10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway.”
“A gifted director, teacher and nurturing mentor, Eric is precisely the kind of educator who will lead our top-rated musical theatre training program to even greater heights,” says Denton Yockey, CCM Professor of Arts Administration and Head of the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (TAPAA).
Santagata’s appointment concludes an extensive national search that began when long-time CCM Musical Theatre Chair Aubrey Berg retired at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after holding the position for 32 years. Yockey chaired the search committee, which consisted of CCM faculty members Diane Lala, Roger Grodsky, Vincent DeGeorge, Richard Hess, Robin Guarino, Mark Halpin, Katie Johannigman, Shauna Steele and UC College of Arts and Sciences faculty member Sharrell Luckett.
“As a musical theatre alumnus, CCM has been crucial in my development as both an educator and an artist,” Santagata says. “The tools and training I honed here have been the backbone of my career. I look forward to having the opportunity to take the knowledge I’ve accrued in the professional entertainment industry and focus it into a curriculum that speaks to the tradition that CCM is founded on, while ushering it into a new era of success.”
An accomplished director, choreographer, performer and educator, Santagata has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on national tours and in regional theaters across the country. He was most recently seen on Broadway in the Hal Prince retrospective Prince Of Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club. His other performing credits include Bullets Over Broadway at St. James Theatre, Chaplin at Barrymore Theatre, The Apple Tree at Roundabout Theatre Company, Happiness at Lincoln Center Theater, Stairway to Paradise and Face the Music at City Center Encores!.
Santagata has served as associate director to Tony Award-winning director/writer James Lapine in the national tour and Broadway productions of Falsettos — nominated for five Tony Awards — as well as assistant director and choreographer to Lapine in A New Brain at Encores! Off-Center in New York. He has also served as associate director and choreographer to Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman in Off-Broadway productions of The Beast in the Jungle and Dot at Vineyard Theatre as well as Broadway productions of The Scottsboro Boys, which received 12 Tony Award nominations, seven Olivier Award Nominations and the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical. In London, Santagata was the associate choreographer on Stroman’s The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic and West End theaters.
In addition to his work on stage and behind-the-scenes, Santagata has presented master classes and taught theatre arts at universities and programs across the country including at Penn State STAGES Conference, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Orpheum Theater Group, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Oklahoma City University and the Open Jar Institute as well as London’s Mousetrap Theatre Organization. His master classes and talkbacks focus on Santagata’s professional experiences in acting, singing, dancing, directing, choreographing and audition techniques.
He is also an active board member of Westport Country Playhouse’s Resident Conservatory – the Broadway Method Academy, a non-profit program that offers focused training for young adults while connecting them with established industry professionals. He previously served as an adjudicator at the 2017-18 Stephen Sondheim Awards, Connecticut’s Regional Award program in association with the Jimmy Awards and the National High School Musical Theatre Awards; and as a directing mentor during the week-long Staples High School Directing Intensive in Westport, Connecticut.
Santagata is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.