Her lyrics have graced the Broadway stage. She’s won award after award, including finalist status for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. She was even named the title of Master Teaching Artist at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. And now, Jenny Stafford will once again call Colorado home, as she steps into the position of director of theatre for Colorado Christian University.
Having once been a student at CCU, Stafford will mix CCU’s core values with her knowledge of theatre to offer the students an exciting experience that will prepare them for a long career in the theatre world. From working as a script reader for 21-time Tony winning director/producer Hal Prince to writing lyrics for Cirque de Soleil, CCU is pleased to welcome Stafford.
Background and Experience
Stafford remembers the exact day that she wanted to pursue a career in theatre. “I went to see a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on my eleventh birthday,” she says. “In the parking lot after the show, I told my parents, ‘That's what I'm going to do when I grow up.’”
Years later, her passion for the arts led her to study at CCU before receiving her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory, and her MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Stafford recently wrote lyrics for one of the world’s top entertainment companies: Cirque du Soleil. “I was very fortunate to make my Broadway debut earlier this year, writing lyrics for the Cirque du Soleil musical, Paramour,” she said. “I was brought in to write additional lyrics two weeks before the show opened, so it was a wild ride. I’d write a lyric until three in the morning, they’d rehearse it all day, and it would be onstage in the Broadway preview that night!”
The Future at CCU
When asked what her vision is for CCU’s theatre department, Stafford says, “I hope to create a real sense of community in the department, both on and off stage. I hope to create an environment where students can feel safe to dive into the vulnerability that is necessary to create good theatre and grow as an artist.”
“Theatre can be a dark profession, and my vision is to create a program that trains the kinds of artists who can be agents of change. They do that by being truly top-notch artists – artists that earn their voice in the room because they show up earlier,” she says. “They work harder. They are more prepared. They are kinder and better to work with. This applies whether students go on to Broadway careers, or participate in local community theatres. I want them to be respected as world-class artists, and they are world-class artists because they are fueled by a love of their Savior. In that way, I believe they have the power to influence the future of the arts.”
Jenny Stafford will begin teaching at Colorado Christian University in the fall of 2016. For more information about Stafford and her background, visit jennystafford.net.