Musical Theatre or Acting?

<p>I can't decide on a major. Both are appealing to me, as I want to do both Stage plays and Musicals. Can you help me please choose?</p>

<p>Look for a school where the MT and Acting departments are closely allied, like Syracuse or UArts. With an MT major, you will still get good solid acting training, and also the vocal and dance training that you will need to be competitive in musicals. My D just graduated from Syracuse; she appeared in both straight plays and musicals at school, and was just cast in leading roles in both a play and a musical for the summer. Being an MT major doesn't have to be limiting.</p>

<p>A couple of arguments in favor of an Acting major:</p>

<ul>
<li><p>You more than likely know this already, but something to consider is that admission to auditioned MT programs is vastly more competitive, because they are so very popular. You might want to read posts in CC's MT forum to get a sense of this.</p></li>
<li><p>Some MT performers are excellent actors....but, as has been noted here before, many are not. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the acting training at the schools you apply to is absolutely top notch. </p></li>
<li><p>If you are seriously interested in straight drama in addition to MT, study Acting and take singing/dancing lessons on the side, either at your college or in the summer or whatever.</p></li>
</ul>

<p>Just to follow up onstage's post #2, I agree that Syracuse and UArts are two examples of schools where the acting and MT programs are closely connected. At Uarts, the acting and MT students take the same core acting studio classes together, with the same professors, for 6 semesters. There is also an overlap with some of the movement and speech classes although those classes, if I recall correctly, are taken at different times in the respective curricula and therefore are not mixed classes but have the same professors. Where the programs veer off from each other is with respect to additional movement versus dance, additional speech for actors versus singing, additional straight drama repertoire versus musical theatre repertoire etc. MT and acting students audition for all the same shows each semester, both musicals and straight drama, and get cast in both. There is also a MT minor available for acting majors.</p>

<p>My daughter is also at a school with a closely aligned BFA Acting and MT programs. She went the acting route, but is taking dance and voice. All actors and MTs are required to audition for all shows -- musical and straight theatre -- after freshman year. The curricula is quite similar, but the actors have a little more focus on drama repertoire/literature and the MTs have music theory, musical repertoire. Each have their own "workshops" in which the actors work and perform monologues and the MTs work on and perform their songs.</p>

<p>IMHopeful - would you mind saying where that is?</p>

<p>I would just like to add some more thoughts on this subject; I am strongly in favor of a very strong acting base for both acting and MT performers. But as a performer, a coach, and a mother of a performer, my experience tells me that there are far more job opportunities for those who have good solid MT training (assuming you have talent in that area!) I especially see this with my daughter's classmates: those with MT training can attend many more auditions for live theater than those who do not. The vast majority of her classmates who are already working are the MT students. Of course, most on-camera opportunities are non-musical, but the MT students can also attend those auditions; whereas the students who have not developed their vocal and dance skills couldn't dream of getting through an open call for a musical.</p>

<p>So back to the OP's question -- if you have an interest in both stage plays and musicals, I strongly recommend that you go for the MT major. But be sure to research the programs available, so you will be able to develop your acting skills as well as musical skills.</p>

<p>My daughter is at Illinois Wesleyan</p>

<p>Thank you - we've considered looking into that school and will do so based on your advice!</p>

<p>Let me know if you have any questions about the school. She just finished her first year and absolutely loved it. I was a little concerned because she turned down a couple of maybe more well-known programs for IWU -- but she had a great feeling about them when she visited and it turned about to be the right choice for her.</p>