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be_a_starbe_a_star Registered User Posts: 618 Member
Does anyone know anything about the musical theatre program at UC Irvine? My parents have been pressuring me to find schools in California, but none of them seem to have musical theatre. (The only ones that I know of are UC Irvine, Chico, and CSU Fullerton.) I found out today about Irvine, but they don't even do an audition for acceptance, so I don't really know how good it is. Has anyone heard/seen anything, or know of any other California schools?
Post edited by be_a_star on

Replies to: UC Irvine

  • CoachCCoachC Registered User Posts: 813 Member
    I attended UCLA Grad School for a time in the early 90's and got to see the annual Carol Burnett Awards, where young MT students from UCLA performed a 5-minute scene/song/dance presentation that they put together in order to show off their best talents. The award was quite substantial - more than $1,000 (much more, if I remember correctly) - and the talent was very good. (Burnett is a UCLA alum who established this award many years ago.) I know UCLA has no BFA MT program (or BFA Theatre program, for that matter) but it might be worth looking into their "Ray Bolger musical theatre program sequence."

    Interestingly enough, the Carol Burnett Award is now as being given through the School of Music - but either way, there seems to be some MT stuff happening at UCLA that's worth checking out! Please let us know what you discover - I'm curious. ; )
  • nytheatermomnytheatermom Registered User Posts: 399 Member
    These were the California schools that Shauna has included on the "big list" on her FAQs

    +California State University, Fullerton (BFA, audition at end of second year)
    Notre Dame de Namur University (BFA)
    University of California - Irvine
    +University of California - Los Angeles (BA, audition at the end of first year)
    University of Southern California (BFA in Acting, Minor in MT)
  • mtmommymtmommy Registered User Posts: 524 Member
    Fullerton has the best CA program (graduates are in national tours, cruise ships, etc., but I don't know about Broadway), but you audition at the end of sophomore year. For the first two years, you are responsible for your own private voice lessons. The program is good if you get in after spending two years there. If you don't get in, then you graduate with a BA in theatre.
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,536 Senior Member
    The others who responded know way more about the CA schools than me, so please listen to them.

    I just wanted to say that your post caught my eye because an extremely talented girl who is friends with my D (but older than my D) chose and went to UCIrvine and her field is musical theater. This girl was (and likely still is) a stand out. She is from CA. She graduated high school early (I believe at sixteen like my D) and in fact, has also graduated UCIrvine in less than four years (according to my D who recently was telling me this). She has done a few things early, lol...she also got married early. In any case, my feeling if someone like her chose it, there had to be offerings there that were worthwhile. I have seen this girl play many leads at a place where the rest of the people were also very talented so to get a lead is not easy. I have seen her as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Ado Annie in Oklahoma, to name just a few where she was terrific. I don't know anything about UCIrvine but thought I would pass on that at least one very talented musical theater young woman has recently gone there to study this field. Sorry to not give you concrete information but am simply sharing that perhaps other talented people like you might choose UCIrvine for particular reasons (staying in CA, etc.). Might be worth looking into, along with the other suggestions here.

  • jennysgjennysg Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    My D is also interested in a CA school....Fullerton. I'm not too sure I like the idea of no auditioning until end of Soph year. I don't know too much about the program itself or how successful the graduates are. One plus...it's only a stone's throw from Disneyland. I wonder how many of their students work there????
  • be_a_starbe_a_star Registered User Posts: 618 Member
    From what I've heard, a really good number of students work there, but I don't know for sure. I didn't realize they dont have the auditions until sophomore year though. I hate it when schools do that. I'd be so worried I'd be kicked out and have no place to go.
  • mtmommymtmommy Registered User Posts: 524 Member
    be_a_star--I think a lot of students who start at Fullerton in MT don't realize until they get there that they have to audition end of sophomore year. This fact and that they accept only a fraction of those who do audition makes it another competitive MT program--and a bit risky. But it would be interesting to see the difference in the course schedule of students who pass into the MT upper division and those who don't. And you could check on the casting. Who gets roles in the musicals--only MT majors or not?
  • WaitingMomWaitingMom Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    D'Land and Cal Adventure are major employers for students at CSUF as well as for Chapman Univ. UCI and CSULB. Part time entertainment jobs are a big draw for students in theater programs at both the HS and college level. The parades, characters & shows are usually made up of students and since they require dance/acting and/or singing skills they require an audition. Several of my daughters' friends work there since 16 is the starting age for the Entertainment Division.
  • keyboardmomkeyboardmom Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    As a new member, I'm trying to figure out how to search for info on this website. What did you learn about UC Irvine MT? Thanks!!
  • Prof. HimmelheberProf. Himmelheber Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    I hope I catch them all...several posts asked various questions. I'll do my best.

    The reason we cannot audition into the BFA until the end of the sophomore year is two-fold:

    We are a state and land-grant institution. This means that we cannot deny admission to anyone interested and qualified. Further, we must remain accessible to transfer students (as this is a new "Governator" mandate, trying to beef up attendance at junior colleges by paving a passageway directly into the state universities after 60 units). So, in short, we would LOVE to audition into the freshman level; we simply cannot.

    Second, curricularly this sequence makes a lot of sense. Students have two years to decide whether or not to audition for both acting and musical theatre, or either, or a different emphasis entirely. In that two years, they have access to ALL the courses (with the exception of private voice lessons): they have acting, voice and movement, analysis, musical theatre, jazz, ballet, tap, performance opportunities (they can audition after their first semester is completed), sight singing, theory, and many others that they may be interested in. Not only do these courses prepare the student for the program and auditions, but it also gives them an idea of who they are up against. They usually KNOW going into the auditions if they are competitive with their peers or not (unless they are not listening to what candid remarks the faculty gives them).

    Finally, if they are not admitted to the musical theatre BFA, they may still pursue an acting BA (soon to be a BFA program, too) if they pass the acting portion of their audition. Or they can continue as a "general theatre studies" student (a more "liberal arts" degree track). Or they can change emphasis to directing, tech, design, playwriting or stage management. The core curriculum required to audition (one year of Voice & Movement, one year of Acting, and one semester of analysis) is SHARED among all our emphases...and many of the other classes will transfer in to the other programs' requirements or electives.

    In fact, one student who recently did not pass her audition/jury and decided to graduate with a BA in General Theatre Studies actually realized that she can graduate with only 1.5 more years (rather than 2), or take the full years remaining and enjoy herself on the ride. She's very pleased about this!

    Finally, the main stage season shows are open to ONLY theatre majors - whether BFA or BA, designer or actor, with the exception of first semester freshmen (who cannot audition until December for the Spring season shows). So many of the students who do not get accepted to their discipline of choice DO get into our main stage season shows.

    So it is not nearly as bleak a forecast as investing two (or three, or more in some cases) years in a program only to find that you are cut and are out on your behind with no degree options at that institution.

    Hope this clarifies.
  • Prof. HimmelheberProf. Himmelheber Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    Yes, CSU Fullerton students APLENTY work at Disney: in shows, parades, characters, and also on rides, in shops, street sweeping, etc. LOTS of jobs there. Biggest trouble is when the student has to choose between the "Mouse" and school (Disney often schedules when the student has given them conflicts in advance, like rehearsals and shows and classes at school!).

    As for CSUF alum performers, we have students in/recently in:

    The Producers

    Current Peter Pan (with Cathy Rigby, headed to B'way as soon as their theatre is vacated by the preceding show)
    42nd Street
    Phantom of the Opera
    Beauty and the Beast
    Some Enchanted Evening
    Starlight Express
    The Full Monte

    The lead (Kim) in Miss Saigon international tour
    Two leads in Germany production of Hair
    Hot Black Stuff in the Netherlands

    Cruise ships

    Theme parks (international and national)

    Regional theatre and concerts (including the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles "Dorian," North Shore Music Theatre, Playwright's Horizons, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Sierra Rep, Virginia Musical Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, Utah Musical Theatre, California Music Circus, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Starlight Theatre Kansas City, Fullerton Civic Light Opera, Summerfest Musical Theatre, Starlight Theatre San Diego, Moonlight Productions, Lawrence Resort Theatre, Bigfork Summer Rep, and many others)

    Opera: Baz Luhrman's Aida; alumni Deborah Voigt is hailed by the world's critics and audiences as today's foremost dramatic soprano. A recent New York Times article stated: "Deborah Voigt, arguably the leading dramatic soprano singing today, has a gleaming voice..."

    Interactive media: Disneyland Innoventions
  • Prof. HimmelheberProf. Himmelheber Registered User Posts: 545 Member
    UCI is not a BFA program - it is an "Honors" program, meaning that you MAY be accepted when you audition in, and if not you MAY transfer into the curriculum (if spots open by those in the emphasis who decide to take classes in another emphasis). If you check out the West Coast Schools thread on this website, there is MUCH more complete information posted (about UCI and UCLA, too)...

    As to Chico, they are STARTING a good program there - however this is a BA in Musical Theatre, and I understand they have no intention of working toward a BFA program offering. The curriculum is well-rounded, and the faculty is a balance of both working professionals and academics. If you are seriously interested in Chico as a "professional training program," you may be disappointed if you don't do your research and find out what they offer and how they compare to other Calif. and national schools. However, this program does seem very accessible and aims very high in training breadth and goals. They also produce two main stage musicals each year. Just don't expect it to be a CCM, Boston Conservatory or Tisch.

    Another program of possible interest (to your folks): a small Catholic University, Notre Dame de Namur (in the Bay Area). They have a BFA in Musical Theatre program, but do relatively FEW plays/musicals in their main stage season, so fewer performance opportunities than a bigger/public school might offer. Also, not sure of the quality of the education - a small faculty (see http://www.music.ndnu.edu/faculty_staff.html for all-music faculty - and no professional credits mentioned!). Virtually NO importance on dedicated dance (meaning not combined within a musical theatre class), though their website states an equal emphasis; they only take 1 semester of jazz and one semester of musical theatre dance. Also, their website states: "It is recommended that students in the program allow AT LEAST one extra semester (fall, spring, or summer) to complete the course requirements"(emphasis added). And finally, their website lists theatre and musical theatre also as "extra curricular" activities - probably meaning that anybody in the school who wants to participate in main stage shows may audition (this is always disastrous in professional training programs, as the rehearsal schedule and structure is rarely "professional" in nature when dealing with majors who have no clue as to professional demeanor and expectations).
  • MusThCCMusThCC Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    "bump" for Irishcharm
  • itsthehysleepiaitsthehysleepia Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I know this post is old, but I agree entirely about NDNU. I am currently finishing up my freshmen year here as a MT major and will probably be transferring next year. If anyone has any questions about the school, please feel free to e-mail me. A lot of good changes are about to happen to this new program, so I think it's worth checking out if you want a BFA degree, but are thinking you will most likely end up teaching English and Theatre/music...
  • paradoxicalparadoxical Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    I'd like to correct Prof Himmelhaber. UCI now has a BFA in Musical Theatre. "Students who begin their tenure at UCI as a freshman Drama major may audition for the program after their first year of residence. Transfer students may audition as early as their second quarter of residence."

    This is a highly selective program. Besides courses in the Drama Dept., accepted students receive private voice lessons in the Music Dept. and are required to take ballet, jazz, and tap in the Dance Department. (The UCI Dance Dept., which does require auditions, is considered among the best in the U.S. Graduates have become professional dancers in major musicals and a professor has five Tony award nominations for choreography and direction.) The BFA requirements also include residence in the New York Satellite Program, which is by audition.

    The UCI Drama Dept is excellent (top 12), but since students may be interested in design, directing, stage management, or dramatic literature, theory and criticism, auditions are not required for admission.
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