THE MUSICAL THEATRE PROGRAM at CCM is the oldest in the country. It was established in 1968 by Helen Laird, with Jack Rouse serving as the first Chairman of the program. It served as the model for the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) in creating their guidelines for the accreditation of musical theatre programs in the United States and continues to be accredited by both bodies today.
The first graduate of the program was Pamela Myers (Class of 1969). In true "showbiz" fashion, she boarded a Greyhound Bus for New York City to seek fame and fortune. Her first Broadway audition was for a new musical written by a young composer and based on a series of one-act plays about life in the Big Apple. She sang a country and western song, "Little Green Apples" and was cast in the role of Marta. The composer was Stephen Sondheim; the musical was Company and nightly Pamela stopped the show singing "Another Hundred People." A year later she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. Most recently, she returned to CCM as a guest artist, playing the role of Jeanette Burmeister in our production of The Full Monty.
Since then, CCM has graduated many students who have made a name for themselves as performers, directors, musical directors, choreographers and producers. And we have continued our association with the Tony Awards, with the coveted statuette going to such names as Faith Prince (Class of 1979) for Guys and Dolls, Michele Pawk (Class of 1985) for Hollywood Arms, Stephen Flaherty for Ragtime, Kevin McCollum (Class of 1984) as producer of the musicals In the Heights, Avenue Q and Rent, Karen Olivo for West Side Story and Tom Viola (Class of 1976), in recognition for his work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.