Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noreen Barnes

Second Advisor

Bostin Christopher

Third Advisor

David Leonge


A relatively new form of theatre has arisen and grown exponentially in the last half century. Theatrical musicals that require actors to play musical instruments have become common, bordering on pervasive. (Since the success of Pump Boys and Dinettes in the late 1970s scores of shows have followed suit, generating hundreds of new examples of this work.) Even so, they are the most difficult style of show to cast, due to a dearth of performers who are trained in the nature of these shows. The origin of this absentia of qualified performers is a lack of academic attempts to create the entertainers needed in this vital section of the industry. A person in possession of the following research could find themselves: 1) educated on how to find such work, 2) informed on the strongest methods involved in winning those jobs, 3) learned on the methods needed to practice this niche in a professional manner, and 4) aware of the esoteric challenges, flaws, and pitfalls of actor-musician-productions. Until books are published, classes are created, and educational expectations are demanded of actor-musicians in programs, actors will continue to dubiously drag their instruments to auditions for jobs they don’t know how to get or to do.


© Robert C. Blisset

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Saturday, April 05, 2217