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Musical Theatre/Drama program at UCI

musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
Hi guys. I am starting a new thread on UCI because most of the other threads are several years old.

I remember reading lots of CC posts regarding theatre schools when I was applying for several BFA programs. I am a current student at UCI pursuing the MT track. I would love to be a resource to any students/parents about the drama department. I attended unified auditions my senior year and got into several schools (NYU, USC, etc.) and I chose UCI. I love it here and am extremely happy with my choice. UCI's program is very unique and not for everyone, but if you are interested in hearing from a current student please let me know.
Post edited by musicaltheatreme on

Replies to: Musical Theatre/Drama program at UCI

  • actor12actor12 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    Why was it your top choice? Lots of people seem to use it as a safety but I really like it, too.
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Uci ha the most things going for me on my list of what I wanted (when I ranked different items, Uci had the beat score basically) the faculty, NY satellite program, variety of classes, location (close to many theatres, near LA), the price (all included UCI was the most affordable for me, it has the degree I want the BFA in MT, the dance program is very strong and I have been taking many dance classes. I like that there are a variety of disciplines here (directing, stage management, acting etc.) also, though I have not decided to pursue a double major or minor, at the time of my decision I still wanted to keep that option open. At some other BFA programs that isn't allowed, neither is study abroad unless it is during the summer. I thought UCI had the most opportunities and flexibility. I like the build your own program style, though some people want a more conservatory feel, having their classes picked for them and going straight into a BFA instead of having to audition for mt classes (like here at UCI).
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Ps sorry for typos, I posted this from my phone.
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Also, regarding the variety of classes, I mean classes like Clowning with Eli Simon, Shakespeare with Robert Cohen, Acting for Camera with Richard Brestoff, movement with Annie Loui. Undergrads to have access to grad teachers. I think some people overlook Uci because it is non-audition to get here, but the professors/quality of program is top notch. I have been in a dew school shows and a few professional shows outside of school. Also, Uci just started a summer Shakespeare festival. This year they are doing two Shakespeare shows and a musical. (a nice alternative to doing summer stock). Basically the opportunities abound at UCi and are here for the go-getters.
  • MTCoachMTCoach Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    Thank you for sharing! I'm going to be in California in February/March and I plan to check to the program out, as I've done little exploring of the MT programs on the west coast!
  • rachie4rachrachie4rach Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    How have you liked the program so far? Are you currently a BFA? If not, do you still feel like you recieve attention/teaching? Do you notice something BFAs have or do that make them stand out and be BFAs?
  • actor12actor12 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    So I got the honors email. Does this mean I'm in? Thanks.
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member

    I am not a BFA. Hopefully I will be selected for that program, that is the goal. I am a sophomore in Musical Theatre Level 3. There are 20 students in this class. I am one of 3 sophomores in this class and it is rare for sophomores to get into this class at all. Usually 1 sophomore might get in during the year, this year we had 3.

    I feel I get a lot of attention. I get private lessons during the week (UCI just got a new voice teacher as well. I feel this is another sign that the program is expanding. He is amazing! I like him a lot).

    I presented a song in class and I got coached for about 20 minutes of time and the class is 2 hours long twice a week (if that gives you a sense of anything).

    As far as what do BFAs do to stand out/make them BFAs? Honestly, everyone who gets into MT3 is an amazing singer and actor and I feel is BFA level. Making that cut in the program is the hardest. There is one girl who is a senior, she is not a BFA, but I swear she is probably the best singer/actor in the class. I feel like she could work on braodway now. I am not saying this lightly. I am saying this to make the point that there are extremely talented/qualified non BFA students at UCI. So, BFA is not the be-end-all. But the people who are BFAs are really good and really marketable. I think that what makes them stand out is a combination of talent, professional attitude, and getting the MT teachers to know them.

    I love the program. I went to a masterclass on Friday with Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley and it reaffirmed that I am getting amazing training. The notes they gave other students I had heard in class before and agreed with. Our program focuses on the acting part of the triple-threat most, but everyone in MT3 can sing too, and we have some amazing dancers as well.

    I have started getting cast professionally outside of school and it really has been because of my training at UCI. I think that after I finish up these next two remounts of shows I was in last year (2012) (one over the summer, another during winter) I am going to take a break from doing outside stuff and focus on just the training at UCI. There is so much to take in and this program can be very demanding if you so choose. I am very satisfied.
  • chantttchanttt Registered User Posts: 1 New Member

    How competitive is it to get into the Musical Theatre Workshop courses? I'm planning on transferring into UCI for their drama/BFA program in the fall & am looking forward to taking these courses. I just wanna know how competitive it is & how selective it is..for the MT courses themselves. Not just the BFA.
  • actor12actor12 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    The courses are very "gettable" at the lower levels. it gets tougher as you want to move up. I also heard it's easier for transfers since they have less time at the school.
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @actor 12. I would not say that the courses at the lower levels are 'very gettable.' Maybe they used to be, but I would say they are competitive, not impossible. You definitely need a sufficient amount of vocal/acting training to get into MT2, the class most people try for at first.

    I also do not think it is 'easier' for transfers. It is possible, not easier. I know a lot of transfers were disappointed that they didn't get into Level 2 off the bat, which then disqualifies them for the BFA if they want to graduate in 2 years.

    For example, the first time I auditioned for MT classes (fall of my freshman year) I did not get into either Level 1 or Level 2, I did not get anything. I did get into Level 2 my next try. Then, I got into Level 3 the following winter (1 year later). After 1 quarter of 3, I auditioned for the BFA and have been accepted into that program. I will say that there are many students who got accepted into MT 2 before me that did not make it into level 3. The program is selective and looks for growth and hard working students. But I do think it is a wonderful place for growing and learning. It is not so competitive that it is discouraging. I am inspired by the talent here! Undergrads (BA and BFAs), transfers, and MFAs included.
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Also, in regards to transfers, this past Winter quarter Level 3 accepted 7 new students into the class. 4 were transfers, 1 was a junior (non-transfer), 1 was a junior Dance major, and the last (me) was a sophomore non-transfer. So, yes, to the transfers it is possible but still competitive. Level 3 is much more competitive than level 2, but both are competitive.
  • actor12actor12 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    How much music training is available? Is it sing-dance-act or act-act-sing-dance? How important is dance to getting the BFA? Four transfers out of 7 people sounds like a lot. Is it hard to get classes? How much time is spent on GE's vs. theater?

    Oh, and since it Southern California do you need a car? Thanks.
  • actor12actor12 Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    What kind of singing do they prefer? Belt, mix, or legit?
  • musicaltheatrememusicaltheatreme Registered User Posts: 21 New Member

    Ok-in regard to what kind of singing they prefer-good singing is probably the best answer. One professor will ask you to sing everything "in your mix", another usually makes you sing what you are weaker at, another doesn't use technical terms like "mix" or "belt" but gives you different images or sensations to think about that affect your placement. I came in a pretty solid soprano/mixer. I still am, but now I can belt and this quarter, all my songs were belting. Your type will definitely play into what is asked of you. If I were you, if you are a female, train your head voice--this will make your mix strong which you will be using for most contemporary stuff.

    Dancing is becoming a bigger part of the program/BFA.

    The rank is Act-Sing-Dance (or so they will tell you). The emphasis is DEFINITELY on the acting. (Which I like, because I have had a lot of technical training in voice and classical ballet).

    There is 1 music class required for the BFA (BAs can also take it). You can take supplemental theory classes through the music department, though I don't think that is necessary. If you have spare time now, I would pick up piano. It is a great life-skill for MT performers (learning sheet music, playing your stuff, or even offering voice lessons in the future and being your own accompanist).

    Check out the UC requirements for GEs, they are all the same regardless of your major. This is a UC so we have more academics than say a 'conservatory' school. If you don't like taking at least 1 year of a math-type class, or you didn't take APs, this might not be the school for you. I like academics, so not a problem for me.

    Is it hard to get classes--yes and no. It has never been for me, it is for some. I would say it it isn't easy, but you need to be smart. Ask a teacher to save a spot in their studio class for you if you have a late enrollment and need to get into a certain GE. You only can register for 18 units at once. I have never had a hard time with it. I know some people do, but I honestly feel like those are the people who don't know how to hustle or who don't plan out their schedule with A B and C options in case one class is full etc.

    I have a car because I do theatre professionally outside of school. You don't need a car. Having one is helpful. I would say you definitely don't need one freshman year. It depends if you want to work outside of school. I think the transportation is great. Bring a bike! That helps a lot. Also, there is a shopping center across the street from school and if you have to work, a lot of people work there or across campus.

    Four out of 7 might seem like a lot (over half technically), but it totally depends on the year, who auditions, who transfers etc.

    Let me know if you have other questions. This will be my first quarter in the BFA, I will let you know how it goes.
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