Why Choose Nazareth for Musical Theatre?

The BFA in musical theatre is a pre-professional degree that integrates music, theatre, and dance to prepare you for a life in the arts. Classes are taught by industry professionals, Nazareth faculty, and visiting guest artists in a rigorous and supportive environment.

Our liberal arts-based education teaches critical, analytical, and independent thinking, which are essential for creative work. Small class sizes enable individual attention from the faculty, who help you grow vocally, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

The department produces musicals, dramas, comedies, classics, dance concerts, and more in a state-of-the-art theater. Our collaboration with the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival enhances training and learning opportunities and creates an intensive professional track training program, rivaling many national programs. That three-stage festival won NY Theatre Guide's Best of 2015 Reader's Choice Award for best professional theatre (non/off-Broadway). 

Through intensive rehearsing, you'll learn firsthand the commitment and discipline required for professional performance in music, dance, and drama. You'll also learn about production: set design, costuming, make-up, and lighting.

Program Highlights

  • Students showcase talents each year in spotlight performances.
  • You can begin auditioning for casting as early as your second semester.
  • Industry professionals regularly teach and direct musicals in the program.
  • You are prepared and encouraged to audition for regional theaters as well as StrawHat in New York City and New England Theatre Conference.
  • Benefit from Nazareth's strategic regional partnerships with professional theatres, agents, and producers. Nazareth is proud to partner with Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, a unique collaboration that allows Nazareth students to get real world experience both on and off the stage.
  • Seniors perform their final showcase for agents in New York City.
  • Option: Train with professionals on London’s West End through short-term study abroad with other Naz musical theatre students and faculty.
  • Recent graduates have secured performance or production positions at: Disney Tokyo, Busch Gardens, Cinderella national tour, Romeo & Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn (off Broadway), Kid Frankenstein The Musical (off Broadway), Geva Theatre, mainstage at Merry Go Round Playhouse, resident Youth Tour, Bristol Valley Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and New York Musical Theatre Festival. Other recent graduates work as agents at Meg Pantera The Agency and Liz Lewis Casting Partners.
Master classes

How to Audition

Auditions are required for this major. View audition details and register.

Program Options, Requirements, and Course Descriptions

Related majors and stories

Learn about degrees. See student, faculty, and alumni experiences:

Contact Information

Corinne Aquilina

Corinne Aquilina

Assistant Professor, Program Director of Musical Theatre
Arts Center 6

New York and tour credits include Broadway pit of The Boys from Oz, Annie, Five Guys Named Moe, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Arranger/orchestrator for Menopause, The Musical. Musical director for the North American premiere of From Here to Eternity and Theatrical Rights Worldwide’s Saturday Night Fever. Original works include music/lyrics for Treasure Island, A New Musical; Pump N Go; The Littlest Witch. Regional credits include Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Full Monty, Forty Second Street, Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Spelling Bee, Cabaret, Chicago, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Evita, La Cage, My Fair Lady, The King & I, The Sound of Music, Nunsense, Oliver, Tintypes, Brigadoon, Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, Dames at Sea, Singin’ in the Rain, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Damn Yankees, and Daddy Long Legs. Member: Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, and AFM Local 802.

Read her full profile.

Yuanting Zhao

Yuanting Zhao

Professor and Chair of Theatre & Dance / Costume Design / Chairperson
Arts Center 20

Native of Jinan, China. Upon graduation from Shandong University of Art, she was offered a role teaching acting and makeup. She was frequently invited by Shandong provincial TV stations to host a variety of TV shows and she  acted in several motion pictures and made-for-TV films. After earning her master’s degree in costume design in 1996, she became a faculty member and a costume designer at Nazareth College. She has facilitated Nazareth’s partnership with Finger Lake Musical Theatre Festival (formerly known as Merry Go Round Playhouse), doubled the enrollment of the last two classes, and doubled the audience for our productions. Many NYC-based practicing artists and agents come on campus to conduct master classes and workshops. She has designed costumes for more than 70 productions, and supervised student designers for more than 10 productions. She also has designed costumes for Rochester City Ballet’s original production of Blood Countess, and Nine Parts of Desire for Geva Theatre Center.

Theatre and Dance Faculty »

Kathryn Murphy, alum of musical theatre degree program, musical theatre major at Nazareth College

Alumni Spotlight: Kathryn Murphy '11

“I love to call someone and say you got the job,” says Murphy, who interned and then got hired as a talent agent with Meg Pantera The Agency in New York City. “In my first three weeks at my internship, I had booked someone for the national tour of Wicked. Now I represent many actors on Broadway, production tours, regionally, and in television and film. Working in stage managing, costume, and front-of-house roles at Nazareth made me realize that I love the production side of theater. I love how fast-paced my job is and how I can help someone achieve their dreams of being a working actor.”

Example Careers

  • Acting
  • Musical theatre direction
  • Choreographer
  • Performance marketing
  • Performance management
  • Stage management

Internships/Field Experiences

  • The Juilliard School
  • Merry-Go-Round Playhouse
  • Geva Theatre Center
  • Rochester Broadway Theatre League
  • Bristol Valley Theatre
  • Stella Adler Acting
  • Summer stock around the country
  • Woodstock Playhouse

Graduate Schools/Employers

  • Theatreworks USA
  • Walt Disney World
  • Goodspeed Opera House
  • The New School
  • Geva Theatre Center
  • RWS and Associates Entertainment, Inc.
  • Actor's Theatre of Louisville
  • Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival
  • Southern Methodist University