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M.F.A. in Theatre

Perform. Grow. Inspire.
Direct your future.

The theatre has become your home and you’re ready to take the next step. Earning an M.F.A. in Theatre at Penn State will build upon what you have learned and help you to grow into the artist you dream of becoming. Our world-class faculty is ready to help you advance your career and discover your artistic voice with highly specialized instruction tailored to your goals. Our M.F.A. degree includes programs in theatre design and technology, directing for musical theatre, and music directing for musical theatre.


Program Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for AY 2023–24 is January 15, 2023.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.

For candidates participating in the URTA interview process, we abide by the offer/acceptance timeline laid out in the URTA materials.


Earn an M.F.A. in Theatre at Penn State

The next chapter of your theatre story is waiting to be written. Stay in the spotlight and take your career to another level.

Our M.F.A in Theatre program has proven to be an incubator for elite theatre talent. By offering a wide range of degree concentrations, Penn State is a place where you will have room to grow as an artist while being part of one of the most respected theatre programs in the country.

Graduate students enrolled in our M.F.A. in Theatre program focus on theatre design and technology, directing for musical theatre, or music directing for musical theatre.

The highly specialized theatre design and technology concentration offers students the opportunity to focus on costume design, costume technology, or scenic design.

If a career in directing musical theatre is in your future, our highly competitive and groundbreaking directing and music directing for musical theatre programs offer training from industry leaders that will prepare you to be a uniquely skilled director in the evolving musical theatre landscape.

All of our degree concentrations offer various professional production opportunities and collaborative educational experiences with established theatre professionals that will help you to hone your skills while making invaluable connections to the industry.

Application Procedures

MFA-Costume Design

The Penn State School of Theatre will be accepting applications for candidacy in the MFA in Costume Design beginning Fall of 2023 for admission to the 2024-2025 academic year.

It is possible to begin study in this graduate program only in even numbered years. Applications are accepted starting in autumn of the year prior to the commencement of study.

Applicants may apply to this program either directly to the School of Theatre or through URTA.

There are several steps that need to be followed in applying to our costume design program.

For non-URTA applications please include the following in an application packet:

  • A portfolio of examples of your design or production work. The work you send can be either a traditional print portfolio or a digital portfolio such as a link to a webpage or a pdf.
  • A copy of your current transcript.
  • A resumé

After reviewing these materials, if it looks like you are a good match for our program, we then schedule a Zoom interview. After the Zoom interview, if we are still a program of interest to you then we arrange a visit to campus. This gives us a chance to meet you personally and to answer all your questions. You can also meet our current graduate students, sit in on some classes, and perhaps see a show. We hope to provide as complete an experience of our program as possible to determine if we are a good match for your educational and training goals. After the campus visit, if we both decide that Penn State is the right program for you, then we will make an offer for admission. Application deadline is January 15, and acceptance is typically required prior to April 15.

Please send these materials to: Richard St. Clair, Head MFA-Costume Design rhs18@psu.edu

If you are an URTA candidate, the Chicago or on-line interview fulfills the portfolio component of our admission process. For these candidates, we abide by the offer/acceptance timeline laid out in the URTA materials.

MFA-Costume Production

The Penn State School of Theatre will be accepting applications for candidacy in the MFA in Costume Production beginning Fall of 2023 for admission to the 2024-2025 academic year.

It is possible to begin study in this graduate program only in odd numbered years. Applications are accepted starting in autumn of the year prior to the commencement of study.

Applicants may apply to this program either directly to the School of Theatre or through URTA.

There are several steps that need to be followed in applying to our costume production program.

For non-URTA applications please include the following in an application packet:

  • A portfolio of examples of your design or production work. The work you send can be either a traditional print portfolio or a digital portfolio such as a link to a webpage or a pdf.
  • A copy of your current transcript.
  • A resumé

After reviewing these materials, if it looks like you are a good match for our program, we then schedule a Zoom interview. After the Zoom interview, if we are still a program of interest to you then we arrange a visit to campus. This gives us a chance to meet you personally and to answer all your questions. You can also meet our current graduate students, sit in on some classes, and perhaps see a show. We hope to provide as complete an experience of our program as possible to determine if we are a good match for your educational and training goals. After the campus visit, if we both decide that Penn State is the right program for you, then we will make an offer for admission. Application deadline is January 15, and acceptance is typically required prior to April 15.

Please send these materials to: Laura Robinson, Head MFA-Costume Production lkr13@psu.edu

If you are an URTA candidate, the Chicago or on-line interview fulfills the portfolio component of our admission process. For these candidates, we abide by the offer/acceptance timeline laid out in the URTA materials.

MFA-Directing for Musical Theatre

The Penn State School of Theatre will be accepting applications for candidacy in the MFA in Directing for Musical Theatre program beginning Fall of 2023 for admission to the 2024-2025 academic year.

It is possible to begin study in this graduate program only in even numbered years. Applications are accepted starting in autumn of the year prior to the commencement of study.

Applicants may apply to this program either directly to the School of Theatre or through URTA.

If applying directly, please include the following in your packet:

  • Letter of Intent, no more than three pages in length, discussing your reason for applying to the program at PSU and your goals and aspirations for residency.
  • Résumé
  • Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate institution. Should you be accepted into the program, you will be required to have an official transcript sent to the graduate school at Penn State.
Please send these materials digitally as a pdf to: Rick Lombardo, Co-Head MFA in Directing for the Musical Theatre rjl360@psu.edu

 

Please be aware that the deadline for applications is January 15th, 2023.

For candidates participating in the URTA interview process, we abide by the offer/acceptance timeline laid out in the URTA materials.

MFA-Music Directing

The Penn State School of Theatre will be accepting applications for candidacy in the MFA in Music Directing program beginning Fall of 2023 for admission to the 2024-2025 academic year.

It is possible to begin study in this graduate program only in even numbered years. Applications are accepted starting in autumn of the year prior to the commencement of study.

The School of Theatre at Penn State offers graduate training in music directing for the musical theatre. This unique Master of Fine Arts degree program is the only one of its kind in the United States. Two music directing candidates are admitted every other recruiting year.

Please include the following in your packet:

  • Letter of Intent, no more than three pages in length, discussing your reason for applying to the program at PSU and your goals and aspirations for residency.
  • Résumé
  • Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate institution. Should you be accepted into the program, you will be required to have an official transcript sent to the graduate school at Penn State.
Please send these materials digitally as a pdf to: David Wolfson, Head MFA-Music Directing djw6402@psu.edu

MFA-Scenic Design

Applicants may apply to this program either directly to the School of Theatre or through URTA.

There are several steps that need to be followed in applying to our scenic design program.

For non-URTA applications please include the following in an application packet:

  • A portfolio of examples of your design or production work. The work you send can be either a traditional print portfolio or a digital portfolio such as a link to a webpage or a pdf.
  • A copy of your current transcript.
  • A resumé

After reviewing these materials, if it looks like you are a good match for our program, we then schedule a Zoom interview. After the Zoom interview, if we are still a program of interest to you then we arrange a visit to campus. This gives us a chance to meet you personally and to

answer all your questions. You can also meet our current graduate students, sit in on some classes, and perhaps see a show. We hope to provide as complete an experience of our program as possible to determine if we are a good match for your educational and training goals. After the campus visit, if we both decide that Penn State is the right program for you, then we will make an offer for admission. Application deadline is January 15, and acceptance is typically required prior to April 15.

Please send these materials to: Daniel Robinson, Head MFA-Scenic Design dir2@psu.edu

If you are an URTA candidate, the Chicago or on-line interview fulfills the portfolio component of our admission process. For these candidates, we abide by the offer/acceptance timeline laid out in the URTA materials.

Graduate Faculty

Photo of Steve Broadnax

Steve Broadnax

MFA, Prof. of Theatre; Co-Head MFA in Directing


Portrait of Penn State School of Theatre Professor William Doan

William Doan

PHD, Prof. of Theatre and Women’s Studies


Charlene Gross

Charlene Gross

MFA, Assistant Prof. of Theatre


Penn State Associate Professor of Theatre Jeanmarie Higgins

Jeanmarie Higgins

PHD, Associate Prof. of Theatre


William Kenyon's headshot

William Kenyon

MFA, Associate Prof. of Theatre


Headshot of Penn State Director of School of Theatre Rick Lombardo

Rick Lombardo

MFA, Prof. of Practice; Co-Head MFA in Directing


Milagros Ponce de Leon; image credit Roderick Mccladdie-Mcleod

Milagros Ponce De Leon

MFA, Associate Prof. of Theatre


Daniel Robinson

MFA, Prof. of Theatre; Head of MFA in Scenic Design


Laura Robinson

MFA, Assistant Teaching Professor; Head MFA in Costume Production


Headshot of Penn State Associate Professor of Theatre Susan Russell

Susan Russell

PHD, Associate Prof. of Theatre


Raymond Sage

Raymond Sage

MMUS, Associate Professor


Susan Schulman

MFA, Prof. of Theatre


Photo of John Simpkins

John Simpkins

MA, Prof. of Theatre


Photo of Steve Synder

Steve Snyder

MFA, Associate Prof. of Theatre


Richard St. Clair

MFA, Associate Prof. of Theatre; Head of MFA Costume Design


 

Assistantships

Graduate students pursuing an MFA in Theatre typically attend with a full tuition waiver and a graduate assistantship. The assistantship is 1⁄2 time (20 hours per week) and includes a stipend of approximately $20,000 per academic year (Fall and Spring semesters). The assistantship also includes a generous health insurance subsidy. Under assistantship, the student works either in production, teaching and/or assistant-teaching undergraduate classes, or as an accompanist. The duration of an assistantship is three academic years, contingent upon satisfactory progress. This financial offer constitutes approximately $150,000 of investment in each graduate student’s education

Graduate Handbook

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Is an M.F.A. in Theatre right for you?

The M.F.A in Theatre program is one of the most unique and well-respected theatre education programs in the country that consistently exists as a conduit to Broadway and beyond.

Collaboration is at the core of the educational experience at Penn State, as evident in our assistantship opportunities. The program’s wholistic approach to developing artists and acts as a model for modern theatre education.

The strength of the three-year graduate training programs lies within our students who are committed to growth, accept challenges, and are eager to perform in a program that encompasses both rigorous classwork and demanding production experience.

M.F.A. Theatre student showcasing his costume design work.
Stage and lighting scene rehearsal for the play Albatross.

Degree Options

Our goal is to develop well-rounded theatre professionals, critical thinkers, and collaborative artists who bring artistry and technology together, and have the skills to succeed in today’s job market.

Explore the M.F.A. degree concentrations housed within the Design + Technology, Directing and Music Directing program options.

Design + Technology (Scene, Costume)

Design + Technology

The strength of our design and technical programs lies in our students who are committed to growth, who accept challenge, and who are eager to perform in a program that encompasses both rigorous class work and demanding production experience. Students who leave Penn State with the M.F.A. degree are well prepared to launch their professional careers.

Students in design (scenic, costume) and technology (costume) have, as a common academic core, background and enrichment courses in theatre literature and production. In addition to intensive and extensive course work in the chosen area of emphasis, it is critical for the M.F.A. candidate to have sufficient course work in design and technical areas outside the area of specialization to ensure the capability of understanding and contributing to the collaborative production process.

Degree Options

Scenic Design

The Scenic Design option balances focused studio training with practical design experience. Students take course work in design and related graphic areas such as figure drawing, scene painting, 3D CAD, and presentation techniques, with particular emphasis placed on integrating contemporary digital techniques into the design process. Instruction in projection and digital media is also possible in our individually focused curriculum.  Students also receive a strong core education in dramatic literature and theory, and period styles

The School of Theatre houses three theatres where we annually produce shows in a wide variety of dramatic styles and historic periods. Student design work is present in virtually all productions. Dan Robinson is the head of the program.

  • Highly individualized three-year studio training in traditional and contemporary design presentation techniques
  • Outstanding teacher/student ratio
  • Mainstage design opportunities in area of concentration
  • Collaborate with directors of diverse backgrounds and approaches, including professional guest directors
  • Program is tailored to each student’s individual interests and abilities
  • Career planning and preparation
  • Course work and technical training available in disciplines outside of student’s main area of concentration
  • Study in theatre literature, history, and pedagogy
  • Focus on text analysis and applicable design responses
  • Opportunities for teaching undergraduate classes in areas of expertise
  • Full tuition and stipend for all admitted graduate students

Costume Design

A studio setting supports the instruction of design with supplemental work in figure drawing, presentation techniques, computer graphics, website design, and the logistics of entering the profession. Design curriculum is enhanced by a rotation of costume technology classes, as well as a core education in dramatic literature and theory, and fashion history.  Students work closely with faculty and guest artists designing and mounting their work in three distinctive theatrical venues supported by a professional staff. The flexibility of programming and personal faculty attention to each student allows the ability to explore areas of special and individualized interest. Richard St. Clair is the head of the program.

  • Highly individualized three-year studio training and mentorship in traditional and contemporary design techniques
  • Full tuition and stipend for all admitted graduate students
  • Realized production and design opportunities in straight theatre and/or musical theatre
  • Collaborate with directors of diverse backgrounds and approaches
  • Every program is tailored to each student’s interests and abilities
  • Outstanding teacher/student ratio
  • Career planning and preparation all three years through close mentorship
  • Training in both costume design and costume technology
  • Study in theatre literature, history, and pedagogy
  • Opportunities for teaching undergraduate classes in areas of expertise

Costume Production

Penn States MFA in Costume Production is a specialized option that trains students to take the designers visions and create them in three-dimensional form. This professional degree synthesizes the abstract skills of design with the techniques of pattern and costume making and the challenges of the body in action. We offer foundational classes in flat pattern, draping on the stand, corsetry and false silhouettes, period pattern development, and couture sewing methods. Students are taught in a multi-year studio environment where newer students learn not only from their instructors but also their peers. This environment creates a community of support that our students take into the workplace when they leave. We stress collaboration and creative problem solving and promote self-reflection and development of sound process.

The program is rigorous with practical courses but also includes a significant component of literary and criticism studies including classes in Pedagogy, Dramaturgy, and Theatre of the Americas. It is the belief of the faculty that any student of the theatre, whether they are a maker or performer, benefits from a sound basis in research and critical thinking skills.

Finally, what sets Penn States program apart is its expertise in Menswear. Tailoring is stressed equally with dressmaking and our students learn proportional period patterning and construction methods for period menswear. This includes understanding of proper silhouette of different periods and how to achieve it, construction techniques for menswear from fall fronts to jodhpurs, and the proper fitting aesthetic for tailored clothes. It is our belief that a well-trained costume production student should be a multi-tasker; able to create a beautiful dress for the debutante but also tailor the suit for her suitor.

The program admits two to three students per year on an alternating year basis. For more information on this program including application process and portfolio requirements, please contact Laura Robinson, Head of Costume Production – lkr13@psu.edu


Degree Program Structure

Designers and technicians work closely with directors and actors in their corresponding M.F.A. programs. Collaboration is taught in the classroom and fostered in the production program

Each degree program is taught by professionally working faculty and is specifically dedicated to individual student development and professional training leading to employment. In addition to course work in the academic core and in emphasis-related classes, students are given challenging production assignments appropriate to their areas of interest each semester. Scenic, costume, and lighting designers are expected to design at least one major production in each of the school’s major production facilities: The Playhouse, a 450-seat proscenium theatre, the Pavilion, a 300-seat arena/thrust theatre, and the Downtown Theatre, a 150 seat jewel box proscenium theatre.

Production Opportunities

As audience members, our students have access to one of the oldest University-based performing arts series in the country, and as production students, they can work with professional touring companies in the 2,600-seat Milton S. Eisenhower Auditorium, the 900-seat Schwab Auditorium, or in the 16,000-seat Bryce Jordan Center, which hosts major rock concerts and large public events. Penn State’s public broadcast studio, WPSX-TV, may provide Penn State Centre Stage, a resident regional summer theatre on the Penn State University Park campus, offers employment opportunities to qualified students, who work with professional designers, cutters, technicians, painters, sound specialists, hair designers, and directors from all over the country.

Faculty

Practical experience and work with a professional faculty are strengths of the Penn State Theatre program. In addition, professional designers, technicians, and craftspeople are often brought in to augment faculty expertise. These visiting artists design productions, give lectures, conduct workshops, hold seminars, and sometimes design specialized portions of shows, such as sound and special effects. Whatever their mission, they always work closely with students, consulting and critiquing work in progress. Students work as assistants to visiting artists, gaining invaluable experience and contacts and the potential for professional work after graduation.

Facilities

The Theatre Arts Production Studios (TAPS) are among the most comprehensive teaching and production facilities in the country. They include classrooms, a rigging and automation laboratory, studios for scenery construction, painting, properties, a costume construction studio and costume stock. A sound and media convergence laboratory and lighting laboratory are housed across campus in the Visual Arts Building. The Theatre Building houses the Playhouse Theatre, acting and design studios, classrooms and a historic fashion archive. A major collection of historic lighting equipment is stored in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Professional Liaison

When M.F.A. students finish their programs at Penn State, they are trained practitioners with solid backgrounds combining experience and theory, ready to move into the professional theatre and the performing arts. Many have gone on to become nationally recognized in their fields. Among our graduates are Broadway and off-Broadway designers, designers in major commercial entertainment firms, design assistants, and technicians. Our students’ names frequently scroll on television and film credits. Graduates are in place as designers, technical directors, cutters, assistants, property artists, and painters in major regional and university theatres. The broader Penn State network includes working actors, directors, and producers trained with the same care and attention to professional development as are designers and technicians. In moving beyond the academy and into the larger world of theatre, Penn State graduates find a constant and growing professional resource in alumni and guest artists who have worked in Penn State theatres.

Admission

There are several steps that need to be followed in order to apply to our design program. First, we ask that you send us examples of your design work and a copy of your current transcript. This will allow us to get to know you and your work, and to determine if you are a good candidate for our program. The work that you send can be either print or digital such as a link to a webpage or a pdf or power-point portfolio. If we think you might be a good match for our program, we will ask that you come to campus for a visit. This give us a chance to meet you personally and to answer all your questions. You can also see our facilities, meet our current graduate students and sit in on some classes. We hope to provide as complete an experience of our program as is possible in order for you to determine if we are a good program for your own training goals. After the campus visit, if we both decide that Penn State is a good match for you, then we will make an offer for admission. We tell all prospective students to wait until you have our formal offer before you submit an application. This limits the cost of the application fee to only the students we would make offers to. There is no deadline for application as we will continue the process for as long as it takes to fill our available assistantships. For URTA candidates, the URTA interview takes the place of sending us a portfolio and transcript, as these are both part of the URTA interview process.


For more information contact:

Scenic Design:
Dan Robinson
Head of Scenic Design
School of Theatre
The Pennsylvania State University
116 Theatre Building
University Park PA 16802
(814) 863-8591
email: DIR2@PSU.EDU

Costume Design
Richard St. Clair
Head of Costume Design
School of Theatre
The Pennsylvania State University
116 Theatre Building
University Park PA 16802
814-863-6739
email: RHS18@PSU.EDU

Costume Production
Laura Robinson
Head of Costume Production
School of Theatre
The Pennsylvania State University
116 Theatre Building
University Park PA 16802
814-865-2684
email:  LKR13@PSU.EDU

Directing

Applying:

The applicants will be considered for admission beginning in the Fall of 2023.

The School of Theatre at Penn State offers graduate training in directing for the musical theatre stage. This unique Master of Fine Arts degree program combines traditional director training with the special tools needed for directing in the professional musical theatre.

Co-Heads of Directing for Musical Theatre:
Steve Broadnax III and Rick Lombardo.

Contact: rjl360@psu.edu 

Please include the following in your packet:

  • Letter of Intent, no more than three pages in length, discussing your reason for applying to the program at PSU and your goals and aspirations for residency.
  • Résumé
  • Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate institution. Should you be accepted into the program, you will be required to have an official transcript sent to the graduate school at Penn State.

Please send these materials digitally as a pdf to:            MFADirectingApplicationsPSU@gmail.com

Please be aware that the deadline for applications is January 15, 2023.

Program Overview

The School of Theatre at Penn State offers graduate training in directing for the musical theatre stage. This unique three-year Master of Fine Arts degree program combines traditional director training with the special tools needed for directing in the professional musical theatre. Integrated into the School’s other MFA programs and its nationally recognized Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program, the applicant will train with acting, dance, voice, and design faculty. The degree candidate will direct a minimum of five projects including a fully mounted thesis production. Additional opportunities include a semester internship with a director of a professional Musical Theatre production.

We believe that a student learns to direct by directing. With a small enrollment every other year, the directing program emphasizes constant practical directing experience. Further, learning to direct in musical theatre requires a solid foundation in directing non-musical plays, acting, and dramatic analysis. Ultimately, a director must be prepared to stand alone — to survive, to make a statement, to share a vision, to challenge the conventional, to create exciting and stimulating theatre.

Believing that theatre functions as an artistic ensemble in which the director serves as a creative leader, we train directors who are collaborators. The faculty works much the same way, providing the student director with diverse input while sharing a common belief in what constitutes quality theatre. Graduate directors will work closely with musical theatre faculty, performance faculty, and design faculty. The director training program emphasizes preparation for work in the professional musical theatre where the broadest spectrum of training and experience is necessary. The program offers a balance between seminars, tutorials, classes, studios, projects, and production assignments.

Structure

The first year of training focuses on process — play selection, text analysis, casting, rehearsal methods, and working with actors. Directors take two directing courses, two years of theatrical literature research/seminar courses, a costume history course, and direct at least two studio projects. They also take the first semester of graduate acting studio. Most material in the first year centers on contemporary American and British realism and includes staging for the proscenium, arena and thrust. The first-year director also serves as assistant director on a mainstage production directed by faculty or professional guest artists.

The second year of training emphasizes the visual aspects of production and directing for the musical theatre stage. Students also have an opportunity to continue their studies in dance and/or voice. During the second year the graduate director directs at least two projects, a one act musical and another studio project TBD. Projects increase in length, complexity, and production values during the course of the training, and the faculty adviser serves as a mentor for each project. Directing students enjoy access at all times to the expertise of the entire professional faculty for assistance in vocal and dialect coaching, fight choreography, dramaturgical advice, and other aspects of directing.

One semester of the third year centers on directing a fully mounted musical theatre production, and one semester offers an internship with a professional director in the Broadway, Off Broadway or Regional arena.

Assistantship

Graduate Directors serve as Teaching Assistants in Theatre 100 and in several of the BFA musical theatre performance classes.

Class Size and Candidate Profile
Two directing candidates are admitted each recruiting year depending upon the quality of applicants and availability of assistantship support. Enrollment is small to in order to provide student directors with an appropriate number of actors, faculty guidance, and production facilities. Because directing students impact and interact with all areas in the School of Theatre, prospective candidates must possess both maturity and directorial credits beyond the classroom or lab theatre level. The applicant should possess a substantial professional and/or academic musical theatre background. Candidates with dance and choreographic background should also feel encouraged to apply. For more information contact rjl360@psu.edu

Music Directing

Applying:

It is possible to begin study in this graduate program only in even numbered years. Applications are accepted starting in autumn of the year prior to the commencement of study.

Current applicants will be considered for admission beginning in the Fall of 2023 for the 2024-2025 school year.

The School of Theatre at Penn State offers graduate training in music directing for the musical theatre. This unique Master of Fine Arts degree program is the only one of its kind in the United States. Two music directing candidates are admitted every other recruiting year.

Please include the following in your packet:

  • Letter of Intent, no more than three pages in length, discussing your reason for applying to the program at PSU and your goals and aspirations for residency.
  • Résumé
  • Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate institution. Should you be accepted into the program, you will be required to have an official transcript sent to the graduate school at Penn State.

Please send these materials digitally as a pdf to: David Wolfson, Head MFA in Music Directing djw6402@psu.edu

Please be aware that the deadline for applications is January 15, 2023.

Program Overview

The School of Theatre at Penn State offers graduate training in music directing for the musical theatre stage. This unique three-year Master of Fine Arts degree program focuses on the broad array of skills and tools needed for music directing in the professional musical theatre. Integrated into the School’s other MFA programs and its nationally recognized Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program, the degree candidate will gain experience in rehearsing with actors and musicians and collaboration with directors and sound designers; in dramaturgical/musical score and scene analysis; in conducting from both the podium and the keyboard; and in the various aspects of music preparation and production, including arranging, orchestration, keyboard programming, music copying and sound design. While a high degree of piano proficiency and familiarity with the repertoire is a prerequisite, the program offers multiple opportunities to enrich and increase both.

With a small enrollment every other year, the music directing program emphasizes constant practical music directing experience. The student degree candidates serve as music directors (with faculty guidance) for aspects of the undergraduate BFA studio

classes, including both in-class and public rehearsals and performances, and are involved in various roles in the large-scale Center Stage productions.

Structure

The first year of training focuses on foundational skills, as outlined above.

In the second year, the graduate music director will music direct a small-scale production in collaboration with an MFA directing candidate, while continuing to broaden the professional skill set.

One semester of the third year includes music directing a fully mounted musical theatre production, and one semester offers an internship in the Broadway, Off Broadway or Regional arena.

Assistantship

The program includes a graduate assistantship that will cover all tuition plus a stipend. Assistantship duties will complement the curricular activities.

Considering the M.F.A. in Theatre? Consider this.

Focus on design & tech, directing for music theatre, or music directing for music theatre.

  • Highly specialized courses and individualized attention prepare you for the industry.

  • Numerous opportunities to interact with and learn from guest artists with a range of experiences.

  • Collaborate with experienced faculty and undergraduate students

Being 'scene'

Student's costumes and set designs from initial sketches through final fabrication.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State provided the specialized training required to succeed in my field in the “real world,” as well as a strong network of alumni to guide me once I got there.
Penn State alumna and events professional Carolyn Quinn wearing headset.

Alumni Spotlight

Carolyn Quinn

B.F.A. in Theatre 2016

Carolyn Quinn is an events professional based in New York City. She is currently a production coordinator at Sequence Events, a Global Top 50 Events Agency. Prior to Sequence, Carolyn spent time at Baseline Theatrical and in the general management office of Hamilton: An American Musical, as well as freelancing for high-profile corporate and non-profit events, new
theatrical works, and television and film, including working on the production team for the 71st Annual Tony Awards.

An overhead shot of the 2018 Global Forum hosted in the Oculus World Trade Center. Carolyn Quinn production managed the event with Sequence for the Wharton School of Business.

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