Alisa BelflowerArea Head for Music Theatre Studies
Area of Focus: Performance / Directing, Theatre, Voice
• Coordinator of Music Theatre Studies | Hixson-Lied College
• Voice/Directing Faculty | Glenn Korff School of Music
• Acting/Directing Faculty | Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film
• Associate Producer in Development | Lied Center for Performing Arts
Alisa Belflower joined both the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film’s acting/directing faculty and the Glenn Korff School of Music’s voice faculty at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2000. At UNL, she designs and teaches courses integral to music theatre training and stage performance. She teaches a studio of both classical and music theatre voice students and serves in the varied roles of Music Director, Coach, or Director for UNL's productions. In addition to her teaching, Alisa is the Coordinator of Music Theatre Studies in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts and an Associate Producer in Music Theatre Development with the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
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 Music Theatre Training at Miami University of Ohio, Towson University in Baltimore, and now at UNL has led her to develop an approach in training healthy voices that allows classically-based singing techniques to coexist with theatre's innovative voice/body techniques. Her pedagogical approach is driven by the goal to train voices flexible enough and singers knowledgeable enough to embrace various musical styles ranging from opera to jazz. Her philosophic reverence for the creative and artistic potential of Music Theatre generates her belief that almost any song can be transformed into art by a well-trained actor/singer's ingenious performance. These ideas motivated Alisa to write her book, SINGING MUSIC THEATRE: AN ACTOR'S GUIDE TO PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE.
Alisa has music directed, coached, and/or staged over 100 productions. Locally, she is the writer and director of UNL's annual Celebration of American Song Series founded in 2004. At the Lied Center for Performing Arts, she develops and directs new music theatre. She is a resident director for ASCAP's midwest musical theatre workshop. Internationally, she has presented workshops and master classes in vocal performance, acting/movement for singers, and guest lectures on Music Theatre's diverse literature. Alisa serves on the National Governing Board and as West Central Governor in the National Association of the Teachers of Singing (NATS). In the National Opera Association (NOA), she has served as West Central regional governor and is currently governor the Nebraska Chapter. She has served as a respondent to musical productions entered in the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). She is also active in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) and the Educational Theatre Association. She has served as a professional reader/adjudicator of new music theatre works for NAMT, ASCAP and the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.
Alisa is a passionate advocate for little-known musical theatre repertoire, both older and newer. Her research in contemporary Music Theatre has led to artistic exchanges with award-winning composers, as well as emerging younger composers. For over a decade under Alisa's direction, UNL's students have performed developmental premieres of new musicals with award-winning composers, lyricists, and bookwriters in residence as guest artists at UNL. Currently, all musicals developed at UNL have received equity productions and/or further development at prominent national and regional theatre companies. Alisa directed Mary Zimmerman's new adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE in it's first performance with full orchestra. This production won the NOA’s national opera production competition. For more, visit https://arts.unl.edu/hlfpa/candide
Alisa's students have annually won numerous honors for both classical and music theatre performances — including honors won in the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, Hal Leonard’s North American Vocal Competition, Lotte Lenya Competition, National Music Theatre Competition, the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, and other prominent competitions. Her former students are widely spread—some working professionally on stages in London, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and on the West Coast as well as some who enjoy successful teaching careers and others 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.
What do you enjoy the most about being on the faculty at the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Belflower: I thoroughly enjoy my opportunities to help my students grow to an exceptional level of artistry, my opportunities to create staged musical events, and my opportunities to bring award-winning professionals to campus to work with my students. My bright and talented students, who delight and inspire me as well as my brilliant colleagues, who work with such dedication to their art and to their students—together make life in the Korff School a rich daily experience. No two days are ever the same.
What do you want others to know about the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Belflower: Although located in the heartland, the quality of artistic training a student in the Korff School will receive is internationally competitive. Alums from my program are working professionally and creating award-winning artistic work in classrooms as teachers and on professional stages as performing artists.
In your area of work for the Glenn Korff School of Music, what brings you the most pride?
Belflower: The amount of concern and support the faculty has for the students’ welfare and artistic growth is unparalleled. The excellence the Korff School’s voice area achieves in our competitive, but nurturing environment, is outstanding in terms of our students’ winning competitions and our students’ professional work after graduating. For two decades in collaboration with the Lied Center and the Carson School, we’ve developed new musicals that have enjoyed award-winning professional productions; this is a remarkable opportunity to contribute to the history of music theatre.
What do you like to do outside of the Glenn Korff School of Music?
Belflower: I enjoy critiquing and developing new musicals with professional groups in New York. My work as a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing’s national board helps me contribute to the future of my discipline. Having been trained in France by a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, I also love to spend time in my kitchen cooking and baking.
Anything else you would like to add?
Belflower: I was born to this life in the arts. The rich flow of inspiration, the exciting quest of research, the thrilling rollercoaster of creating a performance, and the professional relationships developed in artistic collaborations combine to create a grounding balance of imagination and practical reality. A teaching artist’s life is a daily opportunity to make a positive difference in the world one student and one audience at a time.