Department of Musical Theatre chair departs

Saturday, June 4, 2016 - 6:23pm

Brent Wagner, chair of the Department of Musical Theatre at the University of Michigan, and the only chair in the department’s history, retired this week after 32 years of service. Wagner will be replaced by Vincent Cardinal, the artistic director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre and chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut.

Wagner is credited with the overall success of the department, having made it one of the most competitive at the University, with just a 2.3 percent acceptance rate. Wagner is especially recognized for adapting the department to changing circumstances in the musical theatre industry, as well as diversifying the coursework of the students, proposing higher degree requirements for classes not related to the arts.

Cardinal, in addition to his current position at the Connecticut Repertory, has also served in administrative positions at Adelphi University, Ohio University, the University of Miami and the Circle Repertory Company School of Theater.

Cardinal has also written and directed several plays that have received national and international acclaim. Actors Timothy Daly and Amy Van Nostrand won Dramalogue Awards for Best Performances in his play, “The Colorado Catechism,” which was produced internationally.

In a press release, Aaron Dworkin, dean of the University’s School of Music Theatre & Dance, expressed confidence in Wagner’s successor.

"Vincent Cardinal's exceptional combination of academic and professional accomplishment ideally qualifies him to lead our renowned musical theater department," Dworkin said.