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MFA programs

momfirstmomfirst Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
edited April 2012 in Musical Theater Major
I am searching, searching, searching this thread and not finding much info on MFA Musical Theater programs. Am I overlooking something? There is so much valuable info here that I think I must not be searching correctly.
Post edited by momfirst on

Replies to: MFA programs

  • dancersmomdancersmom Registered User Posts: 582 Member
    There has not been much discussion here at CC of MFA MT programs. Most schools that offer undergraduate degrees in MT do not have an MFA MT program. That's because students who have earned BFA in MT (or a B.M. in MT) are considered to be ready to work.

    I have copied and pasted the following from the Big List, which is found on the Frequently Asked Questions link:


    Arizona State University (MM)
    Boston Conservatory (MM)
    New York University: Steinhardt (MA Vocal Performance w/ MT concentration)
    Oklahoma City University (MM)
    San Diego State University (MFA)
    University of Central Florida (MFA)
    University of Montana (MM)
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas (MFA)
  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose Registered User Posts: 4,090 Senior Member
    I have heard it said that musical theater is, in general, a young person's profession. Perhaps that is why there are not more MFA programs in MT: because those who want to do it want to be out doing it (and not in school) when they are young.
  • actrss100actrss100 Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    Don't forget...The average age of a broadway performer is 28 years old. That means half of people performing on broadway are above 28 years old.
  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose Registered User Posts: 4,090 Senior Member
    Yes, but actrss100, most people don't make it to Broadway and I think it is unrealistic to make Broadway the only standard of success! This fall, I had the chance to see a young (recently graduated from college) friend of mine in a touring production of a musical, and boy! was that hard work! The company members not only had to travel from place to place to put on their show, but they also had to load and unload scenery and so on. I was struck by how much energy it took, and how very few people over the age of, say, 35, would have the energy for such a schedule.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 11,522 Senior Member
    I'm not sure where the average age being 28 comes from but I'd be very skeptical of that, especially in musicals. And to repeat what NMR said, the vast majority of actors never get into even ONE Broadway show.
  • mdt48302mdt48302 Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Actually, if the MEDIAN age of a Broadway performer is 28, that means that half are over 28.

    Average means something different.

    If there are four actors who are 20 years old and one who is 60, their AVERAGE age is 28.

    Older actors skew the average. I don't know whether 80% of the actors out there are 20-somethings, but I wouldn't be too surprised.

    (Now there's something that I learned by taking math in college. Well, before then, I guess.)
  • keepingcalmkeepingcalm Registered User Posts: 520 Member
    Thank you for making the correction. I thought a simialr example but had not done it yet.
  • momfirstmomfirst Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    Thanks for the small list from the big list :) I must have missed that while looking....sorry!
  • JiddirJiddir Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    actually a high majority of actors on broadway are in their thirties... alot more in their thirties than in their twenties.... the chorus and dancers is normally where most of the parts for adults in their 20s are
  • SDSUMFAMusTheaSDSUMFAMusThea Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Hello All!

    My name is Kati Donovan, and I am currently an MFA candidate in San Diego State University's Musical Theatre program. I wanted to write back to correct and clarify the information out there about graduate programs in Musical Theatre.

    Officially--- the program at San Diego State University is the ONLY remaining Musical Theatre MFA in the nation. The other programs have closed, or stopped accepting applications, indefinitely due to budgetary reasons. And the difference between an MA or MM and an MFA is the fact that only the MFA is a terminal degree (meaning final, or highest degree in that field). Most tenure-track teaching positions at the collegiate level require a terminal degree for application. The program at SDSU accepts between 6 and 10 students every two years. It is a four-semester program, with courses in:

    Musical Theatre History
    Dance History
    Synthesis (Studio)
    Vocal lessons & coaching
    Jazz, Tap & Dance Rep
    Research & Bibliography
    among others.

    SDSU's MFA program will be accepting applications for the class of 2014, starting in October 2011. For more information or to contact the program, check out the school's website:

    SDSU Musical Theatre MFA

    Also I'm happy to answer any and all questions about the program, or for anyone considering advanced degrees in the field.



    Also- you can follow us on twitter for information from the current MFA class: SDSUMFAmusthea
  • ftm2011ftm2011 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi Kati! just a quick question regarding age. What is the average age of the performers enrolled in the program? Would a 30 yr old feel out of place? Also, i've read on some mfa sites that some schools only consider "actors in their formative years" as the proper candidate for study so I'm worried that schools wont even consider a person in their early 30's. Any advice that you may have is really appreciated!
  • mtdog71mtdog71 Registered User Posts: 498 Member
    You might also be interested in Penn State. They have two MT oriented MFAs: Voice Pedagogy for Musical Theatre; Directing for Musical Theatre
  • SDSUMFAMusTheaSDSUMFAMusThea Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Hello FTM2011

    To reply to your question, a 30 year old would feel very at home in the program. Most classes split about half being in their 30s or older, and half in their mid-late 20s; my class is somewhat of an anomaly as far as that goes, we range from 23-41, but most of us are all 28-30. What you find is that students are accepted to these programs, not based on their age or their experience, solely, but on their appropriateness for the program, and in turn, the appropriateness that the program would have in serving them. The 23 year old student in our class is an old soul, and intensely academic, not your typical "fresh out of a BFA" undergrad. To the best of my knowledge, it is important to have a range of ages in these programs because it would be pretty difficult to put up two seasons of shows with a homogenous group of 20-something year olds. Additionally, many students are not fresh out of their undergrad programs because grad school is hard. It requires an academic maturity that sometimes takes a few years in the world to attain. That being said, it all comes down to the individual student, as I pointed out earlier.

    I think that the most important thing to consider before applying to MFA programs is:

    What do YOU want out of it?

    Because this isn't like auditioning for a show where you are all competing for the same end result. You need to determine WHY you want to go to grad school, and WHAT you want out of it. This is important because the MFA Musical Theatre at SDSU is completely different from, say, the MM in Musical Theatre at Oklahoma, or the Voice Pedagogy and MT Directing programs at Penn State. Think of your endgame, and then work backwards from there. If _________ is what you eventually want to be doing with your life, then which path is the best one to take you there?

    I hope that this has been helpful. Please don't hesitate to contact me here, or on facebook, and ask any and all questions.

    A reminder:

    If you are thinking about applying to SDSU's MFA Musical Theatre Program--
    Applications will be processed starting OCTOBER 1st, 2011.

    The program accepts 6-10 students every TWO years, so if you are interested and you don't apply this fall, you will have to wait two years for the next cycle to begin.

    Thank you all! Sending my best,

  • MusicTheatre1988MusicTheatre1988 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Hey all looking for MFAs!

    As of about one week ago, The Boston Conservatory is officially offering an MFA in Musical Theatre (As well as their MM). Just thought any who came upon this thread would like to know!

    Happy Hunting!!
  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    Thanks for the info! Do you know what the difference between the 2 programs will be? I could look it up, of course :) - but if you have any anecdotal descriptions of why the MFA was formed, that would be great. I'm guessing so there can be more acting focus?
This discussion has been closed.