The Top 10 Musical Theatre Colleges In the Country

5. Boston Conservatory at Berklee (Boston, MA)

Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Even before Boston Conservatory merged with Berklee College of Music, it was widely considered one of the top musical theatre programs in the United States.

Boston Conservatory represents a unique opportunity for the aspiring musical theatre artist to study at a conservatory-only program. Whereas all of the other schools on this list are based in major universities, Boston Conservatory’s program focus is solely performance, helping students get accepted to the top places in their industry.

Boston Conservatory is a relatively large program for musical theatre – 280 undergraduates, or about 70 students a class, enroll into the program. With 75 faculty, the student:teacher ratio is a very favorable 4:1.

Despite having more students, the program is quite competitive, receiving many hundreds of applications a year.

Students of the program enjoy a vast network of connections to draw upon in the greater Boston area, once of the fine arts epicenters of the country comprised of theatres, symphonies, museums, and more.

Alumni include Hayley Podschun, who has performed on Broadway in Hairspray, Josh Grisetti, a season Broadway and television actor, and even Katherine McPhee, a former American Idol contestant and chart-topping pop star.

4. University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH)

University of Cincinnati
Andrew Higley/University of Cincinnati, UofCincy, CC BY-SA 4.0

Cincinnati is home to the oldest musical theatre program in the country. Its reputation is outstanding, accepting only about 20 students each year with over 1,000 applicants. 

Astonishingly, the school stages five fully produced musicals per season across three different stages.

In these musicals, students learn not only how to act and sing, but also to dance, choreograph, produce, light, and market their shows.

It is because of these skills that Cincinnati alumni are frequently placed into Broadway. In 2019, Cincinnati is the sixth most-represented school on Broadway.

In 2017, an alum of Cincinnati’s musical theatre program was rated the Star Of The Year by This student is Christy Altomare, who is perhaps most famous for playing Anastasia in the musical of the same name.

Other alumni are currently acting, at the time of this writing, in Hamilton, Cats, Waitress, and dozens of other top shows.

3. New York University (New York, NY)

NYC Aerial View
JaxsonD, A view of New York City with the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center from the Rockefeller Center, CC BY-SA 4.0

NYU is home to two musical theatre programs – one in their Tisch school, and one in their Steinhardt school.

Both are top-tier, but there are a few differences between the two.

Steinhardt awards a BMus, while Tisch offers a BFA. This means that Steinhardt’s curriculum has more music credits than acting, where Tisch offers more acting credits than Steinhardt.

Technically, the Steinhardt program is a Vocal Performance degree with an emphasis in musical theatre.

Both are prestigious and very competitive for admission.

Faculty in both programs are among New York’s most accomplished professionals. They have performed in Broadway, major opera halls, and throughout the entire world.

NYU is the #1 most represented school on Broadway in terms of actively performing alumni. This is due not only to the excellent training, but also the relatively larger number of graduates of the program.

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