The University of Michigan School of Music, Drama and Dance has named Michael McElroy, Broadway star and Tony Laureate, the new chair of the school’s musical theater department. McElroy will join the prestigious program this fall as the Arthur E. and Marsha S. Hearron Musical Theater Teacher, succeeding Vincent Cardinal, who will retire to devote himself entirely to teaching.
A Broadway veteran with a career spanning nearly three decades that includes appearances in To rent, Big river, and Sunday at the park with George, McElroy has long juggled careers in acting and theater education. He was the first director of diversity initiatives at New York University’s Tisch School of Drama, and has spent the past 10 years as an associate professor of arts at Tisch’s New Studio on Broadway. McElroy comes to the University of Michigan after serving twice as Artist in Residence on Broadway in the past three years.
McElroy received a 2003 Tony Award nomination for his performance as Jim in Deaf West’s revival of Big river, and received a Special Tony Award in 2019 as part of Broadway Inspirational Voices, a professional choir of Broadway artists founded by McElroy in 1994. He was the band’s musical director until his resignation last month.
READ: Michael McElroy and Allen RenÃ© Louis on the Past, Present and Future of Broadway Inspirational Voices
“This is an exciting date for us,” said University of Michigan School of Music, Drama and Dance Dean David Gier. “Michael McElroy brings invaluable trifecta of experience: as a seasoned artist with 30 years on the Broadway stage, as an educator with impeccable credentials, and as a leader working for diversity, equity and culture. inclusion in the performing arts. With this unique experience, he is ideally placed to guide our famous musical theater program into the future at a pivotal time for the theater industry and for higher education. “
The University of Michigan is regularly on our annual list of the 10 best college theater programs with the most alumni performing on Broadway. Notable college graduates include Darren Criss, James Earl Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Gavin Creel, Jack O’Brien, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Jeffrey Seller.
Founded in 1983, the Department of Musical Theater was chaired for its first 32 years by Brent Wagner. McElroy will only be the third person to hold the title.