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Best Musical Theatre Schools based on Broadway Alumni

MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited December 2013 in Musical Theater Major
Feel free to ignore this introductory post, but if you plan to post a response, please consider reading the following, and the follow-on “Methodology” and “Why Best” posts, before commenting about flaws my reasoning or why this list is not important in choosing a school, etc. Then feel free to have at it!

I believe that the primary purpose of College Confidential should be to help inform parents and students as to what schools they should investigate, apply to, and eventually attend. I’ve later come to find that CC also provides great advice on what specifically to look for in a school, how to audition, why MT is a poor career choice, etc.; unfortunately I didn’t seriously investigate the site in time to benefit much from this.

Ranking schools is an inexact science no matter how it is approached, and what’s best for some is not best for others; however, some level of quantitative comparison can be very useful when used in the proper context. Note: my D and family will not use these numbers as the primary metric to select a school, they will be weighed along with many other factors.

My anecdote on why this list is important: As a person without any relatives or friends in the theatre business, I searched for schools the way most novices would start: I googled “best musical theatre schools” and branched out from there. I ended up finding a lot of qualitative arguments about which schools were considered best, and the only way I got anywhere was to investigate schools that were mentioned the most (which was the reasoning behind my already notorious thread that ranked schools based on CC posts – for me, it would been helpful to see something like that before I started). The “what schools are mentioned most” method worked fairly well, although I still didn’t know that a school called Baldwin-Wallace existed until we were on the audition trail, or that Florida St had a good program, etc. (so it was too late to consider these and schools). Sure, a lot of that is my and Ds fault and we could have worked harder, but everyone here surely knows how overwhelming it is to research and apply to MT schools, while only some of you may appreciate how hard it is without knowing anyone (relative, coach, teacher) that has some knowledge of what this crazy world of MT is like. I’m still learning, albeit too late -- we probably shouldn't have just taken a few shots in the backyard for our headshot, the first time I saw the term "MT coach" or “audition coach” was a few days ago on the CMU thread, say what?

People will continually point out that you can’t fully represent success or prestige with a bunch of numbers (let alone a choice of college) – I agree 100%. But it cannot be denied that these numbers give a partial representation of success/prestige, and it’s up to each individual how much weight (if any) to put in these numbers. Also, this imperfect metric is made worse by the limits of the dataset – there are surely many alums that I missed, and some schools likely got “ripped off” more than others in this regard. Certainly, I was less likely to miss alums from the schools with good, easy to find “alumni success” pages versus those that didn’t, or actors that listed school in their bios versus those that didn’t. Then throw in that this is a fixed ~2-year timeframe, and that the data is broadway versus tours, regionals, etc.; a different dataset could change the numbers significantly.

So, while everyone can enjoy the debate of my methods, or comments about how rankings are useless, or that I’ve failed to find a few alumni from a particular school, keep in mind that for some people this data can at least give them a starting point, and for others perhaps information for their investigation and decision process.

Finally, I am an engineer (if you haven’t figured that out already) and I can’t stand it when people present results without discussing their methodology and assumptions – so, if you’re into that sort of thing, please check out the posts that follow the data, if you like to blindly interpret numbers then by all means...
edited December 2013
142 replies
Post edited by MTpragmatist on
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Replies to: Best Musical Theatre Schools based on Broadway Alumni

  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Raw total:
    Tisch 67, CCM 49, Michigan 41, CMU 32, BoCo 25, Juilliard 21, Ithaca 20, AMDA 17, Elon 14, Syracuse 14, FloridaSt 14, UNCSA 13, PointPark 13, OCU 13, BaldwinW 11, AileyFord 10, PennSt 9, MaryMan 9, Temple 9, UCLA 9, Nwestern 9, NColorado 8, Steinhardt 7, USC 7, Wagner 7

    Normalized to class size/pool of 30:
    CCM 61, CMU 60, Michigan 56, Ithaca 38, Tisch 34, FloridaSt 30, Elon 23, BaldwinW 21, Juilliard 20, OCU 18, BoCo 17, PennSt 17, UCLA 17, Syracuse 15, MaryMan 14, Temple 14, Nwestern 14, UNCSA 13, NColorado 12, Fullerton 11, PointPark 11, Indiana 11, Miami 11, Steinhardt 11, AileyFord 10

    I wish CC allowed tabs so this could be in a tabular format, although maybe Top25 lists is less threatening in this format? Again, see follow-on posts for how this data was generated.
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This list includes what I call young actors, or any person in class of 2003 or later (i.e graduated within 10 years, or would have graduated then if they had not left early).

    Raw Total:
    Tisch 37, Michigan 33, CCM 28, CMU 17, BoCo 14, Elon 12, BaldwinW 10, Syracuse 10, Juilliard 10, AileyFord 9, FloridaSt 8, OCU 8, PennSt 7, Ithaca 7, AMDA 7, Steinhardt 6, MaryMan 6, UNCSA 5, PointPark 5, NColorado 5, UArts 5, Wagner 4, Temple 4, BYU 4, Oklahoma 4

    Normalized to class/pool size of 30:
    Michigan 45, CCM 35, CMU 32, Elon 20, BaldwinW 19, Tisch 19, FloridaSt 17, PennSt 13, Ithaca 13, OCU 11, Syracuse 11, BoCo 10, Juilliard 9, Steinhardt 9, AileyFord 9, MaryMan 9, NColorado 8, Indiana 6, Miami 6, UArts 6, Temple 6, BYU 6, Oklahoma 6, UNCSA 5, WrightSt 5
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This list includes what I call fresh actors, or any person in class of 2008 or later (i.e graduated within 5 years, or would have graduated if had not left early).

    Raw Total:
    Michigan 17, Tisch 13, CCM 11, Elon 7, CMU 6, BaldwinW 5, Syracuse 4, Steinhardt 4, BoCo 3, Juilliard 3, AileyFord 3, FloridaSt 3, PennSt 3, MaryMan 3, Pace 3, Ithaca 2, AMDA 2, UNCSA 2, PointPark 2, Wagner 2, BostonU 2, USC 2

    Normalized to class size of 30:
    Michigan 23, CCM 14, Elon 12, CMU 11, BaldwinW 9, Tisch 7, FloridaSt 6, Steinhardt 6, PennSt 6, MaryMan 5, Syracuse 4, Ithaca 4, AileyFord 3, Pace 3, BostonU 3, Juilliard 3, Indiana 2, StevensPt 2, Wesleyan 2, BoCo 2, UNCSA 2, Wagner 2, Fullerton 2, PointPark 2

    Obviously, when the numbers get low, there is a lot more effect on schools for which I have not properly identified actors an alums, plus the ratio of tours/regional to broadway is more likely to be skewed. So, the relative ranking of the schools with ~5 or less could change a lot (including unlisted schools that might otherwise be on the list).
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hopefully, everyone gets the meaning and implication of the “normalized to 30 students per class” list. I multiplied the tallies for each school by 30 and then divided by an estimated, time-averaged class/pool size. I use the term “pool” because some schools have people on broadway that were not in an MT program. CMU, Tisch etc. have several actors in broadway musicals who were not MT track. I looked at the CMU 2013 showcase and they had listed 14 triple threat, 5 dual threat, 7 actor only. It appears that previous years, and the current program, have similar numbers. I assigned CMU a class/pool size of 16. Juilliard doesn’t even have an MT program, but I used the numbers in acting, dance and voice to estimate a pool of kids that might consider MT at 32. AMDA class sizes are very large, I set the pool size as 100. AileyFord is anyone from Ailey dance or the joint Ailey/Fordham BFA.

    Tisch is complicated, as there are a fair number of actors in non MT studios who end up in broadway musicals. The MT class size is ~60 and there are 4 times as many actors, then throw in the CAP21 split and how does that effect the pool size (plus, who really gets credit for the alum – I’ve given Tisch the full credit, and any person who listed CAP21 on their bio was put in the Tisch bin). So, if anything the Tisch pool should be >60, but if there’s any school that I think I’ve probably missed some alums on it would be Tisch, thus I left it at 60. Note: Tisch is one of the schools was are still hoping to get an offer from, and I am trying to be as logical and impartial as I can be possible on this one, as I am any school. If I get an equal number of complaints on both sides of the issue then I figure I’ve done a good job!

    A lot of the data for the class size is based on CC threads that were previously posted (thanks!). There have been some very small class sizes for various schools for some years, FSU, PSU, UCLA, and some schools may have had bumper crops in years where everyone accepted, but I tried to use a time-averaged number that was tempered a bit in most cases
    Note: The class/pool size that I used is the last number listed in the summary table, which I will list as the last of my posts. I did not bother investigating class sizes for schools with relatively low raw numbers, so I put them all at 20. If you think I am way off on the class/pool size for a school then feel free to respond, and if I ever redo this I will consider the input.

    Personally, I think the normalized metric is a more valuable metric than the raw numbers, because as far as an incoming group of students is concerned, success is better measured by the fraction of students are successful, not the total number (the total is still meaningful though).
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This list displays the schools that had the most show credits for young actors (class of 2003 or later) and how many of these credits were "roles" versus "ensemble". I describe in the methodology post how these are defined. The first number after the school name is roles, then ensemble (e.g. CMU produced a high fraction of roles versus ensemble, Ailey/Fordham produced all ensemble).

    Shows Roles Ensemble

    47 Michigan 9 38
    44 Tisch 18 26
    28 CCM 9 19
    22 BoCo 4 18
    20 CMU 17 3
    18 Elon 3 15
    13 Syracuse 6 7
    13 AileyFord 0 13
    12 Ithaca 8 4
    12 OCU 4 8
    12 BaldwinW 3 9
    10 Juilliard 1 9
    9 PennSt 2 7
    8 AMDA 3 5
    8 FloridaSt 2 6
    8 Wagner 2 6
    8 Steinhardt 3 5
    7 PointPark 2 5
    7 MaryMan 5 2
    7 Miami 1 6
    6 UNCSA 2 4
    6 BYU 1 5
    5 NColorado 1 4
    5 Irvine 5 0
    5 UArts 2 3
    5 Indiana 4 1
    4 Temple 3 1
    4 Millikin 1 3
    4 StevensPt 3 1
    4 Harvard 0 4
    3 Nwestern 2 1
    3 USC 2 1
    3 Fullerton 1 2
    3 Shenandoah 1 2
    3 BostonU 2 1
    3 Oklahoma 0 3
    3 WrightSt 1 2
    3 Pace 0 3

    This list is the raw data, i.e it does no normalize by class/pool size. I wish the format could include tabs or multiple spaces - sorry!
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    In December my family saw a couple of shows and we really enjoyed looking for school references in Playbill, then the fun started; I have a “problem” that once I start something I like to do it was well as it can possibly be done. Anyway, over Christmas break I started scanning the Playbills on playbill.com and started to keep a crude tally of schools (oblivious to the fact that EmsDad had done the same thing a little over a year ago), trends were certainly emerging, but I was worried that a snapshot of bios could provide a poor dataset – limited to a short time history and factors like… some schools might “inspire” actors to mention their schools more than others, so I wanted to dig deeper.

    Step 1: List every musical that appeared on broadway in the past 2 years plus musicals scheduled to open soon that have a cast listing on playbill.com (Pippin was the furthest out). Accomplished by searching for plays based on start and end dates on playbill.com, and selecting all of the plays within the timeframe that playbill calls a musical. I ended up with 53 musicals (listed below). A dataset that included tours and regionals would obviously be more complete, but that data is not available in such a complete form.

    PLAYS INCLUDED: Pippin, Jekyll&Hyde, Motown, Matilda, Kinky Boots, Hard Body, Cinderella, Christmas Story, Scandalous, Edwin Drood, ELF, Annie, Chaplin, Bring It On, Fela, Leap of Faith, Nice Work If, Ghost, Evita, Newsies, JC Superstar, Once, Lysistratra Jones, On A Clear Day, Bonnie and Clyde, Godspell, Follies, Hair, Spiderman, Baby Its You, Sister Act, Wonderland, War Horse, Catch Me If, Anything Goes, How To Succeed, Book of Mormon, Priscilla Queen, West Side Story, In the Heights, American Idiot, La Cage, Million Dollar, Addams Family, Billy Elliot, Memphis, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Wicked, Lion King, Chicago, Phantom.

    Step 2: Download the name of every actor that appeared in these shows. Accomplished by viewing the cast list on playbill.com and checking the “expand all replacements” box, then pasting this data into a spreadsheet.

    Step 3: Extract the names of all of the actors from the data. This was probably the hardest programming, because after pasting-as-text, the character names were mixed with actor names and comments like swing, understudy, replacement, dates, etc. I wrote a macro based on the format of the data to extract the actor’s names, and verified that this process worked for some of the shows but all, particularly those with hundreds of cast members over the course of the show (Chicago, Lion King, etc.) – I’m pretty sure the process worked for them too, but I haven’t double checked them. The total number of actors identified was ~2400.

    Step 4: Determine where to place the break between “roles” and ensemble. This was important to us because my daughter is not a dancer, and currently is not that interested in becoming a great dancer except that she knows she needs to achieve some proficiency to make a career viable. I realize that ensemble does not equate to great dancer for every show, while many non-ensemble roles indeed require first-rate dancers, but I think that splitting the data this way is still useful. For most shows it was fairly obvious were the split from role to ensemble was (e.g. all names listed after the first ensemble credit). The default metric was that if a replacement actor was listed in the top section of the data, then it was deemed a significant role, if the replacement was at the end of the data in the “all additional cast replacements” then I considered that actor part of the ensemble. I waffled whether ensemble members that were understudies should be included in the roles tally, but in the end left them out (but if I have more time I should probably make them an intermediate category).

    Step 5: Identify all musicals that each actor appeared in, and label as “role” or “ensemble”. This was another macro that cycles through all of the cast lists for each musical and adds that show to the actors “credits”. The most for one actor was 6 for Charlie Sutton (who I never found a school reference for, despite seeing some photos during the search that I would have been glad to miss). Grason Kingsberry from Juilliard had 5.

    Step 6: Identify actor gender and eliminate child actors from the list. This was done by looking at the headshots on the expanded playbill.com cast listing. I identified about 150 of the 2400 total actors as children. At the same time I labeled the actors as male and female based on their head shots (not 100% accurate of course!) – there turned out to be about 25% more male roles than female (bummer for those of us with daughters), combined with a rough observation that about 75% of the auditionees we saw were female – statistically these numbers mean that auditioning females are 4 times less likely to appear on broadway that their male counterparts ( .56/.25 divided by .44/.75 = ~4).

    Step 7: Create preliminary tally of which schools that actors attended – when possible I delineated whether they graduated or left early, but in the end counted them all the same in the results. This was accomplished by reading the bios online for shows currently in production and the scan of the opening night playbill on the web-site. Overall this accounted for about half of the dataset, i.e. about 50% of actors that I identified with a school listed their alma mater in the playbill or official website bio. Note, playbill.com contains the scans of every opening program that an actors name appears in, so I could check if they mentioned their alma mater earlier in their career, which several had indeed done. Note, I also denoted MFAs. There is not much of note with this data except that it is totally dominated by Yale and Tisch, with about 20 a piece -- no other school had more than a few. I did not include MFAs , MAs or MMs in the data I’m presenting, only undergrad degrees (or initial pursuit of undergrad degree if they left early). I also did not bother at all to record foreign schools, which may have accounted for 50 to 100 actors.

    Step 8: After the bio searches, google the actor name to see if there is a link to a personal website, news story etc, that might contain a bio/resume that listed a school – this probably accounted for about 30% of the schools that I found.

    Step 9: Go to the websites of every school that I considered an “MT” school or had a fair number of preliminaries tallies, and search for pages that listed alumni or monthly newsletters, etc. I did this for 44 schools, pretty much in line with those heading the infamous number-of-posts thread. I ended up finding about 20% of the actor’s schools this way, i.e. when I read alumni success pages about 80% of them I had already identified. There wasn’t much gained from alumni news for some schools because their actors had “religiously” identified their school in the playbills, e.g. Elon, FSU, while for some schools I found a lot of actors with this method e.g. CCM and BoCo. Age was definitely a factor too, recent grads were much more likely to list school than actors in their 30s and 40s.

    Step 10: Search CC posts for alumni news. The Tisch posts on CC were the most helpful here.

    Step 11: Wrote the coding to tally the data, and I planned/hoped to stop here, but then I started to wonder about “legacy schools” versus “trending schools”. I know these definitions could spark a few comments, but I thought it would be useful to know which schools have put out more actors over the past 5 years or decade (since the MT programs are relatively new at many schools), as well as those that have continually produced over the past 20+ years. So, I went back to the alumni websites and looked for graduation or “class-of” years, I probably got about 60% of the dates this way. Then I spent way too much time Googleing each actor that I did not have a date for, sometimes I would find a graduation date (or their class if they left early), sometime a high-school graduation date (e.g. links to proud hometown newspaper articles), and sometimes an age, after which I would tally their class-of date based on when they were 21. I’d guess I got about 60% of the class-of dates exact, 30% within 1 or 2 years either way, and 10% could be off by a few years or more. For a few I’m surely off by a lot – in those cases where I had to guess age based on headshot (which is tough since head-shots are often designed to make someone look younger than they are).

    Step 12: Prepare to respond to numerous comments to this post, some surely to be valid and perhaps some not. And for those that will respond that I have way too much time on my hands, I retort that they also must have way too much time on their hands to bother mentioning that I have way too much time on my hands. Plus, this effort may prove to be helpful to some people, so it could end up being time well spent after all.
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  • MTpragmatistMTpragmatist 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I know that putting “Best” in the title is at best controversial, and at worst flat out wrong, but I want to preemptively explain why I did it (even though preemptive arguments didn’t work to well on the other post).

    Everyone will agree that there is no definitive metric that defines best – “best” is totally dependent on the individual, which is usually what people seem to refer to on CC as “best fit”. However, I don’t think this means the term can’t be used in a generalized fashion, nor should we avoid the subject because we might hurt other’s feelings (I can’t stand Little League games where they don’t keep score). I think the collective-average would define the “best” schools as those with the highest fraction of “successful” alumni – this is the definition I am using. Most metrics are highly personal, e.g. I’d prefer an urban or rural school, a large or small school, personalized attention or exposure to numerous, diverse faculty, acting emphasis versus dance emphasis, etc. Nobody would propose a stand-alone metric that prefers a school with a less successful track record over a more successful track record, it’s simply a matter of how much one values the success metric (i.e. the other metrics could outweigh the success factor, resulting in the selecting the school with the less-successful track record)

    Although best is poorly defined, “best” makes the most sense if defined by numbers. I’ve noticed that people on CC have tried to avoid numbers by attempting to define “tiers”, this is actually worse because if there was indeed a generic definition of “best”, then schools on the boundaries of these tiers could be placed in either one (unless a large obvious gap occurred between schools). I got tired of reading that the top tier schools are UM, CMU X, or CMU, CCM, Y, or CCM, UM, Z; although this did lead to the conclusion the UM, CCM and CMU were considered by most the top 3 schools (which I think the broadway numbers also indicate by the way). After that it gets really ugly trying to put schools in tiers.

    Now, here’s my rationalization for why actors on broadway provides a decent metric for “best”; maybe someone has the following analogy before. Consider that getting into an audition MT school is like getting into the Olympics (an achievement for which anyone should be proud). For most MTs, I think a broadway show is like a gold medal, national tours/television/movies is like a silver (maybe TV/movie star is like a gold in a different sport), and regional theatre/cruises/commercials or any paycheck to perform is like a bronze. All medal winners have succeeded by almost anyone’s measure. Meanwhile non-medal winners benefit in different ways, as teachers, coaches, choreographers, administrators, etc., and in the worst case getting to do what they love for 4 years. So, tallying broadway actors is similar to a tally of gold metals, which doesn’t tell the whole story, but gives a decent representation (it would be nice to have a total metal count, but I’ll leave that to the next lunatic). Also, unlike the Olympics, there are far more silvers and bronzes given out than golds. I would expect that for every MT grad on broadway there are 10 getting paid to perform elsewhere (making a decent living by performing? debatable, but at least getting paid something to do what they love). Of course, one problem with this method is that it could significantly misrepresent mid and lower tier schools with a small number on broadway; e.g. a school could have 10 people on national tours during this time period but only 1 on broadway. There will no doubt be schools that get unlucky in this regard on this list, but that cannot be helped.

    Even if one assumes that most alums on broadway is the good metric, that doesn’t mean that the training and education that school provides is best ; I would guess there are 3 major factors that dictate school success: recruiting, training, and connections (but something like this has probably been discussed on CC many time before as well). The best school might have little correlation with the best training. I would guess that at most 50% of the success of the top schools on these lists is due to superior training, and maybe a lot less. There is a lot of momentum that comes with being a top school: you get all of the best talent to audition and basically get your pick of the litter (and the best schools have probably gotten there in part by having the best eye for talent). This in itself means you are more likely to have successful graduates, regardless of training. Also, the better your school’s past success, the more alums/faculty there are connected to the field that can help recent grads get jobs, and agents and casting directors will pay more attention to your grads. I am not saying these factors aren’t important (they are huge in my opinion) and I’m also not implying that this is somehow unfair (the top schools earned their status, it was not given to them). It’s only that the quality of training could potentially become secondary once a school reaches elite status. A simplified conclusion of this “momentum” model is that schools with increasing numbers in recent years might be providing the best training (because they did not get the cream of the crop nor have gold-plated resumes, important connections, etc.). Certainly, the very top schools would not stay there long if they didn’t have superior training as well. Personally, I give a bonus to the schools that improve their rankings on the young/fresh actor lists.

    Finally, part of the reason I put “best” in the title goes back to the first post in the thread, I used "best" because there are surely others like me that will start this whole process by googleing “best musical theatre schools” looking for anything concrete to guide them. I personally was very frustrated with the results of that search, and I believe this list would be more useful to future prospective students/parents than what they currently get; i.e. this metric is imperfect, but better than what’s out there – or maybe I’m just narcissistic? - wait did I just write all of this on a public forum; take the maybe out of that last statement!. The only other explanation could be that the bulk of CC posters are neurotic and will bombast me for every statement that I don't qualify and/or quantify with lots of text. Or maybe I'm simply rambling because I've been up all night doing this. For now I'll stick with the first explanation, but I'll reserve judgement until the commenting subsides.
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  • monkey13monkey13 996 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wow. Just...wow. I still have to absorb this. But this was an incredible amount of work. Thanks for doing this.
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  • amtcamtc 2838 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Huge amount of work, and we'll just agree to disagree on it's significance. I do have one question - did you take into account those shows that closed after a few weeks or months and if those actors were ever cast in anything again?

    Also, just because you're not on Broadway, if it's a union gig, you are making very comparable wages (especially once you consider cost of living in a particular area). But if you really want to make a "living" as an actor then you go to film/tv, which you totally ignore in your study. Don't blame you though given the numbers that would involve!

    Curious as to your view in 7 or 8 years when your daughter comes out on the other side!
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  • nobusinessnobusiness 44 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Wow is right. MT Pragmatist, as an auditor by profession, truly impressed. As the parent of a current MT student, amazed at all of your research and well-thought out supporting commentary. Thank you.
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  • lightingmomlightingmom 251 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This is an absolutely mind-boggling amount of work! Controversial issues of semantics aside, thank you! Wish there was something like this for designers, directors, stage managers, etc;
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  • beenthereMTdadbeenthereMTdad 494 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    I saw this movie before......A Beautiful Mind!
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  • halflokumhalflokum 1819 replies51 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I need the Cliff Notes.

    Methodology questions aside (and not questioning it because I'm not really reading it but I'm sure others will), the undisputed thing that these numbers say is that the vast majority of graduates from any school do not work on Broadway - ever. In order then for these numbers to mean anything to your own daughter's school choice, you'd have to hope that the theatre gods have already determined that she'll be in the club with those who do wherever she decides to attend school. Then sure, go ahead and pick a school based on the numbers if that is what you regard as the most important factor. We didn't have the theatre gods on our speed dial so we preferred to rely on other factors to make the choice. I respect your need for this data and give you props for the tenacity to create it.

    Now get some rest before your next big project. May I suggest analyzing the "best" place to buy fitted extra-long twin sheets? Don't laugh they can be hard to find :)
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  • MTCoachMTCoach 109 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That has got to be the most scientific way of looking at MT I have ever seen. I echo all of the comments above.

    I suppose I need to throw some friendly criticism in here though:
    - it's unfortunately that you chose to not include ensemble roles, because Broadway is Broadway; from my viewpoint, there is no qualitative difference (though I understand you perhaps did this for your daughter and you explained your reasoning on that...)
    - Broadway isn't the only way to make a living,as amtc said. In fact, there are performers who make more (literally or relatively) performing in other facets. Broadway may or may not be 'the ultimate gig' but perhaps not the only factor in what an actor would deem as successful. At the very least, off-Broadway and national tours (or West End productions) would likely be as relevant to your data (and again, I understand what you did alone was a ton of work without adding anything else)
    - this may be stating the obvious, but not all of the schools on your list offer MT (e.g. Harvard). Likewise, some performers who received their degree from a particular school may have gone for something other than MT; best most accessible example I have of this would be Julliard, where they offer VP or theatre but not MT, yet their alumni (e.g. Audra McDonald, Morgan James) work fairly consistently on Broadway

    On the flip side, I think some of your computations are brilliantly insightful, e.g. boys are 4 times more likely to be cast on Broadway. Actually, I think ALL of your computations were rather brilliant, I simply also believe there are flaws within the data.

    Again, let me say that those were just friendly criticisms. I think everyone that sees this thread will be impressed and thankful for the work you put in. I see the value in ranking schools and then again I don't (for all of the reasons that people have grappled with in the past), but as someone who identifies as a theatre person who is also rather science-minded, my reaction to this was to see the ways where your computations could have gone awry based on an incomplete set of data. I also acknowledge that despite that, you're likely pretty close to representing an accurate set of statistics, if based on nothing more than averages.

    And with all of that said, thank you for putting this together - an amazing amount of work, well thought out and extremely well explained!
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  • AdaQuinceAdaQuince 203 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, MTpragmatist, and if you are not currently employed in the market research departments of Amazon, Google, Walmart or Target, then use this as your r
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  • jeffandannjeffandann 650 replies23 threadsRegistered User Member
    I echo other's comments. You've done an impressive amount of work, but in the end it applies to a small subpopulation of the total number of professional opportunities awaiting those who go for a BFA in MT. My D for example would be very happy performing in regional theater and as such your analysis would not be germane to that set of circumstances. It is always difficult to take what is a very subjective process and try to come up with a way to analyze it objectively; you have to make a lot of assumptions to fit the data. If you feel this will help you guide your child then it was worth your effort. I don't think it is that relevant to what my D sees for her future.
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  • zonolozonolo 53 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think if Broadway roles is the goal than perhaps the research may be relevant but as jeffandann says "My D for example would be very happy performing in regional theater". I know someone who has had a very successful run with Jersey Boys in Las Vegas. What about employment with Cirque D'Soleil as singer, dancer or performer? I think there are a myriad of other great stories out there where former students are successfully working AND utilizing that exact degree they trained for but are not even in NY.
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  • soozievtsoozievt 31396 replies371 threadsRegistered User, ! Senior Member
    Wow, you spent a long time on this and it is interesting to read.

    I guess the biggest issue to me here is that using Broadway as the measure is just way too narrowly defined. If looking into the success of graduates, I'd want to know how many are working in theater and music or if narrowing it further, how many are working as performing artists. Soooo few go onto Broadway that it just is not the measure I'd want to go by when examining the success of graduates from various MT college programs.
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  • jeffandannjeffandann 650 replies23 threadsRegistered User Member
    I suppose another way to look at this would be to extend this kind of analysis, and what you would do with the data, to another field entirely. Let's say you want to be a biologist (since my undergraduate degree is in biology, I'll pick that). You could go on whatever site and pick great undergraduate schools for biology, and you can find similar data on placement, etc as our friend here has done for MT. So you'd want to probably pick a Yale, or a Harvard, etc because they have the best record of getting folks into good Ph.D programs.

    But what if you don't have the grades to get into a "top" undergraduate biology program? The equivalent being your S or D does not audition into the Michigans or CCMs of the world. Does that consign the biology student to a worse career? Should they abandon their dream of becoming a scientist because they didn't get into the "best" school? No. It does not. I went to your basic state school for both undergraduate and graduate studies, and made out OK. I suspect many here did the same. I envision the same for kids going into music theater. Will they make Broadway? Pretty likely they won't. Will they use their degrees in performing, or teaching, or somehow using the degree in a productive, meaningful fashion? Pretty likely.

    What our friend I fear has done here is a common issue with research studies. He may have defined what he wants to see as the endpoint (i.e. Broadway lead roles as the primary indicator of success with a BFA MT), and then interpreted data to make it agree with his already formed conclusion.
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