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? Muhlenberg Cliquey?

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Replies to: ? Muhlenberg Cliquey?

  • austinmtaustinmt Registered User Posts: 476 Member
    She is a BFA MT-voice major at Roosevelt/CCPA, just started last week. They also have MT-dance and acting BFA's.
  • LeftofPisaLeftofPisa Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    My daughter is a theater major at Muhl and NOT in a sorority; she didn't rush. My daughter, who could definitely be described as quirky, has had a good time there; she is currently spending the semester at Academia dell'Arte in Tuscany and having the time of her life.

    It probably is both cliquey AND warm. There are groups but lots of overlap and acceptance. My daughter is very engaged with theater but doesn't only hang with theater kids or only do theater, which has been nice. While it is not the most avant garde student body, I can assure you your daughter won't be the only nerd who loves Dr. Who there. :-) My daughter felt like the straightest kid there when she visited Sarah Lawrence and one of the quirkiest kids when she visited Muhlenberg. But Muhlenberg is very comfortable for her.

    Regarding performance opportunities- that is a very real issue. It is definitely NOT like a small BFA program where there are guaranteed performance opportunities. I don't know if my daughter is "cream" or not. She has gotten a lot of callbacks for Main Stages but is still waiting to be cast in a Main Stage and is perfecting her rejection ritual. ;-) She has, however, had a lot of other performance opportunities, including student directed plays and films, and even a dance production, has directed a production herself, and is participating in a performance ensemble. There certainly are kids how have fewer opportunities and that is challenging.

    If your daughter wants to talk to my daughter PM me and I can put them in touch. Although the time difference makes it challenging! ;-)
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    I'm glad to hear that your daughter is at the Accademia and enjoying it, LeftofPisa. When my son was there, there were Muhlenberg students, but they were all dancers, not actors.
  • PayingOurDuesPayingOurDues Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    The question about performance opportunities is, I think, a very valid one, and one that is (for now) keeping Muhlenberg off our list. We have friends whose daughter attended Muhlenberg. While she was happy there, she did not once get cast in a show. Not once in four years. And she auditioned for everything. Were I her parents, I'd be quite unhappy spending my money with those results....

    I know this is only one person's experience, but it does give me some concern. If anyone has non-anecdotal knowledge on performance opportunities at Muhlenberg, I would be very interested in hearing them.

    (Back to the OP's question -- our friend's daughter loved the people at Muhlenberg and found it a very warm and welcoming place.)
  • vivahg11vivahg11 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    LeftofPisa, thank you for sharing about your d's experience. The information about performance issues is very enlightening. Did she audition to get in Muhlenberg?
    What year is your daughter in? I find it strange that she didn't get even cast as part of the ensemble in a main stage. Usually you have to work your way up - junior and senior students usually get the better roles. We visited Sarah Lawrence and found it just surreal,a lala land for kids from $ comfortable homes. Too unstructured.
    PayingourDues, Thank you too for sharing about your friend's daughter's experience.
    I don't understand why she stayed there for 4 years?
    I think this is very telling. If she auditioned or not auditioned to get in to Muhlenberg?
    M instincts are telling me that Muhlenberg due to its size and being cliquey sound very much like a high school. Also, from what I've read it doesn't sound very diverse.
  • SDonCCSDonCC Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    I think that there is a real benefit for kids looking at a BA from going against the grain and not just looking at the "known for good theater programs" schools precisely because of the crowding in the programs. My view is a bit different than many here, I'd say, but I think that it makes sense to look at BA schools that seem a good fit for other reasons and then drill down into the curriculum and performance opportunities. There are many wonderful arts programs at a wide variety of schools and talented kids attending them.

    The "known" theater BA schools may very well have the staff to accommodate all the students, but it's also a question of whether it is better to be a big fish in a small pond or to be in a pool of many. No right or wrong, just something to evaluate individually.
  • SDonCCSDonCC Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    In terms of diversity at Muhlenberg, you can see the geographical distribution on the profile on its website. You can also look on the common data set to see its racial / ethnic composition and the financial profile (which you can see by looking at what percentage of students get need-based aid).

    These statistics matter to some, not to others; again a personal decision.
  • vivahg11vivahg11 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    Thanks, My daughter is a strong character actor not an ingenue. I'm thinking as you that an audition program is a better way to go.
    Does any one know how many students are theatre majors?
    Maybe since Muhlenberg got rated #1 a year or 2 ago, it affected the number of students wanting to apply for theater. They may have a bigger # of students but then that makes opportunities to get cast more difficult.
  • LeftofPisaLeftofPisa Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    I want to clarify that you do not audition to get into Muhlenberg. The audition is optional and is only for talent money. My daughter did audition and did receive talent money.

    I agree with SDonCC that looking at an under the radar BA program can be the way to go. The good thing about a program like Muhlenberg is that the acting track is laid out for you and there is a strong and growing alumni network. But the popularity of the program has it's downsides too.

    She knew going in that getting cast at Muhlenberg would be challenging. She has been cast every semester, just not in a main stage which of course she would love. Apparently, she is just not the ensemble type (totally said tongue in cheek!) because she is consistently called back for leads, since she was a freshman. So close and yet so far...

    She is a Junior, spending this semester abroad. So she is keeping her finger crossed for next semester. But I have to say she is doing a great job of sucking up every last bit of opportunity she has there, both for performing and pursuing her other passions and interests.

    She has not found Muhlenberg to be cliquey at all and I think you can find elements that feel like high school at any college. But I think because it is relatively small and insular that can feel more like high school than a big school. It has been a good fit for my daughter but YMMV. :-)
  • MuhlCollegeRepMuhlCollegeRep Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    There is some odd misinformation on this thread about Muhlenberg Theatre. There are about 250 theatre majors at Muhlenberg working in five concentrations. We are the third largest department in the college. We have a full-time staff of 23 in the department and a good number of visiting guest artists working in the department at any one time. While we are a large department, classes are small (studio classes are never more than 16 students) and we have excellent facilities, extensive production program, and strong study abroad opportunities. Students interested in musical theatre performance can receive complete training in voice, dance, and acting. We do at least one major musical every production season and two major musicals and a children's musical every summer in the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre. The summer music theater uses mostly student casts with alumni guest artists. Students working in the summer theatre are paid and given housing. We do a showcase in New York at the end of the four years - you do not have to audition for the showcase - any theatre student can participate. The great strength of the department is the quality of the teaching faculty.
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