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Music Theatre BFA

(HEGIS: 10.04 MUSIC-PERFORM-COMP-THEOR, CIP: 50.0509 Musical Theatre.)

Department of Theatre and Dance

285 Alumni Arena
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-5030

Anne Burnidge
Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance

Nathan R. Matthews
Director of Music Theatre

Veronica Sedota
Assistant to the Chair

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Why study Music Theatre BFA at UB?

The Music Theatre BFA program at UB encompasses the ever-widening spectrum of theatre arts that ranges from performance art to opera and includes Broadway musicals, cabaret, and dance works. Our program embraces all of these forms, including the research and creation of new works of music theatre and the re-envisioning the classics for the twenty-first century. Our goal is to train complete theatre artists, prepared to succeed as multi-faceted professionals in an increasingly competitive and challenging field. As a result, our core curriculum includes classes in acting, music, and dance, with complementary study in music theory, history, technical theatre & design, choreography, and directing. Coursework is reinforced by our numerous performance opportunities, including inventive productions of traditional Broadway shows, and readings and workshops of new works of music theatre in development.

Learning Outcomes

Abstract Thinking: Creative/Scholarly Research and Critical Thinking

  • Identify major musical theatre song literature from 1959 to the present.
  • Describe and Relate information applicable musical shows. Differentiate types of musical shows by script and musical structure and style.
  • Analyze the process of creating a song, a scene and a role for stage performance and organize the elements involved into a clear and specific design. (Analysis/Synthesis/Application)
  • Demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge concerning the technical, historical, cultural, philosophical and aesthetic aspects of music theatre.
  • Recognize and respect the vital essential connection between theory and practice
  • Articulate the importance of the arts in society

Concrete Doing/Practice: Performance and Production Skills Practice- based Techniques and Styles

  • Through participation in studio work and performances, students will acquire proficiency in dance technique and performance sensibilities in movement based courses; understand the importance of creative and aesthetic risk taking; and advance their dance identity through personal inventories and self-reflection
  • Demonstrate and discuss aspects of proper vocal technique and implement it in various genres of musical theater
  • Recognize authenticity, spontaneity, and personalization while singing on stage
  • Identify the elements of song lyrics and characters. Recognize the musical elements of a song. Calculate the character's actions within the song. Appraise the physical life of the song. Interpret the intentions of the authors. Create and Dramatize an active, honest, believable and personalized musical theatre performance. Advance both the technical and artistic proficiency in courses of study through observance/participation in studio/lab work, performances, and participation in nation/international conferences and festivals
  • Translate the differences in types of musical shows through creating and dramatizing genuine character in a music theatre song, scene and/or production. Identify the elements of a musical theatre scene and the lyrics in a musical number. Recognize the musical elements of a musical number. Interpret the intentions of the authors. Calculate the character's actions in a musical play in spoken and sung word. Integrate the physical life of a character into a musical scene
  • Through participation in class work and through rehearsals and performances, students will acquire proficiency in musical terminology as well as basic music theory proficiency in the areas of aural recognition, music sight reading/singing skills and basic keyboard knowledge

Communication: Oral, Written, and Kinesthetic

  • Demonstrate an introductory approach to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
  • Cite and Describe a cross section of musical shows from 1959 to the present. (Knowledge)
  • Differentiate types of roles in shows by vocal and acting casting requirements (Comprehension)
  • Translate these differentiations to oneself to prepare for the realities of the industry (Application)
  • Distinguish musical theatre show styles and types of roles in musicals during these years. (Analysis)
Reasoning: Analytical and Problem Solving Skills Applied to the Classroom, Studio/Lab, and Production Work
  • Appraise, question and evaluate their work in class rehearsal and production
  • Utilize problem solving skills and apply critical thinking in the exploration of analytical and experiential solutions to problems and challenges in Theatre, Dance and Design
  • Recognize and personify authenticity while singing, acting and dancing on the music theatre stage. Have the capability to create a role in a music theatre work for the stage. Have a working knowledge of major music theatre song, dance and spoken literature giving the student the ability to distinguish and apply various music theatre singing, dancing, and acting styles

The Learning Environment

The Department of Theatre & Dance offers a comprehensive catalog of courses including seminar-based instruction, studio training, and hands on mentoring through experiential learning opportunities. All modes seek to integrate theoretical and practical instruction. Seminar and lecture courses, ranging from 20 to 100 seats, engage students in discussion on historical trends, contemporary practice, philosophical and aesthetic principles, criticism and analysis, and technical skills. Studio courses apply theory to technique in small, practice-based classes ranging from 16 to 28. Coursework often includes attendance at live performances as well participation in live production, and contributes to the development of professional portfolios, performance reels, and academic resumes. Practicums, tutorials, and independent studies supplement classwork with focused, in depth exploration of the discipline through close mentorship with faculty and guest artists.

About Our Facilities

UB’s Department of Theatre & Dance boasts an array of resources for both instruction and practical preparation for productions, including performance and classroom space in the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus. Within the CFA students directly benefit from the use of:

  • The Drama Theatre: a 388-seat theatre
  • The Black Box Theatre: a flexible space with seating of 100-120
  • Rehearsal Workshop: a mirror image of the Black Box Theater equipped for acting and dance classes, as well as rehearsals
  • Dance Studios: 4 spacious studios with full-length mirrors, Marley floors, and specially designed sound systems
  • Scene Shop
  • Costume Shop
  • Craft Studio
  • Katharine Cornell Theatre: a unique performance space that functions as a rehearsal room, acting classroom, and performance venue
  • Alumni Arena: includes the Design Suite with drafting studio, lighting lab and 10-seat computer lab; an acting classroom and rehearsal space; dance studio; a seminar room; and departmental offices

About Our Faculty

In Theatre & Dance you will study with active practitioners and internationally recognized scholars who are dedicated to the development of the next generation of theatre and dance artists, teachers, and supporters. UB’s Theatre & Dance Faculty are members of professional networks including Actor’s Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Society for Theatre Research, Dance Masters of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, National Dance Education Organization, Stage Actors Guild, and United Scenic Artists. They have extensive professional experience in directing, designing, dramaturgy, and performance on and off Broadway, on regional stages, in major dance festivals, in documentaries, and in film and television work. Twenty-five full time faculty members along with adjuncts from the professional community, production staff, and Teaching Assistants from our graduate programs in support our undergraduate programs.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Theatre department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

Career Choices


  • Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals
  • Cruise ship entertainment
  • Industrial promotions
  • Music videos
  • National and international tours
  • Regional theatres
  • Theme park entertainment


  • Arts management
  • Choreographer
  • Stage management
  • Television or film performer
  • Theatrical director
  • University professor

Music Theatre Alumni Careers in:

Broadway Productions

  • Wicked
  • Spider Man
  • Pippin
  • Cats
  • How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
  • Miss Saigon
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • The Iceman Cometh
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Dream
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • The Producers
  • Gypsy
  • A Bronx Tale
  • Pretty Woman

National and International Tours

  • Billy Elliott
  • Mamma Mia
  • West Side Story
  • Hairspray
  • Cabaret
  • Fame
  • A Chorus Line
  • Rock of Ages
  • Legally Blonde
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Tommy
  • Sesame Street Live
  • Footloose
  • Fiddler On the Roof
  • The Music Man
  • Evita
  • An American in Paris
  • Anastasia
  • Jersey Boys
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • South Pacific
  • Waitress

Theme Park Entertainment

  • Walt Disney World
  • Tokyo Disney
  • Busch Gardens
  • Six Flags

Cruise Ship Entertainment, Theatrical Direction, Choreography, Film & Television

Academic Advising

First semester students are required to meet with their academic advisor. All students are expected to meet with their departmental major advisor each semester to ensure progress toward your degree. In addition to the major advisor, students meet with an academic advisor through the College of Arts & Sciences regarding general education requirements. Area Directors also provide close mentorship and oversight of students’ schedules, academic and artistic progress, and professional development.

Prospective majors should also arrange for an interview with the department academic advisor to ensure they are taking courses in the proper sequence and to obtain the most benefit from departmental advisement.

Academic Advising Contact Information

For advising on the Music Theatre BFA contact:
Department of Theatre and Dancer

Scholarships and Financial Support

Students in this program may qualify for scholarships and financial support from a number of sources, including:

  • UB Financial Aid, including Scholarships
  • Nationally Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships
  • UB College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships and Awards
  • The Perry Watkins scholarship is available to African American freshman students majoring in design/technology

Talent-based scholarships are also available to all students. Auditions, portfolios, and a personal interview are required for all scholarship students.

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Nov 23, 2021 13:19:37