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Music Theatre


Music theatre students have the opportunity to work with our outstanding theatre faculty and music faculty to develop core skills in music and theatre. Our innovative music theatre workshop is led by music theatre pedagogues and performing professionals. Visits from New York and Chicago professionals round out the curriculum.

Music Theatre Workshop Faculty and Staff

  • Corinne Ness

    Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities; Director, Master of Music in Music Theatre Vocal Pedagogy; Professor of Music

    Corinne Ness has performed classical, music theatre, and contemporary music in venues across the country. A recognized expert in contemporary voice, she has lectured on contemporary vocal pedagogy across the United States and Canada, and is a regular guest artist in China. In addition to leading the Music Department and Music Theatre Program, she teaches applied voice and music theatre workshop.

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  • Elena Batman

    Adjunct Faculty, Music — Voice

    Praised for her breathtaking voice and her acting, Elena Jeanne Batman’s career encompasses opera, musical theater, and the concert stage. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, and earned her Doctor of Music in Voice and Opera Performance at Northwestern University in 2009.

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  • Melissa Kelly Cardamone

    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music; Staff Accompanist

    Melissa Cardamone has been a staff accompanist and coach with Carthage College since 2010. She is also a classically trained soprano.

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  • Peg Cleveland (Plambeck)

    Adjunct Faculty, Music — Voice

    Ms. Cleveland’s voice students know her as an energetic and passionate teacher.  Her teaching career spans 20 years to include private voice instruction, Italian, French and German Diction, opera scene coaching and direction, musical direction and performance pianist for several musicals, and choral conductor. 

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  • Peter Dennee

    Chair, African Studies Program; Professor of Music

    Peter Dennee ’86 joined the Carthage faculty in 2005. Along with conducting the Carthage Treble Choir and Carthage Chorale, Prof. Dennee teaches music education, conducting, and global music courses, as well as courses within the Carthage Honors Program. He is associate editor of the 2016 choral textbook series “Voices in Concert jointly published by McGraw-Hill and Hal Leonard.

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  • Raven Dockery

    Adjunct Faculty of Music Theatre

    Raven Monique Dockery is an adjunct faculty member of music theatre at Carthage, where she teaches a variety of subjects related to music theatre performance and style. She has an active performance career and has been seen in leading roles at Skylight Music Theatre, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Paramount Theatre, First Stage Theatre, Black Arts MKE, Optimist Theatre, and Kalliope Vocal Arts, among others. 

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  • Matthew Hougland

    Assistant Professor of Music; Music Theatre Specialist

    A native Hoosier, Matthew has taught and performed in various venues across North America. Matthew’s students can be seen on Broadway, national tours, TV/film, cruise ships, and various regional theaters. Matthew holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and an advanced certificate in vocal pedagogy, both from New York University, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Anderson University.

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  • Herschel Kruger

    Chair, Theatre Department; Professor of Theatre

    Professor Kruger teaches both acting and directing classes, as well as a variety of other theatre classes. He has been at Carthage for 15 years and is currently serving as Chair for the Personnel and Tenure Committee.

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  • Martin McClendon

    Professor of Theatre

    Professor McClendon worked as a professional actor in Chicago and Los Angeles for 11 years before getting involved in teaching, appearing onstage at Chicago’s Steppenwolf, Northlight, Organic and Victory Gardens theatres, among others. He also acted in independent movies, commercials, and television shows. TV credits include episodes of “ER and “Early Edition.” He has also pursued scenic design for many years, working in Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently First Stage Children’s Theatre in Milwaukee, WI. 

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  • Jeremy Mossman

    Adjunct Instructor of Music

    Mossman was previously Director of Musical Theatre Voice at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and has also taught musical theatre-related skills at Wayne State University (Detroit), Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan) and St. Clair College (Windsor, Ontario). Mossman has taught and assisted in professional workshops and courses in New York, Boston, Ann Arbor, Tampa, The Voice Foundation in Philadelphia, the American College Theatre Festival, and the Michigan School Vocal Music Association among others. 

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  • Thomas Novak

    Adjunct Professor of Music Theatre

    Tommy Novak is a Chicago-based Actor and Director and a Adjunct professor of music theatre at Carthage. At Carthage, Prof. Novak directs musical theater workshop productions, coaches repertoire and thesis projects, and provides special workshops on voice/acting integration and the profession of music theatre.

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  • Stacy Pottinger

    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre

    Stacy Pottinger directs Carthage’s dance minor and teaches courses in modern and jazz dance, dance history, and dance theory and composition. She has performed professionally since 1996, working with many independent dance artists and companies based in Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, and beyond.

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  • Neil Kristian Scharnick

    Associate Professor of Theatre; Director, Honors Program

    Dr. Neil Scharnick, a Carthage graduate, has been teaching Theatre at Carthage since 2003. He teaches Play Reading & Analysis, the cycle of theatre history courses, Ensemble & Experimental Acting, and directs one production each season. Scharnick also serves as Director of Carthage’s one-of-a-kind New Play Initiative, commissioning new work by award-winning playwrights to develop and premiere at Carthage.

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  • Lorian Schwaber

    Assistant Adjunct Professor of Music — Voice

    Lorian Schwaber has been professor of voice and music theatre at Carthage for the last 10 years. She has extensive international experience in teaching contemporary music theatre,  including serving as guest artist professor of American Musical Theater at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and directing their inaugural productions of Carousel in 2012, and Once on This Island in 2013. 

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  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …