Northwestern BA in theatre?

I’m looking for insight about what Northwestern’s BA in theatre program prepares their students for. Since it’s in Illniois and I know they have the theatre scene in Chicago going. But is it right for people who really want to get into the industry being successful in theatre,film, and TV? I haven’t seen as many notable alumni come from there as oppose to USC or NYU Tisch. Is it better to lean towards a program in LA or NY if that is your goal?

NYU Tisch has so many more students than NW so it would make sense that you would see more alumni coming from that program. Don’t late that sway you away from NW…

@KayMoore15, I go to a lot of plays in Chicago and it is very rare that you don’t see someone in the cast from Northwestern. What we were told on the tour was that the straight actors (non musical) tended to stay in Chicago, because there were a lot of opportunities there, while the MTs were more likely to go to NYC. @MomCares is a really good source of information about the program. I’m sure she’d help you out if you ask.

@KayMoore15 Northwestern in #8 on the list of top 10 schools with most people on bway that was published recently

Caveat- and this was discussed in another thread- all lists are inherently flawed (It’s one moment in time etc) NYU is #1 on list- but as @bissou points out, NYU has more kids (though a program like NU has WAY more than say Juilliard or CMU- also on the list) USC does not make the list, but perhaps that is b/c west coast trends towards film and LA, and the list is theater in NY

As for where- it depends on your ultimate goal. There is certainly something to be said for the opportunities to make contacts in NY and/or LA - but as jkelly points out- Chicago has a vibrant theater scene of it’s own, and I know a number of NU kids who have gotten a lot of professional work in Chicago

Pretty impressive:

@astute12 - Thanks for posting that link. The Wikipedia page is AT LEAST 10 years out of date and if I had time I could easily add 30 recent grads with very impressive resumes to that list. D’s classmates (15 MTs who graduated this June) would already merit several additions including Broadway, tours, top regional theatres, film and TV credits. I’d guess that at least half of her MT classmates have moved to NY while others have chosen to start out in Chicago (D chose to skip her NYC showcase as she’d already gotten representation and was in the midst of a great contract).

Northwestern’s program is rich with tradition and is both extremely strong and extremely unique. The program also has a very well-connected alumni network.

I can only speak firsthand for our D but so far (for the past year-and-half) she has found great representation and has booked very steady work at top Equity theatres, so I can’t imagine how any other program would have done a better job launching her. In addition, NU grads have a very solid liberal arts education from one of the world’s leading universities, which will serve them well throughout their lifetimes even if they explore alternate careers later (which in spite of how they feel at age 20 the majority of actors from all programs will eventually do).

For people with very strong academic stats and interests NU’s program is certainly worth a close look.

Good luck to you!

My D is a straight acting major in NU who is interested in film, commercial and voiceover. She’s had wonderful acting instruction via her acting teacher–at NU you choose your primary acting professor and you work with him/her for 3 years.

Specifically to film: She’s had two internships with casting agencies, her last one a summer-long internship with a NYC casting agent that was subsidized entirely by a NU grant. (NU has wonderful grant opportunities.) While in NYC she also took a voiceover intensive (not expensive).

This year, NU started a new module (similar to a minor), Acting For Film. My D is a senior, but she’s just able to cram in this new module in addition to her minor in Psychology!

It seems wonderful–she is learning a ton, both in front of and behind camera. For instance, just last week, a casting agent from Chicago came to class and the students did commercial sides in front of the camera with feedback from the casting agent; just as in ‘real life’ they were given the sides the night before! The agent then invited them to send her their headshots and resume. My D is also really busy creating tons of films; they’ve been building from sound and storytelling, and now are doing whole group projects. It’s a wonderful skill to have. She’s discovered she loves editing and the process of creating a film --not scriptwriting but just putting the film together.

Now, she hasn’t stepped out into the ‘real world’ yet so I don’t know how it will pan out. But bear in mind Chicago, while not LA or NYC, is still quite connected, and there are many casting people with links to either coast. You can also make an argument that it’s easier to start out in Chicago than either coast.

Honestly, I do think ideally if you’re interested in strictly film acting, your best bet would be LA. Chapman is really excellent, and of course there’s USC. But I would certainly not nix NU if you’re interested in film/commercial, especially with the new module. And of course NU has a top notch academic education as well.

That’s an interesting argument that’s it’s easier to start off in Chicago. I’m instreated in theatre and transitioning to TV and film later in my career. It sounds like NU would be good for that.

As an aside: @connections , psychology is a great minor for a theatre major! I’m sure your D is getting terrific exposure to a huge variety of thought patterns, personality types, neuroses, etc., that will help her understand characters and portray them realistically and with depth.