The Ohio University NEW BFA program?

I just learned this morning about The Ohio U. transforming their BA program to a BFA program in acting track and musical theatre track. From their website it appears that they will be at NY unifieds/Chicago unifieds. Does anyone have intel about the program, and how they are taking auditions - are they taking walk-ins? I’m going to give them a call but thought I would post here to solicit some information since we are leaving for NY unifieds and trying to tighten up our schedule. Thanks!

@3Blessings I would call or email them. When we saw that my D applied to the school and requested an audition and she’s scheduled while we are in Chicago.

I don’t really have any intel, however we visited there in October and my son auditioned for MT. The campus is lovely and the area of Ohio very beautiful. I am not sure how the auditions will be at Unifieds. He attended an on campus Experience the Arts day and participated in a acting and dance workshop and then did his monologue and vocal audition. He just received an offer for admission to the MT BFA this week! Alan Patrick Kenny is the head of the MT program and who has been our contact person.

I don’t know anything about the MT program… but a special feature of the theater program at OU is access to the SHAPe clinic, headed by Dr. Jeff Russell… it’s a clinic of athletic trainers who specialize in treating performers, and it’s FREE for music, theater and dance majors! I know about this because my oldest D got her Masters in Athletic training at OU and worked as the theater lead AT for 2 years while she was in grad school… oh how I wished my MT girl at BW had access to such a resource! My AT daughter now treats performers at a California amusement park! So congrats to the inaugural MT class at OU!

Alan Patrick Kenny was the program coordinator of the MT program at U Wisconsin-Steven’s Point and just moved to Ohio U. Sounds really promising.

Agree! If he headed the UW-SP program that’s a great indicator

Actually, Mark Hanson has been the Program Coordinator at Stevens Point for many years. Kenny took the position in May of 2017, and since he left, Hanson has resumed the role. Just don’t want folks to think that UW-Stevens Point is at a loss with Kenny taking the position at OU. From what I understand, the musical theater program at UW will remain. They did get rid of other majors in the liberal arts like French, German, Geography and Geology, and sadly, one of my D’s friends committed to Stevens Point for their Dramaturgy major which was ultimately on the cutting block as well.

My D auditioned for this school at NY Unifieds and just received an email asking her to apply. It would be for the inaugural class for MT, but from what I read it seems there could be a lot of opportunity there.

Does anyone know how many are being accepted into their inaugural class? Will it be larger in the first year (to have enough students to put on shows!!). MSM was larger in the first and second years for that reason and is now scaling back to normal enrollment numbers as the program continues to add more years.

I don’t have information direct from the source, but Ohio University has a robust theatre department as-is (both at the undergraduate and graduate levels), and they are not building their program from the ground up, but merely splitting their BFA degree (BFA Performance) into two tracks, BFA Acting and BFA MT. I doubt they would have to accept larger classes to be able to put on shows–it’s not like there won’t be upperclassmen still at the school who were/are BFA Performance majors. However, they may accept more students than we usually see on these boards (owing to the fact that it is their first year recruiting and the faculty hasn’t yet proven the success of the program).

My daughter spoke with the program director and they are aiming for a freshman class of 16.

@BrennaK Thanks for the correct info. Much appreciated!

It really sounds like it will be an excellent program; very forward thinking, prepping the students for the Musical Theatre world of the 2020’s and beyond. Having really researched the 21 schools that she’s applying to, my D is very interested in his vision for the program and will be visiting sometime in February.

My S auditioned on campus this past weekend and they had a good number of faculty there for the Q&A session. Like @BrennaK mentioned above, they are targeting 16 for their inaugural class, but did say that is not a finite number. If they have 18-20 kids that meet the criteria they said they probably wouldn’t turn them away. As a parent, I was REALLY impressed with the direction they are going. My S totally enjoyed the audition experience there.

@BrennaK my D will be visiting Ohio in a couple weeks. Did you and your D visit in February? What was your takeaway? Thanks in advance! :smile:

We went down and spent 2 days on campus, trying to get a feel for what the existing program was and how it would support the new program. I have absolutely no background in performing arts, outside of just being a mom in this process, so take everything I say with a grain of salt!

My D and I both really like the new program head, Alan Patrick Kenny. His vision for the program is extremely forward thinking and proactive. He is striving towards the contemporary, rather than what was on broadway. He also wants all of the MT majors to have “minor” (I’m not sure if that’s the correct term in this instance) in something else that’s related - like social media, film, etc (I can’t remember all those details), so that they can do something that pays the bills in between booked work.

My D sat in on Acting (Meisner) class and an Acting (Shakespeare) class and a Ballet class (for the Dance majors, she thinks). She enjoyed all the classes. Something that is interesting about OU is they already have an incredible Film (MFA) program, so all the MT & Acting students have tons of opportunities to act in student film projects.

We saw a play while we were there “Holly Down In Heaven” and the level of acting was great! It was very, very strange and not something that I would think I would enjoy, but I actually loved it.

The campus is beautiful. It is definitely a big school, with a ton of big school amenities. It borders Hocking Hills, which is gorgeous. It’s just such a lovely area. And the college is the town; the “town” area is very quaint and picteresque; so many students walking around and doing their thing.

To sum up, the current BFA Acting program seems very solid (I hope I’m understanding all of this correctly), Alan Patrick has a fantastic vision for the new BFA MT program, and if he carries it off, could be a serious “program to watch” level thing.

@BrennaK and @CaliMTdreams - when my S auditioned there in January, we had the same reaction. Rather than preparing their students for what has been the “standard” in the past, they are trying to be proactive for the theatre of the future. They specifically mentioned that they are encouraging their students to now be “quadruple threats” . . . not only do they need to act, sing, and dance . . . they also need to be able to successfully play an instrument (think “Once” or “The Band’s Visit”). VERY impressed with the direction that program is moving.

@BrennaK and @Mark80 - Thank you both so much for the feedback and information. I am passing all this on to my D in advance of her visit next month.

I think that sounds great. Even if a program doesn’t require it, I also think being able to play an instrument is an asset in this field. For one thing, it helps with understanding music and music theory, being able to read music, and so on. But it can be an asset in casting, because there are roles where the actor plays an instrument and that narrows down who is qualified to be considered. The last 5 Off Broadway musicals my D was in, she played an instrument as part of her role. I can think of a Broadway show and a Broadway National Tour where she was a finalist for the lead in each one and the lead plays an instrument. If your kid is not yet in college, I think learning an instrument would be beneficial.

At the very least, being able to read music is an asset for making it possible to quickly learn a part or confidently participate in complicated ensemble work (Sondheim, anyone?). A few years ago, the national tour of Cabaret came through town. My S and I were able to talk to one of the BW grads from our home town. All the ensemble members played instruments in the onstage “pit” orchestra - some had to learn an instrument they had never played before. A BM degree can come in pretty handy…