University of Michigan among most-represented colleges on Broadway

ANN ARBOR, MI – It’s no secret that alumni of the University of Michigan’s School of Music Theatre & Dance had a big year on Broadway in 2016-17.

All signs point to another big year for SMTD alums, according to Playbill, which published its list of the Top 10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway for the 2017-18 season this week.

UM came in at No. 3 on the list, which tracks where members of the casts and creative teams of each Broadway show went to college. New York University topped the ranking, while the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music was No. 2.

Among UM alums featured on the list was Gavin Creel, who won his first Tony in 2017 for featured actor in a musical in Bette Midler’s return to Broadway in “Hello, Dolly!”

University of Michigan alums win big at 71st Tony Awards

Creel grew up in Findlay, Ohio, and graduated from UM’s the School of Music, Theatre & Dance with a BFA in musical theater in 1998.

This was Creel’s third Tony nomination, previously being recognized for his work in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Hair.”

Ann Arbor Pioneer High School and UM graduate Ashley Park is one of three graduates from UM’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance to be cast in roles for Tina Fey’s new Broadway musical “Mean Girls,” which is expected to debut in March 2018, according to Playbil.

She is joined by UM alum Erika Henningsen and Taylor Louderman, who has played roles in Broadway’s “Kinky Boots,” and “Bring It On: The Musical.”

Jennifer Laura Thompson appears on the list for her role as Cynthia Murphy in the hit Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” which was the winner of six Tony Awards this year, including best musical.

“Dear Evan Hansen,” of course, was written by SMTD alums Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, opening on Broadway in December 2016. The duo earned Tonys for best score for writing the songs for “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The songwriting team recently were recognized for their professional achievements during UM’s spring commencement ceremony with Bicentennial Alumni Awards.

They provided a special musical performance during the ceremony along with students from the UM School of Music Theater & Dance. The songwriters also won a Golden Globe for the song “City of Stars” from the movie “La La Land.” The two met and began collaborating as students at UM, graduating in 2006.