What are good Theatre/Music Theatre schools?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: What are good Theatre/Music Theatre schools?
By Cwsreddy (Cwsreddy) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 10:02 pm: Edit

I know of and am looking into Northwestern, DePaul, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan, USC, NYU... what others should i look into?

By Doctorjohn (Doctorjohn) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 07:27 am: Edit

Take a look at the "Colleges for Musical Theatre" discussion. It started in April of 2002, and is into its 14th thread.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit

By the way, the thread mentioned above is in the Parents Forum.

By Cama (Cama) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit

Syracuse, SUNY Purchase

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit

Sorry Shennie. The thread DrJohn mentions (and to which he is an invaluable contributor) is right here in the College Search and Selection forum.

CWSreddy - find a comfortable chair in front of your computer and settle down for a long, very worthwhile read. And remember, if it starts to seem overwhelming, you can always use the search function to find info on specific programs discussed in the thread.

Good luck!!

By Haon (Haon) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 03:02 pm: Edit

Oberlin, Yale, Williams all have excellent programs in both Theatre and Music.

By Valerie (Valerie) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit


University of Minnesota - Gutherie Theatre BFA Acting - #1 in the country!!!!

NYU at TISCH - BFA Acting

Northern Illinois - BFA Acting

University of Southern California - USC




Carneige Mellon

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Glasgow, Scottland

LIPPA -Liverpool Institute of Performance Perparation Academy - Liverpool, England

Rutgers University

Boston University

University of Hartford - HARTT

University of Michigan - at Ann Arbor
BFA - Acting - Performance - Musical Theater

University of Utah

State University New York at Purchase - SUNY

California Arts Academy

Southern Methodist University - SMU

University of Oklahoma

University of Texes at Austin



University of Miami



UCLA - #1 in the country!!!!

DePaul University




Northwestern #1 in the country!!!!


University of Michigan

Carneige Mellon University - CMU



Yale - #1 in the Country!!!!

Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts - London, England

University of Minnesota at the Gutherie Theatre

Depaul University - Goodman Theatre


Most schools with Theatre BFA and BA programs mentioned here also have graduate level degrees.

Also, several of these schools have Musicial Theater Program degrees available on the undergraduate and graduate level.

Finally, some of the BFA and BA Acting schools mentioned here are more heavily Musical Theater oriented. One needs to check each school to decide correct fit and interest.

There are many more Theatre/Musical Theater Colleges/Universities in the country. The list here mentions exceptional programs that I am aware of. I have tried to put them into order. Good luck on your selections!

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit


Can you share with us where your "#1 in the country" ratings come from?

I'm asking because your undergraduate #1 MT program (Northwestern) doesn't really even have an MT major, BFA or otherwise - it's a certificate program (minor) for which music or theater majors may audition at the end of their freshman or sophomore year.

As DoctorJohn posted previously, there is an exhaustive discussion of MT programs going on under the thread entitled "Colleges for Musical Theater," now on its 15th part! A great list of MT programs appears at the top of Part 5. Check it out!

By Wct (Wct) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 07:11 pm: Edit

I too would like to know where your ratings come from. I have looked for "ratings" at different web sites and have been unable to find anything that rates performing arts BFA programs. Thanks. I would love to read about the ratings and how the programs were scored, (what criterea the programs were rated on and who rated them).

By Valerie (Valerie) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 09:00 pm: Edit

Theatermom, Wct and all,

Thanks for asking. It's a very important question and does need to be explained. First and foremost there ARE a lot of V.G. programs out there that one could argue are better than what I have listed. With that in mind let me see if I can answer to everyone's satisfaction.

The Gourman Report list the top Five Undergraduate Theatre/MT programs:

Carnegie Mellon
Northwestern University
USC - University of Southern California
NYU - New York University-TISCH Performing Arts

My list that I created comes from personal research with those in the know - the inside track so to speack - who are in the educational field of Theatre/MT and know who's who and what's going on. I will respectfully admit my list could be bias but I would stake my reputation on it that it is pretty right on if not terribly close.

Yes, Northwestern is a pretty funny bird when it comes to how their programs are run. They run a theatre, kind of, through their communications dept. I think their MT comes under their Comunications dept also but is more concentrated. Also, I think it overlaps with their Music dept. One would have to check it out more throughly. Even though my S chose not to apply to Northwestern after researching and with my H made a personal school visit to see the facilities and the campus, it is rated in the top five and coonsidered #1 in musical Theater. Then, one has to look at their Alumni who go on into Theatre and MT avenues. From Regional Stage, Broadway, film and have also made careers in screenwriting, stage writing,(Plays)directoring, have created and developed new theatre ensembles for their theatres (Gary Sinese - Steppenwolf Theatre, the actor from friends - The lookinglass Theatre for example) and educational fields where they teach their craft.

Thanks for the info on "Colleges for Musical Theater" I'll check it out and really investigate it, especially part 5.

It's a possibility with all the great info on these various threads that I could stand to be corrected. I am open to revise my list if it warrants it. For now though that's what I have from a parents research with a S who has been in school Theatre track last 5 years.

Hope my reply helps, I look forward to any further discussion!!


By Wct (Wct) on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 09:50 pm: Edit

I was interested in the ratings because of the part of your post:
University of Minnesota - Gutherie Theatre BFA Acting - #1 in the country!!!!

My son was heavily recruited by that program a year ago but he chose CMU. A year ago it seemed that the Gutherie program was too new to really be able to claim a rating against BFA conservatory programs that have been around much longer. When my son compared curriculum between the two he felt that the Gutherie program didn't measure up to CMU's. That was what really caught my eye I guess. I find it interesting that CalArts was not on your list. You have California Arts Academy listed as a BFA program and I had never heard of it. Where is it?
Could you clarify the difference between the two sections you have:
Theater- BFA acting undergraduate (which has 5 programs listed) and
Theater- BFA acting top undergraduate programs (16 programs listed)

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 12:12 am: Edit


I too remain a bit leary of your list. We did the research on Northwestern, including a visit and meeting with both the School of Communications and the School of Music. I stand by my description of the non-existent MT MAJOR at NU. There is, as I said, an MT minor but it is somewhat difficult to coordinate and the two schools don't seem to get along all that well. Perhaps the report you cite is referring to the Acting program for Northwestern which for years was considered one of the top non-conservatory schools in the country. However I'm not even sure that is true any more although they retain some of the strongest professional industry ties of any program. As a matter of fact, if you look closely at your list of top 5 schools, all are better known for acting than MT. Juilliard doesn't even have an MT program - it's acting or classical vocal performance there.

And let me know where to find the Gourman Report, if you will. I've never heard of it, not a real surprise because we didn't look at any "authoritative" listings when our search started. I tend not to trust them (the same way I don't trust the US News and World Report rankings of top colleges and universities) because the statistics and or information they base their ratings on are either never made clear or are easily manipulated by many school for the express purpose of being included in the report. We actually got much better and more accurate and helpful info right here from other parents and students on CC! Then for us it was a matter of requesting info from the schools that interested us and then visiting and/or setting up phone conferences with admissions reps, faculty members and/or administrative types.

But thanks so much for the clarification!

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit


Just did a quick search on line for the Gourman Report and found the following description right here on, of all places, College Confidential. Read this and I think you'll understand some of my skepticism about RANKINGS:

"The Gourman Report (officially, Gourman Report: Undergraduate Programs and Professional Programs in American and International Universities) takes a boldly different approach. Instead of ranking schools by overall quality (whatever that is), Dr. Jack Gourman ranks the best English programs, the best Chemistry departments, etc. - everything from Accounting to Zoology. Gourman used dozens of criteria, from faculty salaries to how well the mission of the department is defined, to produce the quantitative rankings.

Gourman's rankings are controversial, and favor large state universities according to some critics. Nevertheless, this book has stayed in print since it was first published in 1991 (and again in 1996) and is a staple of guidance offices in many high schools.

College Confidential Comments: Our usual caveats about any ranking scheme apply to the Gourman rankings. Seemingly objective, quantitative rankings can be altered dramatically by changing the weights of individual factors. In addition, many issues, like quality of teaching, are difficult to translate into numbers that can be compared across many schools. Gourman's rankings are further complicated by an opaque methodology that produces numeric results without the detailed backup data.

While we would certainly not recommend choosing a school based on its relative position in the Gourman Report, we do think the book can be a valuable aid to identifying possible schools. This is particularly true when the student is strongly inclined to a particular major. Glancing through the top ten or twenty schools in Geology, for example, might yield several choices that had not occurred to the student. Even if the rankings are suspect, having some measure of program reputation may be better than having an undifferentiated list of a hundred or more colleges that offer a particular program."

By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 12:53 am: Edit


Clarify, yes, I would be more that happy to.

BFA Undergraduate - I listed as to what my research and personal opinion felt were the top 5 programs in the country right now.

BFA Top Undergraduate programs - I listed as to what my research and opinion felt our the top exceptional programs other than the top 5 in the country now. I forgot to include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Excellant

CMU is an excellant Program although I feel it is more geared toward MT than Acting. That's just my personal opinion.

CalArts: Oh yes, I see I printed incorrectly. It should be the California Institute of Arts.
It's most competitive school - DePaul University.

Yes, University of Minnesota Gutherie Theatre BFA Acting is new. It is graduating it's first 4yr undergrads next month. The University use to have only a MFA in Theatre and they abolished it because they did not feel it was strong enough for it's students. Or, give their students the availability to draw from the breadth of classes the University offers in their other areas of learning.

When the BFA program was started in 2000 they solicited 19 students only. The intention was to give then a concentrated undergraduate conservatory program along with a requirement of instense academic courses that one would be required to fullfill by graduation in other areas from the University.

They really want their undergrads to be well educated and not just theatre trained. With that in mind, they only take 14/16 students a year. They are also looking to fill an ensemble that they feel will stay with them for four years and hopefully not transfer out of the program.

(BTW most BFA's are looking for this ensemble type group for their programs and explains why really qualified kids for a school and a program get turned away and accepted elsewhere. Oh, the whole processis so intnese for all of them. That is why auditions are so important. It is not just to see how good the kids are, They really are trying to find the right fit (and look) to fill out their ensembles).

In that light it becomes a very competitive program to get into compared to others. However, the attention the student gets is very concentrated and individualized. The program continues to get better every year as the ruff spots are ironed out. However, the Gutherie Theatre is known in the industry to be the #1 regional theatre. Over and above New York and rivals the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. It is in good company with other highly reputable regional theatre districts. Seattle, Cleveland, Utah, Chicago, Alabama to name a few. Also, the Gutherie's BFA Acting program is the only one of it's kind that is directly linked to it's Theatre and University. The students do practice and take classes at the Gutherie Theatre and not just at the Ragig Center which is the University's Performing Arts Center for education.

In general the Gutherie BFA programs are educating their students for Regional Theatre not New York or L.A. which is performance based. Musical Theaer comes to mind for performance. Ballet too, etc. Regional Theatre are those theatres where the audience is relatively up close and personal with the stage. Most theatres are 50 to 2000 seats. Most actors who are in a regional area of theatre, audition that circuit. vs. auditioning on a regular bases for say a part in a play 2000 miles away this month and 500 miles away next month for their next gig. There can be few or 50 theatres in a region. Keeps the actors steadily employed. Which is a good thing in this business. Alot of the actors do have Boardway and film credits too. but most actors will tell you that it is the stage where their heart is and where the quality of their craft is honed. Not film. In fact, the actors who have the most success in longevity are theatre trained. So the BFA Acting programs concentrate for the regional stage.

Anyway, I had the opportunity last month to visit the University and tour the Gutherie Theatre (their building a new one - should open in 2006 - FABULOUS) and spoke directly with the director for the University's Theatre/Performance Arts, the director of the Gutherie BFA Acting program and his assistant responsible for the Theatre's development. It was very informative and quite personnally enriching. All Exceptional and friendly people!

When the University wanted to cancel it's MFA program and go in this direction they selected a very qualified tenured director of Utah's Theatre program and also director for their summer fetivals. Quite impressive background. (In fact his educational background and experience in Theatre knocked the socks off of me. Playbills are great for checking people out!!!).

Over dinner I had the chance to really find out what was going on in the regional theatre arena too! Gutherie's BFA Acting program is very comprehensive, though as like other conservatories, students start with a beginning basis and then move up. One has to remember, that 99.9% of students coming into this kind of a program or other BFA College programs do not have the conservatory background from H.S. nor have the ACTING background from H.S. other than doing an occassional play. Most do have however, performance base acting - Musical Theaer for instances.

So, in the beginning the kids are started in a basic structure of ACTING studies and moved from there. Junior and Senior year with a more in depth study and stage performance opportunity in Senior year. Studio performances start from Spring of freshman year. There are several theatre's too within the Ragig Center where the kids can write, direct, stage manage, produce and put on performances open to the school. The students also have their studios of concentration study within the BFA program as classes and not separate like NYU.

In the Center the theatre students are schooled with other students who are in different performance tracks, Ballet, Circus, Choral, etc. They share practice rooms within the Center exclusively set up for all performing Art majors. There is a difference. To give you an example, from a student exploring a BFA conservatory track vs. a performing track or even a Musical Theater track, Voice track vs a Circus track. Dance track etc.

The Gutherie BFA Acting and the University understand that after 4 years of double track (with a double degree) studies a student could be just burnt out and not want to continue into Graduate level Acting, (most ACTING requires graduate level degrees) Or not want to persue any other schooling, so they want to be sure their kids are truly educated college grads. and they are encouraged to take advantage of what the University offers as a whole.

Oh, too I just thought, if for no other reason than for interest. YANNI is a graduate of University of Minnesota. A lot of kids who major in theatre or other performing Arts do not pursue it after college. Some will choose to go on to other areas, like Law, medicine etc. Others will want to strike out and try N.Y.. The Gutherie does help their students find agents, photgraphers, in N.Y. and directs them as to where to go and what they are going to bump up against etc. Also, and I think this is very important. The directors and their teachers are pretty stable in their posts and none are looking to leave to go elsewhere or retire soon. Nothing like having your child invested in a program and school and then have the director up and leave or retire. YIKES

The University is the largest in the country with 50,000 undergraduates alone! It is a City campus which helps to spread everyone out. And, the campus and St. Paul/Minneapolis are one of the safest. Because it is one of the Top 10 research Universities with an overall 80 ranking, it's not bad. Their sport facilities are drop dead gorgeous and very expansive. I had to remind myself that they are in the football league and do very well. Want to work out? there are so many top of the line treadmills and other arobic machines that NOBODY has to wait or take reservations!! The university is known as one of the top for their bio-science, vetinary, pharmacology research and medicine that their science courses have to be excellant. Also, their classics, Hummanties, Math etc. So, like everywhere else it up to the student to be enterprising and take advantage of what's available.

Oh and yes, the University of Minnesota has a written quaranteeed contract between them and every student stating that if they don't graduate in four years because they could not get the required courses to graduate, the University will pay them the difference to continue!

Holy Cow, that was a long ost. I hope that answered some of your questions and concerns.

Northern Illinois BFA Acting - only accepts 12/14 students per year. Another Excellant program (in and of itself). Most of it's staff have come from Rutgers

By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 01:22 am: Edit


Gosh, I appreciate all the information you supplied above. I agree it's an accurate
observation about Northwestern and yes, I am familiar with what you wrote about the Gourman Report. However, I am basing the report on Acting and not Academics per say. Also being advised and counciled from a performing Arts School that places their kids into top programs around the country. And yes, most of my list does concentrate on Theatre vs. MT. I think I stated that with my breakdown. Also, commenting that most of those schools do have MT programs.

As far as Northwestern is concern, I beleive that it rates as #1 becuase of it's industry contacts and what the University grads do in the Acting and MT industry as a whole. As I related in an earlier post my S personally visited and checked the school out and chose not to apply. However, a lot of Performing arts students do, get accepted into this top rated University and do exceptionally well.

Hmmmm, I acknowledge, is does put a crimp into my list and pinning down accuracy is valuable.
As for my accuracy of the remainder of the list , I still say it's pretty close if not right on.

Acting IS represented here on the list more than MT. A few weeks ago when I posted an inquiry on the forum about Theatre vs. Musical Theaer vs. BFA vs BA. I was advised by the one reply of the two, to come over to the MT list becuse I would find lots of information on Acting even though it's a MT thread. So, I did and rightfully so, it is MT and not really Acting. I thought I would make the list to highlight Acting and then acknowledge a few MT schools for parents info and for anyone looking at Acting.

I didn't attempt to start another thread based on Acting itself. Thought it would be pointless, sense I can't find anyhting really on the subject elswwhere on the forum. I apologize if I have angered you. It was not my intention. I look forward to further discussion if anyone is interested. Valerie
Thanks for you input and opinion

By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 01:39 am: Edit

Added note: I beleive the heading of this thread is titled

Theatre/Music Theatre Schools

I purposely did not post on the Musical Theater thread

Just thought I would claer that up!!


By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 02:23 am: Edit

Besides College Confidential which has from its resources and Parental input and experience, three books that I am aware of (there could be more)that I would like to recommend that could be helpful in one's search. They give a comprehensive listing of Performing Arts Majors. They are:

The Princeton Review "Guide to Performing Arts"
written by Carole J. Everett, Former Director od Admissions at The Julliard School and Muriel Topaz, senior Editor, Dance magazine (as quoted from the front cover)

Arco "Performing Arts Major's College Guide" 3rd edition Dance * Drama * Music by Carole J. Everett (qouted from the front cover)

Peterson's "Visual Performing Arts" 1999 5th edition Endorsed By The National Assoication For College Admission Counseling (as quoted from the front cover)

By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 02:57 am: Edit

Oh, I have one other opinion I would like to express. It comes from personal experience.

When checking out programs (performing Arts as a whole, to specialized majors, Acting, MT, Dance, Voice, etc) from various schools, I have found that inquiring and reading where the director of the program and their teachers have schooled and what their experience in the field has been or currently is ongoing. It really does help to narrow down schools and evaluate a program vs. others when trying to make a decision. Playbills are a great resource. Ask where their teachers are performing and you can call that theatre and get their Playbill for that performance! Valerie

By Wct (Wct) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 03:58 am: Edit

Thanks for all your posts. I always find people's opinions interesting on this site.

I will have to disagree with you on one thing, and we will probably agree to disagree on this, but I do not find CMU's BFA Acting program to be geared more toward MT than Acting. In fact they are two different strands. All MT students take the same acting classes as the acting majors but the curriculum is different for both majors. Especially in the junior and senior years. I find the CMU acting curriculm to be one of the best around, (of course that is my opinion). It seems to me that CMU gears their MT program more toward acting. At least the emphasis seems to be placed on acting. But again that is my opinion.

By Chemy (Chemy) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 04:58 am: Edit

yale is definitely best, for undergrad and grad. its the most famous drama school in the world and they have a theater studies major.

.... dont listen to the people who say that you need a BFA or any other degree to be an actor/actress. you can major in automotive engineering at stevens technical institute, and if you have the right resume and acting experience you will go far.

as long as you have great teachers, and do lots of plays, you can even major in something like english (like jodie foster, i think) and then end up being a world famous actress.... in fact i think the "professional" acting degrees actually dont get you anywhere.

By Valerie (Valerie) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 07:47 am: Edit


Great to get your opinion. My S applied to CMU and he is in the Acting track. So there you go. It is one of the top best. No disagreement there. In fact, my husband and I thought for over a year that is where S would be going. He was denied. Go figure. hmmm, I will take your assessment into serious thought for future advisement Thanks!


By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit

Is it possible for novices to participate in MT at CMU w/o being a major? I know they have "Scotch'n'Soda", but I have found from experience that if the surrounding talent pool is so incredible, that the true chance of being part of a show is virtually nil. My s. attends a very small high school and loves being in their productions. They are nowhere near professional, but fun nontheless. My d. attends a larger school where the talent is incredible. Their productions are almost professional. There is little chance she will ever be able to join in the fun. Is it easy or very difficult to obtain roles in Scotch'n'Soda? Are there other CMU venues for a novice?

By Wct (Wct) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 05:21 pm: Edit

Scotch and Soda just did a fantasitic production of CABARET during Spring Carnival. Check out the review at http://www.thetartan.org/article.jsp?id=433

As you can see in the article not one of the performers are from CMU Drama. CMU drama students are not allowed into Scotch and Soda. This group is strictly for other majors who love theater and love to perform. I don't know how hard it is to land a role but I am sure they would love to have anyone with a love for theater to join them. I would email someone from the group, you can do that from their web site, to ask that question.

By Thecritic22 (Thecritic22) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 02:56 pm: Edit

One school that keeps getting mentioned, but not discussed, is NYU-Tisch. I was just accepted into the Atlantic Theatre Company for acting, but I really don't know anything about the quality of the program/school, except for "it's good" (Tisch doesn't have an open house or send out specific literature about success rates, job opportunities, and detailed program work).

I'm having a major "crisis of faith" right now because I've always LOVED the theatre and starry-eyed Tisch, but never imagined that I would get in. Now I have to choose between Tisch and Wesleyan, and it feels like I'm making a career choice (the preprofessional acting path vs. a BA in theatre at a good liberal arts colleges). However, if I go to Tisch, I want to make sure I know what I'm getting in to. So besides wanting to know all I can about Tisch Acting, some general questions.

What's the difference between a BFA and a BA?
Does going to a select preprofessional program really give you a leg up as opposed to a theatre major at a school that has good theatre (Vassar, Yale, Wesleyan)?
What other jobs can open up to people with a BFA in theatre if they go through college and decide that they want a steady job?

Sorry for the many questions, I'm just flipping out- MAY 1st in less than a week and I still have no idea where I'm going. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

By Laura (Laura) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 04:18 pm: Edit

I'm a freshman, just finishing first year at NYU, and I was in Atlantic first semester (transferred out). If you have specific questions, please e-mail me (las353@nyu.edu), or I could put you in touch with more Atlantics if you want. Things are kind of crazy for me right now with finals next week, but I'll do my best to answer any qs you may have.

The long and the short of it for me was that Atlantic was an AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING place. The faculty is great, the classes are intense, and it was really a very supportive place. I had a lot of issues to deal with first semester (mostly health issues, plus I don't know if you heard about the suicides/accidental deaths at NYU, but one of them was a close friend from my floor), and I also ultimately decided that being a drama major isn't for me. I've been acting since I was 4 years old, and while it's something I still am interested in pursuing, I decided I'd rather get my undergrad major in something else, and then go back to Atlantic as a full time student after graduation.

To clarify: NYU runs most of their studios by contract. Each of the studios exists as their own separate entity (and most existed way before they became affiliated with NYU). Atlantic, for example, is actually the Atlantic Theater School. It's very well-regarded for turning out great actors, and I found myself improving a lot while I was there. They have two programs, one being the NYU program, one being the full-time program. Both get the SAME instruction at the SAME time - they're just two separate classes b/c they're too big to put together. NYU pays Atlantic to teach their drama majors (and NYU makes a bundle in the process, as we all figured out when we saw the tuition the FT students were paying versus the tuition we were paying for our 8 credits per semester at Atlantic). Atlantic also offers a summer intensive program, where you're there almost constantly for 6 weeks in the summer. The only difference between the FT/summer programs and the NYU program is you don't get a college degree. However, as we all know, in the theatre world, a degree doesn't really matter; what counts is how talented and well-trained you are.

Tisch miscellaneous info: either you'll love it or you'll hate it. I know many people in both categories. Tisch provides a million wonderful opportunities that you won't get anywhere else, but it also tends to get pretty intense (this coming from someone who has worked in Equity theaters and done "10/12" rehearsals). Tisch advertises that they're all about high quality training AND rigorous academics, but in my experience, the academics aren't very rigorous at all. Freshman year, you'll take Intro to Theatrical Production (learn about the technical elements of production; you have a lecture, a hands-on seminar, and a crew assignment - very very easy A), two semesters of Writing the Essay (I had thought this would be your standard freshman English, but Tisch takes the regular WTE that students in other programs take and water it down... you write only about art, and grades are watered down so it's difficult to get less than a B, even though the "regular" sections of WTE have about a C+ average), and Intro to Theatrical Production (I didn't take this because I left the drama dept, but from what I hear, it's a lot of reading plays/writing critiques, but again, a very easy A). For me, these academics were unacceptable. I wanted a college education, not just professional training, and once I came here and saw that I could just get the education now, and the professional training later, that was what I wanted to do.

Wow, that was a really long post, especially since I should be studying right now. Hope that clears up some questions for you - please e-mail me if you have more and/or want me to put you in touch with other Atlantics (maybe even some who stuck with it! Haha). Best of luck with your choice!


By Dancersmom (Dancersmom) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 06:31 pm: Edit

The critic22,
Check out this link to read an excellent article in "Dramatics" describing the difference between BA and BFA theatre programs:
I hope you'll find it helpful.

By Actingstudent (Actingstudent) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 05:09 am: Edit

Your rankings are very questionable. For the top-five BFA programs, you listed:

University of Minnesota
Northern Illinois
University of Southern California

The only school in that list that belongs on a top-five list is the Juilliard School. The University of Minnesota is very good (and yes, very new), but it certainly isn't one of the top-five theater schools in the country (as of now).

Also, NYU's graduate program isn't on your list, and right now, it surpasses Yale's graduate acting program.

By Katie4 (Katie4) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 01:37 am: Edit

Hi my name is Kate and I live in Australia but I'm thinking of travelling overseas to go to college I'm interested in performing arts especially musical theatre does anyone know who does video auditions???? Or where I should aim to go?????

By Valerie (Valerie) on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 04:30 am: Edit

A few schools mentioned here might get you off to a good start in your search

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

New York University - Tisch School of performing Arts

Carnegie Mellon University

You might want to check out the State Universities in California, Arizona, Texas at Austin and New Jersey (Rutgers) and New York (SUNY)

Also check out the "Colleges for Musical Theater" thread here at CC

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