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Best BFA Musical Theater Programs

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Brave Sir Robin2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/07
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 1/30/12 at 10:56pm
Thoughts about Pace?
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 1/31/12 at 04:57pm
BAs give a more general artistic viewpoint. I have a BA, and took classes in design, acting, directing, musical theatre, acting, dance, etc. Would i have a BFA in, say, musical theatre, I would focus solely on singing, acting, and dancing.

The above statement may also be true, but technically the difference between a BA and a BFA is that the former is a liberal arts degree. A BA program will typically require two years' worth of general electives, one year of major classes, and another year comprised of electives and/or a minor. (The actual classes one takes will be mixed up; I don't mean each year will be devoted to one category.)

A BFA program--again in theory--will require more studio classes and fewer general academic electives.

This is the basic model. There are plenty of exceptions. I spent many years at UCLA and there was an ongoing tension between the desire of some faculty members to form a conservatory and the University of California charter, which requires that all UC schools offer liberal arts degrees.
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TheIdolFinn
Swing
joined:2/7/12
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 2/7/12 at 07:31am
Guys! Help me! Where can I study Musical Theatre program in Canada? Sheridan has no graduate. AAAHHHH
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Wishing Only Wounds
Broadway Star
joined:4/27/10
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/4/12 at 05:57pm
To the person looking at Florida (if you still check the boards and assuming you have at least a year to decide)... I've heard good things about UCF, but they tend to send their students to work exclusively in Orlando afterwards. FSU has a very developed program and Miami is building up a strong program, from what I hear.

*Side note: UCF allows most people to get in-state tuition vouchers, which for Musical Theatre, is a huge help. There are very few state schools (around the country) with a good program.


-I'm just going to be honest, since no one will write it: Tisch is dead for Musical Theatre.
-PACE is excellent, however they encourage you to go out and work during your time there, which, while that is good... it's only good to a certain extent. There's a reason you go to a training program. PACE gives you phenomenal training, but if you're looking for a true four year experience, PACE may push you out of the nest a little too fast. Many people refer to it as a "factory".
-Elon and Penn Sate are becoming big powerhouses. That's been alluded to, no need to go more into it.


BAs are very good options and shouldn't be looked at as a "fall back." With a BA, as long as the school is good, you're still getting an excellent training... a BA allows you to learn more, outside of theatre; a lot of graduate schools (a la Yale) prefer a BA, for that reason. Even though a BA is rooted in liberal arts, they're more often than not very rigorous. (Look at Wagner and Muhlenberg, for example.)

As far as BAs go, Wagner is excellent and has really been shaping up their program recently. The Wagner Theatre Performance major is actually a lot more intensive than most BFA Musical Theatre programs, and the school is very well respected in the industry.

Then of course, there's Northwestern, which is also great.

Formerly: WishingOnlyWounds2 - Broadway Legend - Joined: 9/25/08
Updated On: 9/26/12 at 05:57 PM
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Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/4/12 at 10:26pm
Tisch isn't dead for Musical Theatre.

More than half of the New Studio on Broadway's faculty is from Carnegie Mellon. It's headed by Kent Gash. They have Michael McElroy, Barbara Tirell from Wicked, and Michelle Shay who has appeared in several movies and TV shows. This year they had master classes with Julia Murney, Alice Ripley, Eden Espinosa, Phylicia Rashad, and many others.

You don't hear about their alumni yet, because their oldest students are just now entering their junior year. The musical theatre program might be under the radar because no one has completed it, but it is certainly not dead.
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broadwayfreak4
Understudy
joined:5/25/09
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/5/12 at 02:40am
Thoughts of about Ball State University?
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wicked1492
Broadway Star
joined:6/18/08
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/5/12 at 09:45am
Lots of current/past students' opinions on here:
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/ball-state-university-mt/

College Confidential has a whole BFA Musical Theatre message board with general discussions and specific separate boards for most schools.
"These rabid fans...possess the acting talent to portray the hooker...Linda Eder..." -The New York Times
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Wishing Only Wounds
Broadway Star
joined:4/27/10
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/5/12 at 05:26pm
This talk of TISCH reminds me: prospective students, make sure you look into whether a school favors a certain acting style. You should want to be well versed in many styles, but also should really do some research to make sure you're not unhappy with the style of training. It could potentially be the difference as to whether you stay at a school or transfer.

Back to Tisch...

Maybe "dead" was a little harsh, but it really doesn't live up to the hype of its name and what it once was.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as the new studio... you don't really get to pick your studio, right? If I'm recalling correctly, an audition for TISCH is just that, and they place you into a program AND a studio... is that still the case?

I'm totally willing to be wrong here, I just haven't heard many positive things coming out of TISCH in the past few years, from one person in particular who would've been a junior this coming fall, actually.
Formerly: WishingOnlyWounds2 - Broadway Legend - Joined: 9/25/08
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Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/5/12 at 07:05pm
You're not way off. They don't place you in a program. You chose a specific program for an artistic review and you're either denied or accepted to that program, which would be drama in this case. Once you're accepted to the Drama Department you get a studio placement, but if you audition for Drama they don't put you in a different program. The audition is for Tisch Drama, not all of Tisch.

If you want to do Acting you chose an actors audition which consists of two monologues and that means you'll be considered for the 7 acting studios. More often than not they'll ask you which studio you're interested in if you have a shot at getting in. Most people just hear the name NYU and are sold so they don't research and know about the different studios in which case the auditor will place you.

If you want MT you chose an MT audition which is the Acting audition plus a dance call, and a singing audition. When you choose MT you're declaring The New Studio on Broadway as your first choice, but you're also being considered for the other 7 studios.

I agree with you on you're advice about schools favoring an acting style. I transferred schools because of that. Anyone who's interested in acting and wants to be exposed to many different styles should look into The Experimental Theatre Wing at Tisch. All the popular methods are covered in that studio from Meisner to Strausberg. While the other studios have a more particular way of doing things, a method, you have the option of switching studios after your sophomore year, so you can go from Meisner Technique to Adler or Strausberg etc. Also they say you can't change your studio placement before your sophomore year, but it's not impossible. Once you're in the program you realize how easy it is to switch, it just seems impossible from the outside looking in because it's highly discouraged. It happens more frequently than one would think.

One last thing, even if you're in the musical theatre studio at Tisch Drama you will graduate with a BFA in Drama not in Musical Theatre. The MT students are Drama students who focus in MT.
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Laurelei
Chorus Member
joined:7/14/11
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/6/12 at 05:16am
Hello everyone,

I'm sorry to get slightly off the subject of this thread (BFAs) but I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts about Circle in the Square Theater School? I'm starting there in the fall, in their MT program. I should say that I specifically chose their program because it's mainly an acting program. My main goal isn't to become a triple threat, but a good actress who sings and dances (I know their dance training is limited but I used to be a dancer). Thanks in advance for any insight you might have about the school.
"There's a Sondheim song for that."
jayclay
Understudy
joined:9/11/08
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/6/12 at 10:39pm
In addition to these fine Ithaca College graduates: David Boreanaz '91, Kerry Butler '92, Matt Cavenaugh '01, Michele Federer '95, Jeremy Jordan '07...oh, and Gavin Macleod '52...we can now add Aaron Tveit '12!
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Harpz2006
Broadway Star
joined:1/3/08
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/9/12 at 07:49pm
just curious about Aaron Tveit-- did he actually go back this year and finish coursework? Or was it online or something?
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ThatShortBlondeChick
Swing
joined:6/23/12
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/23/12 at 07:16pm
What are the best college programs in Canada and NYC? By this I mean which schools give you a good quality course and learning experience without a hefty price tag attached to it? Which schools require a dance audition and which schools teach you basic dance? Are there any colleges that work directly with some On or Off Broadway theatres?

Sorry if this has already been posted (I haven't had enough time to read through the whole thread)
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defygravity24
Featured Actor
joined:7/17/09
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/24/12 at 01:59pm
Another great program at NYU is the musical theater program in Steinhardt. Its in the Music department, so you earn a Bachelor of Music. It's more focused on singers who act and dance, rather than actors who can sing and dance, and you take four years if theory and keyboard training. Its a music program, rather than a drama program, so if you're more interested in developing your music skills, its a great program.
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ErinDillyFan
Broadway Star
joined:7/14/06
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 6/25/12 at 11:10am
I went to the University of Michigan 25 anniversary concert for the musical theatre program. Alan Menken spoke and said when he was asking the same question for his daughter. He asked James Lapine, who he said that overall UofM graduates were the best prepared. So, that is why Nora ended up at UofM. Audra McDonald said as much, when she was pandering to the audience during a recent concert.

That being said there are many good programs with enough good instructors out there that if you have the talent and put in the work you can be successful.

What you might consider:
1. are you a fit in the program? Do you feel comfortable with the instructors/campus
2. Performing opportunities and facilites. Will you get to perform enough? Will you be working with state of the art equipment?
3. Networking do the instructors/alumni have good connections in the industry?

Is cost a factor to you?
alley_alexandra
Swing
joined:12/4/12
Best BFA Musical Theater Programs
Posted: 12/4/12 at 11:39am
It is worth candidly considering the amount of debt you will take on while in school. Six months after you are out, you have to start paying that back. Unless your folks are loaded or willing to take that on for you, you may end up working full time in non-theatre just to pay that debt. Be practical - can you afford the debt? A full time job - if necessary to pay for yourself - makes it really hard to audition freely - worth thinking about. I specifically mention this for those who are moving to NYC - it's very expensive just to live here leaving aside any debt. Most of the schools recommended here are private and most of the people recommending the programs are still in them. Look at alumni who are working who came out of those schools. Look at ALL alumni - people can make a solid career and never actually play broadway - national tours, cruise ships, etc. Alumni working is the best indicator of a 'good' program if you ask me.

All that said, in my experience, going to school/studying in the city you want to work in is a great way to build connections while you are studying. There's a certain starting from scratch aspect when you move to a new city. How good are your out of town professors connections? Has anyone successfully used them? Talk to those people. Studying where you want to end up can save you months of building connections while you have no work and a lot of moving expenses.

Last, do you need to go to school at all? My partner skipped college and moved to NYC with his first year's state college tuition in his pocket, having convinced his parents to let him move to NYC and use that money to get started. He took various part time jobs, took dance and voice classes, auditioned like crazy, and got work starting at 18 (cruise ships, tours, summer stock, etc.). He had a friend who'd already moved here who got gave him a couch for a few months, introduced him to dance teachers (dance is his forte), hooked him up on how to audition, etc. Not everyone is cut out to do this but if you think you are, it might be a way to do this. You can always go back to college later if it doesn't get you anywhere.

Updated On: 12/4/12 at 11:39 AM

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