Musical theatre is training offered to students through music programs. While other forms of theatre, such as dance, could be included in musical theatre, the program mostly specializes in music. Music students must go through three important training sessions, which include singing, dancing, and acting. However, veterans of America music believe students must go the extra mile to learn the terrains of music, fluency of language, history of American music, how to market oneself, and music styles.
Also, it is essential to look at the ecosystem in which you want to work in. Are you looking to sell your style in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, LA, or any other state in the US? Do all these states have different receptions for different types of music? For you to get it right, it is essential to attend the best musical theatre colleges. There are numerous music theatres out there, and choosing the best can be an overwhelming exercise for students or parents.
What to look at when choosing the best colleges
The first thing we used to determine the best colleges for musical theatre is using reputable ranking industries such as The Hollywood Reporter and Backstage. However, such industries generalize their ranking, and we had to focus on colleges offering art and music. The two ranking sectors are known to be factual, and there are based on merit and not biased.
2. Extracurricular activities
There is a big difference between theory and experience the real thing on stage. Therefore, as a performer, the right college should have a place where you can do the actual performance. Also, your college should provide a chance through a local theatre where you can perform to a real audience if the college has a program where you can study abroad at a subsidized price, the better. All these activities are geared to creating a good foundation for your career to take off in flying colors.
Music is more practical than theory. Therefore, before joining any college, take a kin look at the facilities in the college. Ensure the facilities in the school are not outdated but up to date. Music is highly dynamic; the equipment that was on top of the game ten years ago now obsolete. The best musical theatre colleges in America will continuously update their material to suit today’s technology. It would be ill-fated for a student to come out of college only to meet different equipment from those they were used to in college.
One of the best ways of recognizing the right college is by looking at the alumnus of the school. What is its impact on the music industry? Are there some you can relate with? Go down further and look at the colleges attended by your role models. Another way is seeking former students of the school for information about the school. In most cases, students will never lie since they have nothing to lose. Furthermore, they will be first to discourage you from joining the college if their time in school was horrible.
When choosing a college to join whether to make music or any other course, the location of the college is one of the most important factors to consider. Remember this is a place you will spend a few years of your life in it. Always check if the surrounding environment suits you. Also, check the musical history of the city where the college is located. New York, for instance, is known to host some of the best personalities in the music industry. Therefore, you may want to look for the best musical theatre college in New York.
Affordability is another essential factor to look at when choosing a college to join. Even though the perception out there is that the most expensive schools are the best, that is not entirely true. With an insignificant budget, you can still find some of the best musical theatre colleges in the country. Also, always inquire how much more you will pay after paying the tuition fee. However, if money is not a problem, you can go ahead and choose the best college for you without necessarily how much they charge.
Top Colleges Music Theatre Colleges in the US
1. The Juilliard School
The school is listed as the best in the dance and drama category. It has produced some of the best in performers who have gone ahead to win renown awards such as 62 Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, 16 Pulitzer Prizes, 24 Academy Awards, and many more. On the part of extra curriculum activities, its students perform close to 15 public performances yearly in Los Angeles and New York. If you are looking for a musical theatre that will fast track your musical career, The Juilliard School suits you.
2. NYU Tisch School of the Art
Another good option to pursue dance and drama is NYU Tisch School. The school ranks as one of the best musical theatre colleges, mainly because of its reputation for producing the best performers in the industry. Many of its alumni have performed in some of the biggest stages in the US. Some of these shows include Radio City Musical Hall, while others have appeared in famous TV shows and movies. Notable names that have been associated with the theatre are Lady Gaga, Spike Lee, Kristen Bell, James Franco, and Elizabeth Olsen. Some of the degrees you will find in this institution include performance studies, dramatic writing, video game, film & television, and cinema studies. In recent times the school has branched into video game design and music production. The school boasts as one of the best colleges for musical theatre in New York. Being in New York gives a chance for students to interact and share the stage with some of the best artists in the country.
3. Carnegie Mellon University
The university has a history of churning out top-notch actors in the United States and was the first college in the US to offer a degree in drama education. The drama powerhouse has been known to work with renowned professions such as Holly Hunter, Ted Danson, Zachary Quinto, to name just a few. The school has a separate department for acting and music students. This school offers independent acting and musical theatre degrees as well, giving students the option to specialize in different types of performances. Also, the university provides over 20 onstage opportunities for students to showcase their talent every year. Senior students are also given a chance to perform in front of professionals in New York, Los Angeles, and Pittsburg.
4. Boston Conservatory
The school offers one of the best dance programs in the US Some of the top-notch artists that have been associated with the college as alumnus or guests are Antony Tudor, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, José Limón and Alvin Ailey. While there are many performance opportunities organized by the school throughout the year, the most notable one is a chance to perform as an affiliate of Boston Conservatory Dance Theater. As an aspiring dancer in the United States, there no better opportunity to break through to the world stage than working under Boston Conservatory Dance. A chance to join the college will be a gateway to the world scene of dance.
5. Northwestern University
Northwestern University of drama is one of the universities in the US where you are required to audition before admission. It is not a surprise that the acceptance rate for students who audition in the school stands around 8%—however, the few who succeed in the university go-ahead to have prosperous careers. The school’s notable alumnus includes Anna Gunn, David Schwimmer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Stephen Colbert. If you get a chance to pursue your dream career in the school, you will have many school-sponsored programs as well as student-run shows where you can showcase your talent.
6. UNC School of the Arts
UNC School of Arts is a perfect home for students looking to learn to take their drama and dance skills to the next level. The alumnus of the school has performed in stages such as American Bullet, the New York Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pacific North West Dance Company, America Dance, to name just a few. Others have shared a stage with renowned artists such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Janet Jackson. The school’s most noticeable alumnus are Mary-Louise Parker, Dane DeHaan, and Anthony Mackie. UNCSA also gives drama and dance students a chance to showcase their talent at Los Angeles and New York.
7. California Institute of the Arts
The school is ranked as the best musical theatre colleges in South Coast and one among the top in the US Unlike many music colleges out there, the school has a faculty that invites guest artists to the school. For instance, the latest visits include Benjamin Millepied and Gerard & Kelly. Some of the outstanding performance opportunities provided by the school to the students include America College Dance Festival. It has an international exchange program with Landon Contemporary Dance Center to allow students to get international dance experience. If you are a student looking to pursue acting on film or TV in the future, the school is a perfect fit for you. Some of its most notable alumni include Alison Brie, Ed Harris, and Don Cheadle.
8. Rutgers University
Rutgers University is another institution with a world-class dance and drama program. Its proximity to New York allows students to share a stage with some of the most celebrated artists in the world. The school has two international curricula, one in Landon and another in Israel. Its drama program is unique and all-rounded. Senior students in their third year have a chance to study in Landon, Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe. They will later return to the US for their final year. Some of the most famous alumni of the school include Calista Flockhart and Kristen Davis.
9. Fordham University
The famous school of dance is located in the Bronx. Stepping into this school is moving into a school that is rich in dance culture. Its partnership with Fordham and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gives students a chance to learn from the best. After graduation, outstanding students still have an opportunity to perfume with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Some, however, have gone ahead to work with prestigious dance companies such as Broadway. Some of its alumni include Anne Souder, Victoria Guajardo, and Ephraim Sykes.
Even though the school is known for its film program, it also has a fantastic drama program. The school is located right at the center of Los Angeles, the home of the film industry. Many artists based in Los Angeles work with students at the University of Southern California. The most recent artist to visit the school includes Bryan Cranston, Tony Shalhoub and Bryan Cranston. Unlike other colleges with fixed programs to offer students, the school has tailored programs to suit individual students. In addition to art, students also learn one or two in Medical Clowning and Stand Up Comedy. Famous alumnus that have gone through the school include Deborah Ann Woll, Beck Bennet, and Troian Bellisario,
11. Oklahoma City University
Last in our list of best musical theatre colleges in the USA at Oklahoma City University. One thing that stands out about the school is that it offers programs that focus on the American dance form. Some programs offered by the university include jazz, tap, and dance. Students may also choose to major in Management. Some of Oklahoma City University graduates preforming in Broadway include Sara Edwards and Marie Danvers. If you are looking to major in America Dance, the university would be an excellent fit for you.
As we look at the top musical theatres in the US, you must understand that our ranking is not based on facts but on people’s opinions. As mentioned, we looked at several factors, as discussed above, to come up with the list. We aim to help kick start your search for the best musical theatre colleges for yourself or your kid. We hope that in the list above, you found a college that will help you achieve your dreams. Also, note that apart from the list above, there are many more fantastic music & art colleges. The bottom line is that you should do your research thoroughly.