This course focuses on understanding and performing staged readings of new contemporary musical theater works in the professional setting. During the semester, students who have auditioned and been cast in the course will learn how to create and develop a character in the context of a staged reading. New works created by Berklee students, alumni, and faculty will be explored in this process. Students are required to learn the songs and scenes from the piece, analyze these songs from an acting perspective, and perform a staged reading in front of an audience. The course requires a full commitment and focus, and is by audition only. Students are evaluated through weekly song performances, scene work, a graded midterm and final performance, character analysis, and through dialogue and presenting papers. There is a focus on the analysis of music and lyrics of the songs in these contemporary pieces. The focus begins with basic stage terminology and works toward creating a more detailed connection between analysis and performance. Students will gain a better understanding of how theater songs create and bring dramatic elements to life.