Why Choose Nazareth for Musical Theatre?

The B.F.A. in musical theatre is a pre-professional degree that integrates music, theatre, and dance to prepare students for a life in the arts. Classes are taught by theatre 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 three-stage Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival enhances training and learning opportunities and creates an intensive professional track training program, rivaling many national programs.

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

Program Highlights

  • Musical theatre majors can begin auditioning for casting as early as their second semester.
  • Students showcase their talents each year in spotlight performances.
  • Industry professionals regularly teach and direct musicals in the program.
  • Students are prepared and encouraged to audition for regional theaters as well as StrawHat in New York City and New England Theatre Conference.
  • Strategic regional partnerships with professional theatres, agents, and producers. Nazareth is proud to partner with Merry Go Round Playhouse, 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.
  • 2015 graduates have secured performance or production positions including: mainstage at Merry Go Round Playhouse, resident Youth Tour, Geva Theatre, Bristol Valley Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and New York Musical Theatre Festival.¬†

Program Options, Requirements, and Course Descriptions

Master classes

Contact Information

Corinne Jerris Aquilina

Corinne Jerris Aquilina

Assistant Professor, Program Director of Musical Theatre in Theatre and Dance
Arts Center 6

Education: B.S., Nazareth College (Music Education); Graduate study, Eastman School of Music, SUNY Geneseo, Carnegie Hall Studios, NYC

Experience: New York and Tour credits include Broadway: Boy From Oz, National Tour: Annie, Five Guys Named Moe, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and Spamolot. Off Broadway: original arranger/musical director for Menopause, The Musical and Rodgers and Hammerstein Library's Sophisticated Ladies for Inside Broadway. Corinne is resident Musical Director at Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and a member of The Dramatists’ Guild, ASCAP, and the America Federation of Musicians Local 802. Composer/lyricist for Treasure Island, a musical premiered at Arkansas Repertory Theatre and The Littlest Witch, published and licensed by Stage Rights LLC. Past credits: adjunct at SUNY Cortland, musical director at Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, and Florida Studio Theatre.

Yuanting Zhao

Yuanting Zhao

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

Education: B.F.A., Shandong College of Arts, China (Acting); M.F.A., University of Arizona (Costume Design)

Teaching and Artistic Interests: During her 20+ years teaching here, Professor Zhao designed costumes or supervised student costume designers for more than 60 productions. She also designed for Geva Theatre Center, Rochester City Ballet, and other local theatres. Before coming to the US, she taught acting and makeup at Shandong College of Arts and starred in movies, TV movies, and hosted many TV programs.

Katie Sweeney, alum of the musical theatre degree program, musical theatre major at Nazareth College

Alumni Spotlight: Katie Sweeney '15

"I was drawn to this musical theatre program because of the small class sizes, Nazareth's beautiful campus, professors who truly care about your progress, and the emphasis on being a musician as well as an actor. Audition class, an internship, characterization, Shakespeare, and acting-through-song classes helped me become a well-rounded actor. The ability to take a wide variety of dance classes has made me a more confident dancer. My confidence in my abilities to perform, sing, act, and dance enabled me to jump right into performing at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse." The Playhouse was described as Broadway level in recent media coverage.

Example Careers

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

Internships/Field Experiences

  • Julliard
  • 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

2015 Senior Showcase

    Musical Theatre and Acting students