musical theatre photo

Friday’s severe weather subsided just in time for the second event in UAH’s 2023 Dance and the Humanities series. UAH faculty and students gathered in the Student Services Building Friday night to hear Broadway dancer & choreographer Chloe Davis, The University of Alabama Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Alvon Reed, and St. John Paull II High School Drama Director Mari Adams discuss the iconic dance genre of Musical Theatre. The dialogue opened by tracing the evolution of the genre, from classic musicals like Oklahoma! to contemporary shows like Hamilton, and by discussing how dancing, singing, and acting synergistically combine to tell stories uniquely compared to traditional theatre.

Although the St. John Paull II Drama students were unable to attend, Director Mari Adams exemplified the saying that “The show must go on” by bringing a video of two of their past performances. The video clips were a natural segue to discussing approaches to teaching musical theatre, the impact of Covid on teaching, auditions, and performances, and finally, the benefit of musical theatre to participants and audience alike.

“Musical Theatre is meant to be live,” said Adams; “It’s a group experience.” Reflecting on the diversity of stories told via live musical theatre on Broadway and at community theaters and high schools across the country, Reed explained that the art form helps us to “see the complexity of the American experience.”

On Saturday, two dozen students from UAH, Alabama A&M, St. John Paul II High School, and Dance Theatre of Huntsville gathered for a Musical Theatre master class led by Davis. In addition to teaching choreography and working with students on technique, Davis also educated the dancers and audience on the history of the style of musical theatre dance they were learning. One participant commented that Davis’ “unique way of teaching the dance skills was awesome.” Another appreciated that the master class “Exposed me to something different and unique.”

The UAH Humanities Center sponsors the Dance and the Humanities series. The goal is to bring together global and local artists to explore the intersection of dance and the human condition with a particular focus on underrepresented dance forms and artists. The third and final event will spotlight Ballet. On April 13, Phillip Otto, Artistic Director for the Huntsville Ballet, will give a talk and lead a “behind the scenes” walkthrough with the dancers and creators of their upcoming show Cinderella.

For more information, please contact the co-organizers Dr. Dylan Baun ( and Dr. Jennifer Sims ( or go to