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Top Musical Theatre Programs: Penn State University

Updated: Jan 10




Meet the Programs: Penn State University's BFA in Musical Theatre


Penn State University offers an intensive BFA in Musical Theatre program, known for its pre-professional training and successful alumni working across the country and the world. The program is housed in the College of Arts & Architecture and aims to prepare students for the complexities of the professional world of musical theatre.


Program Highlights:

  • Curriculum: The program focuses on training in singing, dancing, and acting, with a curriculum that includes courses in jazz dance, advanced tap, and ballet, among others. The program also incorporates General Education courses to foster intellectual curiosity and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation.

  • Learning Outcomes: The program aims to train students comprehensively in each component area – singing, dancing, acting – and promote a "total human" approach to musical theatre work.

  • Faculty: The faculty includes experienced professionals and artists dedicated to both the profession and academia. John Simpkins, the Head of Musical Theatre, along with other faculty members, play a crucial role in student development.

  • Audition Process: Auditions are a significant part of the admission process, with auditions held in various locations including University Park, PA, New York, NY, and Chicago, IL. The program provides detailed guidelines for preparing audition materials, emphasizing the selection of age-appropriate and passionate pieces.


Audition Tips:

  • Preparation: Candidates are advised to carefully prepare their audition materials, choosing songs and monologues that fit their age bracket and experience.

  • Song Selection: Audition songs should demonstrate contrasting aspects of performance capabilities, with one song written before the 1970s.

  • Rehearsal: Rehearsing with someone who can play the music for the provided accompanist is recommended, as singing with an accompanist for the first time during an audition can be challenging.


After Graduation:

The program boasts a strong network of alumni who have found success in Broadway productions, national touring productions, and in television and film.


For more detailed information about the program, including specific course requirements and academic advising, visit Penn State's Musical Theatre BFA.

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