Coordinator of Musical Theatre Studies
Joining both the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film and the School of Music faculties at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000, Alisa Belflower remains a relative newcomer to this region. At UNL, she designs and teaches new courses integral to Musical Theatre Training; teaches Voice; and serves in the varied roles of Musical Director, Coach, or Director for UNL's productions.
Alisa earned a Masters degree and completed doctoral course work at the University of South Carolina. From Furman University, she holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachleor of Arts in French. Following her undergraduate degrees, she was an opera apprentice to Mme Joan Van Praag in Paris, France, where she also studied theatre.
Successfully developing new programs in Musical Theatre Training at Miami University of Ohio, Towson University in Baltimore, and now at UNL has led her to develop an approach to singing for actors that allows classically based-singing techniques to coexist with theatre's innovative voice/body techniques in training healthy voices. An integral goal of her approach is to train voices flexible enough and singers knowledgeable enough to embrace various musical styles, ranging from operetta to jazz, as employed in Musical Theatre's varied vocal repertoire. Her philosophic reverence for the creative and artistic potential of Musical Theatre generates her belief that almost any song, however artistcally questionable in its composition, can be transformed into art by a well-trained actor/singer's ingenious performance. These ideas motivated Alisa to finish her latest book, SINGING MUSICAL THEATRE: AN ACTOR'S GUIDE TO PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE.
In her work as a master teacher of Musical Theatre, Alisa has musically directed, coached, and/or directed over 100 musical productions; judged many competitions; founded Miami University's juried Musical Theatre Honors Competition; founded UNL's annual Celebration of American Song; worked with NATS' approach to musical theatre in the Great Lakes, West Central, and Mid-Atlantic Regions; presented workshops in Musical Theatre's Performance and guest lectures on Musical Theatre's diverse literature. An active member of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing (NATS) and now governor of Nebraska's NATS chapter, Alisa also frequently serves as a respondent to musical productions entered in the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).
Alisa is a passionate advocate for the academic use of little-known musical theatre repertoire both older and newer. Her most recent research has been in contemporary trends in Musical Theatre, which has led to artistic exchanges with Tony-winning and Tony-nominated composers, as well as other celebrated, young composers of new theatre music. Under Alisa's direction, UNL's students have premiered five new musicals in the last six years.
Alisa's former students are widely spread, some working professionally in theatre in London, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and on the West Coast as well as some who find satisfaction in singing as an avocation. Alisa has taught and performed in South Carolina, New York, England, France, Ohio, Maryland, and now the Midwest.