25 Best Musical Theatre Colleges in 2023

The stage is set, the curtain rises, and we present the definitive guide to the 25 best colleges for musical theater in 2023!

If your heart yearns for the spotlight, your voice craves the spotlight, and your feet dance to the rhythm of show tunes, then this is your golden ticket to discovering the finest institutions that will nurture your talent, polish your skills, and launch you towards the bright lights of Broadway and beyond.

From New York City’s vibrant theater district to the picturesque campuses of the West Coast, join us on a thrilling journey through the halls of higher education, where dreams take center stage and extraordinary performers are born.

Get ready to unlock the doors to your future as we unveil the most captivating and sought-after musical theatre programs of 2023.

Table of contents

25 Best Musical Theatre Colleges in 2023

#1. Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is renowned for its exceptional musical theatre program.

The musical theatre program at Carnegie Mellon offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. It provides comprehensive training in acting, singing, and dancing, focusing on preparing students for a career in Musical Theatre.

The curriculum emphasizes a balance between classroom instruction and practical experience. Students take a variety of courses covering acting, voice, movement, dance, music theory, and more. They also participate in numerous productions throughout their training, allowing them to apply their skills in real-world settings.

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#2. Juilliard School – New York City, New York, USA

The Juilliard School, located in New York City, is widely regarded as one of the premier performing arts institutions in the world. While Juilliard is primarily known for its programs in music and dance, it does not offer a specific musical theatre program. However, it does offer a Drama Division that provides a rigorous and comprehensive education in acting.

Juilliard’s Drama Division offers a highly selective and intensive four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program in acting. The program focuses on classical and contemporary theatre training, preparing students for a career in stage acting.

Students at Juilliard have numerous opportunities to showcase their talents through various performances. The Drama Division stages productions throughout the academic year, ranging from classical plays to contemporary works, providing students with valuable performance experience.

Juilliard’s reputation, distinguished faculty, and emphasis on artistic excellence have made it a highly sought-after institution for aspiring actors.

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#3. New York University Tisch School of the Arts – New York City, New York, USA

New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, located in New York City, is renowned for its arts programs, including its esteemed musical theatre training. NYU Tisch offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Drama specializing in musical Theatre.

The musical theatre program at NYU Tisch is designed to develop students’ skills in acting, voice, and dance. The curriculum includes courses in acting technique, musical theatre performance, voice and speech, music theory, dance technique, and more. Students also have opportunities to explore various styles of musical Theatre, including classical, contemporary, and experimental works.

Admission to NYU Tisch’s musical theatre program is highly competitive. Applicants must submit an application, academic transcripts, and letters of recommendation and participate in an audition process that typically includes performing monologues, songs, and a dance component.

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#4. Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) – London, United Kingdom

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), located in London, United Kingdom, is a prestigious institution renowned for training in various aspects of dramatic arts. While RADA primarily focuses on acting, it offers a specialized program in musical Theatre.

RADA’s musical theatre program offers numerous performance opportunities throughout the training period.

RADA has a rich history of producing successful actors and performers who have achieved recognition in the industry. Graduates of RADA’s musical theatre program have gone on to work in West End productions, national and international tours, and film and television projects.

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#5. Boston Conservatory at Berklee – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston Conservatory at Berklee, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is a leading institution for performing arts education and offers a highly regarded musical theatre program.

It features state-of-the-art facilities, including performance spaces, rehearsal studios, and specialized dance studios. These spaces support students’ artistic development and provide them with professional-grade resources. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

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#6. University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) – Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), located in Cincinnati, Ohio, is renowned for performing arts education and offers a highly regarded musical theatre program. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

CCM’s musical theatre program boasts a faculty of accomplished artists, experienced educators, and industry professionals. The faculty members bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to guide students in their artistic development and career preparation.

CCM’s musical theatre program graduates have achieved notable success in the industry. Many have performed on Broadway, national tours, regional theaters, and film and television. CCM’s alum network provides ongoing support and connections for students entering the professional world.

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#7. University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance – Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a prestigious institution with a renowned musical theatre program. The musical theatre program at the University of Michigan offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. It provides comprehensive training in acting, singing, and dancing, preparing students for careers in musical Theatre.

SMTD encourages collaborations across disciplines within the school.

Admission to the musical theatre program at SMTD is highly competitive. Prospective students must complete an audition process that typically includes performing monologues and songs and participating in a dance/movement assessment.

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#8. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, Indiana, USA

The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, is widely recognized for its exceptional music programs, including a musical theatre concentration within its Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s musical theatre program offers a comprehensive acting, singing, and dancing education. With its strong curriculum, experienced faculty, performance opportunities, and industry connections, the school provides students with a solid foundation to pursue successful careers in musical Theatre.

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#9. London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) – London, United Kingdom

The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) is a prestigious institution in London, United Kingdom, known for its comprehensive training in the performing arts. While LAMDA primarily focuses on acting, it also offers a musical theatre program.

LAMDA offers various performance opportunities for musical theatre students. They participate in productions and showcases throughout their training, providing them with valuable stage experience and the chance to showcase their skills.

LAMDA’s musical theatre college offers a comprehensive training program for aspiring musical theatre performers.

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#10. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) – Valencia, California, USA

The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), located in Valencia, California, is a renowned institution for the arts, including its musical theatre program. CalArts offers a comprehensive musical theatre program combining acting, singing, and dancing training. The program develops students’ artistic skills and fosters their creative voices.

CalArts provides students with numerous performance opportunities, both on-campus and in professional venues.

CalArts boasts a faculty of experienced artists and educators who bring knowledge and industry experience to the classroom. The faculty members provide individualized attention and mentorship to students, guiding them in their artistic growth and career aspirations.

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#11. Northwestern University School of Communication – Evanston, Illinois, USA

Northwestern University School of Communication, located in Evanston, Illinois, houses a highly regarded musical theatre program within its Department of Theatre. Northwestern’s musical theatre program offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing. The program aims to develop versatile performers who excel in all aspects of musical theatre.

Northwestern University’s location near Chicago provides students access to a vibrant theatre scene and numerous industry connections. The institution maintains relationships with local and national theatre companies, offering students internships, professional engagements, and networking opportunities. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

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#12. University of the Arts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a renowned institution dedicated to the arts, including its musical theatre program. The musical theatre curriculum at UArts covers various subjects essential to the field. Courses include acting technique, voice and speech, singing, dance (including ballet, jazz, and tap), musical theatre history, music theory, and more. The program integrates these disciplines to foster a holistic understanding of musical theatre performance.

A faculty of experienced professionals with substantial industry expertise teach the musical theatre program at UArts. The faculty members provide individualized attention and mentorship, guiding students in their artistic growth and career development.

UArts maintains strong connections to the performing arts industry, particularly in Philadelphia and beyond. The institution invites guest artists, industry professionals, and casting directors to work with students, conduct masterclasses, and offer valuable networking opportunities.

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#13. University of Southern California (USC) School of Dramatic Arts – Los Angeles, California, USA

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Dramatic Arts, located in Los Angeles, California, is a prestigious institution with a robust musical theatre program. USC’s School of Dramatic Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre with an emphasis on musical theatre. The program focuses on training students in acting, singing, and dancing, preparing them for careers in musical Theatre.

USC School of Dramatic Arts offers numerous performance opportunities for musical theatre students. They participate in mainstage productions, workshops, showcases, student-directed projects, and collaborative performances, providing them with valuable stage experience.

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#14. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Glasgow, Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow, Scotland, is a renowned institution for the performing arts, including its esteemed musical theatre program. The musical theatre curriculum at RCS covers various subjects essential to the field. Courses include acting technique, voice and speech, singing, dance (including ballet, jazz, and contemporary styles), musical theatre repertoire, music theory, and more. The program emphasizes integration and collaboration among these disciplines.

RCS provides students with numerous performance opportunities throughout their training. They participate in mainstage productions, showcases, industry performances, and collaborative projects, allowing them to gain practical experience and refine their skills in front of live audiences. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

Admission to the musical theatre program at RCS is competitive. Prospective students must undergo an audition process that typically includes performing monologues and songs and participating in a dance/movement assessment.

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#15. Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music – Berea, Ohio, USA

Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio, is recognized for its outstanding musical theatre program. The musical theatre curriculum at Baldwin Wallace University covers a wide range of subjects essential to the field.

The program provides a comprehensive education that combines classroom instruction with practical performance opportunities. Baldwin Wallace University offers numerous performance opportunities for musical theatre students. They participate in mainstage productions, studio productions, showcases, and workshops, allowing them to gain practical experience and refine their skills in front of live audiences.

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#16. Shenandoah University Conservatory – Winchester, Virginia, USA

Shenandoah University Conservatory, located in Winchester, Virginia, is renowned for its exceptional Musical Theatre College program. With a strong emphasis on artistic growth and performance excellence, Shenandoah University provides aspiring musical theatre artists with a comprehensive curriculum encompassing rigorous acting, singing, and dancing training.

Students can work closely with renowned faculty members who are industry professionals themselves, gaining valuable insights and mentorship. The Conservatory’s state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated rehearsal spaces, performance venues, and recording studios, create an immersive and conducive environment for students to hone their craft.

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#17. Otterbein University Department of Theatre and Dance – Westerville, Ohio, USA

In Westerville, Ohio, the Otterbein University Department of Theatre and Dance boasts a highly esteemed Musical Theatre College program. Recognized for its commitment to excellence in performance, Otterbein University provides students with a dynamic and immersive education in musical Theatre. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

The program offers a comprehensive curriculum encompassing intensive acting, singing, and dancing training, empowering students to become versatile and well-rounded performers. Under the guidance of experienced faculty members and industry professionals, students at Otterbein University receive personalized attention and mentorship, fostering their artistic growth and development.

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#18. Oklahoma City University – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Oklahoma City University, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is renowned for its exceptional musical theatre college program. With a rich history and a strong reputation in the performing arts, Oklahoma City University offers aspiring musical theatre artists a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum. The program emphasizes the development of well-rounded performers through intensive training in acting, singing, and dancing, allowing students to refine their skills and explore their artistic potential.

Students at Oklahoma City University work closely with experienced faculty members who bring a wealth of professional expertise and industry connections to the table, providing valuable mentorship and guidance.

The university’s state-of-the-art facilities, including specialized rehearsal spaces, performance venues, and recording studios, create an immersive and supportive environment for students to thrive. Additionally, Oklahoma City University’s proximity to vibrant arts communities, such as Oklahoma City’s thriving theater scene, offers students opportunities to engage with professional productions and gain practical experience.

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#19. Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts – Chicago, Illinois, USA

Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, located in the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, is a distinguished institution renowned for its exceptional musical theatre college program. With a strong focus on artistic growth, professional development, and social justice, the college offers students a comprehensive curriculum that combines rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing.

Under the guidance of experienced faculty members and seasoned industry professionals, Roosevelt University students gain invaluable knowledge and mentorship. The college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its efforts to reflect the multicultural landscape of the performing arts, providing students with a well-rounded education that embraces different perspectives and experiences.

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#20. Texas State University School of Theatre and Dance – San Marcos, Texas, USA

The Texas State University School of Theatre and Dance, situated in the picturesque city of San Marcos, Texas, is renowned for its exceptional musical theatre college program. With a commitment to artistic excellence and a comprehensive curriculum, the school offers aspiring musical theatre artists a nurturing and immersive educational experience.

Students at Texas State University receive rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing, preparing them to become versatile and skilled performers. The faculty, composed of accomplished professionals in the field, provides students personalized guidance and mentorship, fostering their artistic growth and development.

The school’s state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated rehearsal spaces, performance venues, and recording studios, create an ideal environment for students to refine their craft and showcase their talents. It is one of the best colleges for musical Theatre.

Moreover, the school’s strategic location near Austin, a hub for arts and entertainment, offers students abundant opportunities to engage with the vibrant performing arts scene and gain practical experience. With its commitment to artistic innovation and a collaborative approach to learning, the Texas State University School of Theatre and Dance stands as a premier institution for aspiring musical theatre artists.

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#21. Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Point Park University, Conservatory of Performing Arts, located in the vibrant city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is widely recognized for its outstanding musical theatre college program. With a strong emphasis on practical training and experiential learning, the Conservatory offers students a comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare them for successful careers in musical Theatre.

Under the guidance of experienced faculty members who are industry professionals, students at Point Park University receive personalized attention and mentorship, enabling them to develop their skills and artistic voice. It is one of the best colleges for Musical Theatre.

The Conservatory’s state-of-the-art facilities, including well-equipped studios, performance spaces, and a dedicated theatre complex, provide students with the ideal environment to grow as performers.

Additionally, the institution’s proximity to Pittsburgh’s thriving art scene offers students numerous opportunities for hands-on experience, including collaborations with professional theaters and companies.

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#22. Syracuse University Department of Drama – Syracuse, New York, USA

The Syracuse University Department of Drama, located in Syracuse, New York, is renowned for its exceptional musical theatre college program. The department’s strong commitment to artistic excellence and comprehensive curriculum offers students a transformative and immersive educational experience.

Students at Syracuse University receive rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing, preparing them to become versatile and dynamic performers. The department’s faculty comprises accomplished professionals and industry experts who provide students personalized mentorship and guidance, fostering their artistic growth and development.

The department’s state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated rehearsal spaces, performance venues, and recording studios, create an ideal environment for students to refine their craft and showcase their talents.

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#23. University of Minnesota Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The University of Minnesota Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a prestigious musical theatre college program that offers aspiring performers a comprehensive and rigorous education.

In collaboration with the renowned Guthrie Theater, this program combines the expertise of experienced faculty and the professional resources of the theater to create a dynamic learning environment. Students in the program receive intensive training in acting, singing, and dancing, enabling them to develop a strong foundation of skills and techniques.

The program’s curriculum emphasizes a holistic approach to training, encompassing performance skills and the exploration of dramatic literature, theater history, and collaborative processes. Through immersive experiences and practical opportunities, such as working alongside industry professionals in mainstage productions, students gain valuable real-world experience.

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#24. Montclair State University Department of Theatre and Dance – Montclair, New Jersey, USA

The Montclair State University Department of Theatre and Dance, located in Montclair, New Jersey, is highly regarded for its exceptional musical theatre college program. The department’s commitment to artistic excellence and comprehensive curriculum offers students a transformative and immersive educational experience.

Students at Montclair State University receive rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing, equipping them with the skills necessary to excel in Musical theatre. The department’s distinguished faculty, consisting of experienced professionals and industry experts, provide students with personalized mentorship and guidance, nurturing their artistic growth and development.

The department’s state-of-the-art facilities, including well-equipped studios, performance spaces, and a dedicated theatre complex, create an ideal environment for students to refine their craft and showcase their talents. Additionally, Montclair State University’s strategic location near New York City offers students access to a vibrant theatre scene, allowing them to engage with industry professionals and gain practical experience.

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#25. University of Central Florida Conservatory Theatre – Orlando, Florida, USA

The University of Central Florida Conservatory Theatre, located in the bustling city of Orlando, Florida, is renowned for its outstanding musical theatre college program. With a strong emphasis on artistic excellence and practical training, the Conservatory offers students a comprehensive and immersive educational experience.

The program provides rigorous training in acting, singing, and dancing, preparing students to become versatile and skilled performers in the world of Musical theatre. The Conservatory’s faculty comprises accomplished professionals and industry experts who provide students with personalized mentorship and guidance, fostering their artistic growth and development.

The Conservatory’s state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated rehearsal spaces, performance venues, and a technologically state-of-the-art black box theater, provide students an ideal environment to cultivate their talents.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How were the 25 Best Musical Theatre Colleges in 2023 selected?

The selection process involved thorough research and analysis of various factors, including reputation, faculty expertise, alum success, curriculum quality, performance opportunities, industry connections, and student satisfaction.

Are these colleges only located in the United States?

While most of the colleges on the list are based in the United States, a few international institutions have also earned recognition for their exceptional musical theatre programs. The list reflects a diverse range of colleges worldwide, offering aspiring performers multiple options for pursuing their dreams.

Can students apply for scholarships or financial aid at these colleges?

Yes, most colleges on the list provide scholarship and financial aid opportunities to eligible students. Each institution has its specific criteria and application process for scholarships, so prospective students must explore the financial aid options available at their chosen colleges.

Is having prior experience in musical Theatre necessary to apply to these colleges? 

While prior experience in musical Theatre can undoubtedly be beneficial, it is not always a requirement for admission. Many colleges value potential and passion, and they provide training and guidance to students who strongly desire to pursue musical Theatre as a career. Each college has its admission requirements, so reviewing their guidelines is recommended to understand the expectations.

Can these colleges help students connect with industry professionals and land performance opportunities? 

Absolutely! One of the significant advantages of attending these top musical theatre colleges is the extensive network of industry professionals and alumni connections they offer.

Conclusion

From the rigorous training programs to the cutting-edge facilities, each college on this prestigious list has demonstrated its commitment to shaping the next generation of musical theatre stars. Whether you dream of belting out show-stopping numbers or dazzling audiences with your impeccable dance moves, these colleges offer the perfect platforms to hone your craft and elevate your artistry.

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References

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