Why Choose Nazareth for Musical Theatre?

The B.F.A. in musical theatre is a pre-professional degree in music, theatre, and dance, with an emphasis on the essential integration of these elements. Our faculty creates an environment where aspiring musical theatre artists can begin a career and where powerful transformational experiences occur.

While we intend to generate young artists who can sing, dance, and act with technical ease and facility, a liberal arts-based education becomes a necessary tool for a performer. Critical, analytical, and independent thinking are essential qualities as they serve as the foundation of creative work. Also, a small class size is crucial so that the individual attention from the faculty can be maintained as well as the monitoring of our students’ growth vocally, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

At Nazareth College, training in the musical theatre major is not about being famous or becoming a star. It is about learning to work in ways that contribute positively to the art form, collaborating with fellow artists, and fostering a lasting appreciation for, and life in, the performing arts.

Because the Nazareth musical theatre program is small, every student has an opportunity to shine, and students are cast as early as their freshman year. The department produces two musicals and two plays each year in our state-of-the-art, newly renovated theater. Through intensive rehearsing, students learn firsthand the commitment and discipline required for professional performance in music, dance, and drama. They also learn the production end of theatre: set design, costuming, make-up, and lighting. At the same time, they receive a well-rounded liberal arts education that deepens their performance experience.

Program Highlights

  • Excellent preparation for competing in the performance industry or continuing on to graduate studies.
  • Musical theatre majors can begin auditioning for casting as early as their second semester.
  • Students perform each year in a showcase featuring their graduating class.
  • Guest artists from professional theatre regularly direct and teach in the program.
  • Incorporates acting, music, and dance for a competitive musical theatre degree
  • Students compete annually at the regional American College Theatre Festival.
  • Seniors perform their final showcase for agents in New York.

Typical Class Schedule


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.

Audra Cramer, alum of the musical theatre degree program, musical theatre major at Nazareth College

Alumni Spotlight: Audra Cramer '09

"I am so proud to be one of the first graduates of the Nazareth College musical theatre program. Since graduation, I have been fortunate enough to work consistently as both a performer and a music director/pianist."

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 Internship
  • Summer stock around the country

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