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help with college choices for musical theater

cbwheatleycbwheatley - Posts: 12 New Member
edited October 2006 in Musical Theater Major
Our daughter wishes to pursue musical theater, and we are looking for colleges with good/reputable programs within a one day drive. She is talented, but due to her father being in the military has moved numerous times and is currently in a very small high school in Northern Virginia. Her grades are good, good SAT, and has extensive involvement in community and school extra curricular activities. She has expressed interest in the following, in no particular order:

North Carolina School of the Arts
James Madison
Seton Hill

Carnegie Melon seemed a bit too overpowering for her. Same with New York. Obviously if things go well for her in college she would love to pursue graduate studies (Carnegie, Yale, London, New York) with the ultimate goal of performing...a dream of all musical theater majors I assume. We plan on taking her to as many colleges as possible for visits/auditions.

Are there any other colleges we may be overlooking? Any suggestions?

Post edited by cbwheatley on

Replies to: help with college choices for musical theater

  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose Registered User Posts: 4,090 Senior Member
    It's in Philadelphia and I have heard many good things about their program. The University is apparently in the center of Philadelphia and in the theater district. The daughter of a new friend of mine just started there this week, and I am hoping her mom gives us some detailed reports. In addition, the former student of my D's voice teacher just graduated from there, and in a recent interview (she starred in a local production of Gypsy) raved on and on about the quality of the program. Check it out.
  • IJElkissIJElkiss Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    Since you are looking at Emerson then Boston must be within your search radius. The Boston Conservatory is a must look at. One of the best in the country and a truely wonderful program. If you can't already tell I go there! ;-)
  • dancersmomdancersmom Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    Welcome. I hope you will stay around for a long visit. There is a wealth of information here on the MT forum and many knowledgeable posters who are willing to share what they have learned. I do want to point out to you that the BFA and BM in MT degrees are designed to prepare students for entry into the world of professional performing. Many students who graduate from MT programs do not attend graduate school. In fact, there are very few schools that offer a masters degree in MT.

    I hope you will visit the frequently asked questions thread and take a look at the big list of MT programs. Here's the link: http://www.geocities.com/musicaltheatercolleges/ I'm sure you'll have no trouble figuring out which schools fit your distance parameter. The more competitive programs are marked. If you are interested in quickly finding out which schools are often discussed here at CC, simply take a look at the dedicated threads at the top of the MT forum. There are 30 schools (I think) listed.

    We could probably be of more help to you if we knew a little more about your D. In order to find the best fit, you and your D need to consider whether she wants a school that emphasizes music (those are generally the schools that offer a BM), a school that emphasizes drama (the BFA programs), or a school that would be considered a triple threat program, i.e., one that has pretty equal emphasis on acting, singing, and dancing. Another question to consider is whether your D wants to attend a conservatory or a university based program that offers a fair percentage of liberal arts courses along with the MT studies. Then there are the factors that would apply to any prospective college student. Does your D want to be on a small campus or a large one? Does she want to be part of a very large MT program or a very small one? Does she want to be in a large city or a small one? Visiting a few schools can help your D get a feel for what sort of school feels best to her.

    I see that there are many fine schools that are not currently on your list. I believe that almost any of the schools in the eastern half of the U.S. would be within a one day drive of N. Virginia, though some would be a very long drive. I live in N. Kentucky and have a D at Florida State University. The campus is about a 12 1/2 hour drive from home. When we visit, we do make the drive in one day. You may not want to spend that long in a car :)

    I hope that you will take the time to do a lot of reading here. There are probably lots of answers to questions you haven't even thought of yet!

  • EricsmomEricsmom Registered User Posts: 1,224 Senior Member
    cbwheatley - You have a good list started. I am not familiar with what is offered at Seton Hill. While NCSA and Rutgers are very highly reputable acting schools, I believe that neither of them has an MT major.

    Maybe you should also consider Point Park, Montclair State, American University, and Catholic University, in the general area you mentioned.
  • cbwheatleycbwheatley - Posts: 12 New Member
    thanks for all the great advice. we'll add your recommendations to our list. i think her preference is to be closer to home, so it may eliminate the Boston area. we'll see how she feels if we get a chance to visit Emerson or BoCo, or any others further out. does anyone have any information/experiences with JMU or Shenandoah with regards to reputation, faculty, etc? Thanks again!
  • EricsmomEricsmom Registered User Posts: 1,224 Senior Member
    There is a Shenandoah thread at the top of the MT forum with much information. JMU had a recent discussion thread, also, but so far, not too much info.
  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 821 Member
    I posted some info about Seton Hill a few months ago - I got my post-bac teaching certificate there and performed with their Theatre Department while doing so. A search should turn that thread up. :) Let me know if you are planning to visit there and/or Point Park - I'd be glad to help you out by introducing you to faculty and students! :)

    Also, just you know for your D's future plans - CMU has no graduate performance degrees. They used to have an acting MFA but it was discontinued several years ago.

    Good luck to your D!!!
  • MomsingerMomsinger Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    My daughter just started at JMU last week, first week of classes finishing up. It's way too early to report much, but stay tuned, because I will be giving reports to the forum.

    JMU is a non-auditioned program (or optional audition). My D reports that there are 28 new declared MT majors in the freshman class! The prior year there were 6. There's a new director of MT, so presumably changes will be coming. Hopefully one of the changes will be to institute private voice lessons for MT majors. At the present time, the only way a theater major can get private voice lessons is to establish a connection with a voice teacher willing to take them on, and their schedules are pretty much full with music majors. This is, of course, not good. We were fortunate in that one of the new voice faculty is a friend and colleague of mine (I'm a professional singer) and we were therefore able to get her private lessons with him.

    Further info will come.
  • KatMTKatMT College Rep Posts: 4,144 Senior Member
    Well... it's a little farther... but since Emerson is on your list... you might be willing to drive 2 more hours to Plymouth State University in NH. This is an auditioned BA program. They only accept 8 - 12 majors per year. Small program, lots of performing opportunity and personal attention.
  • GriffinGriffin Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    I am not only an Admissions Counselor at Seton Hill University, but also a graduate. I majored in the Arts and speaking from personal experience, the arts department is definately the way to go.
    We have a number of students that attend Seton Hill for Musical Theatre. I would definately encourage you to visit us and sit down and talk with our phenominal faculty.
    Please don't hesitate to contact me personally at [email protected]!
  • poppr1nce5spoppr1nce5s Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    Well I am a resident of North Carolina and my friend got into NCSA for her senior year. She was attending a summer program where they asked her to audition. I've heard that attempting to get in without ever doing anything at the school is very hard. Her major is Voice/opera. I'm pretty sure they don't have a "musical theatre" major there, but they have theatre, and dance (along with voice). The program focuses more on classical singing, but I've heard the theatre program is excellent.
    My knowledge is very subjective, and I just know from a friend, but I'm pretty very sure they don't offer MT.
    GOOD Luck finding a school. :)
  • poppr1nce5spoppr1nce5s Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    by the way... that's senior year of high school.
  • musicalmommusicalmom Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    Others to possibly consider in PA and NY which would be within a day's drive for you are Syracuse University, Ithaca College, and Penn State. They are just 3 that come to mind - all bfa's that require audition. And ditto what dancersmom said that it is easier to narrow down your choices when you have considered questions like what emphasis is most important (dance, voice, or acting or triple threat) to you and where your talents lie, big city or small town atmosphere, BA BM or BFA, conservatory or not.
  • mtdog71mtdog71 Registered User Posts: 498 Member
    You have some great schools on your list. Just thought I'd mention that Rutgrers and NC/arts have great theatre programs - but not really MT programs. You seem to be looking for a university setting. I wonder if area of the country, size of university, or urban vs rural setting matter much to you. If you PM me with this info I'd be happy to share me humble opinion on some great MT programs.

    Best of luck in any case.
  • cbwheatleycbwheatley - Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks everyone! We're in the process of applying to Penn State, Elon, James Madison and Shenandoah (no particular order) in an attempt to stay within a half day drive of home. She hopes to have a chance to apply to 2-3 more (perhaps a bit further from home). Unfortunately we are unaware of any other MT programs in Virginia. Ithaca, Muhlenberg....
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