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Top 10 Under 10: Top 10 Musical Theatre Programs (Based On Successful Alumni Within The Last 10 Years Since Graduation)

Many musical theatre programs and conservatories have been around for several decades, such as Carnegie Mellon University, NYU, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), with some programs only popping up within the past two decades, such as Texas State University, Elon University, and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory. Some programs have an incredible and long legacy and history of successful alumni and performers dating back to the mid-late 1900’s. However, a great indication of a program’s success and preparation of their students is how their recent alumni have done professionally.

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Based on their program websites and online articles noting their alumni, we’ve ranked the top Musical Theatre programs solely based on how many successful alumni there have been within the past 10 years of graduating (since 2006), looking specifically at their musical theatre graduates on Broadway, National/International Tours, TV, and Film. *Note: this is only one way to rank musical theatre programs, and is by no means a definitive or absolute ranking.*

1. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) is known for its renowned musical theatre program, which has been a powerhouse since the mid-80's and is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the country. The program produces successful performers every year from their "triple-threat" conservatory-style program situated within the historical School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, which was founded in 1880 at one of the top public universities in America. To this day, every graduating class has produced successful artists, which can also be attributed to its well-run Senior Showcase in New York City. Michigan Musical Theatre alumni can currently be seen in Broadway shows such as Hello, Dolly!, Cats, The Great Comet, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Sunday in the Park With George, and many more.

2. Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the oldest musical conservatory in the nation and was the first of its kind. Since its inception in Cincinnati, OH in the 1800's, the rigorous conservatory has thrived and has consistently produced some of the most successful and renowned performers, and continues to be incredibly selective with a mere 4% acceptance rate. CCM's young performers within the past 10 years of graduating have continued the school's legacy, which can be attributed to the talent and extensive training which is demonstrated at their well-attended New York Showcase every spring. CCM Musical Theatre alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows like Hamilton, Anastasia, The Book of Mormon, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Bandstand, Cats, and many others.

3. Elon University

Elon University's Music Theatre program is on the young side, having popped up within the past two decades. The program is situated within Elon's Department of Performing Arts at the small liberal arts school in Elon, NC, which is often ranked among the most beautiful campuses in the nation. Despite the program being younger than others, it is consistently ranked among the top in the nation, with an acceptance rate of only 3%. Over 70 of Elon's young alumni, who have graduated after 2006 (within the past 10 years), have made appearances on Broadway and National Tour stages. This success is aided by their Casting Director and Agent Masterclass Series with each senior class, which is the program's unique way of bringing their "New York Showcase" to their own campus. Elon Music Theatre alumni can currently be seen in Broadway shows such as Hello, Dolly!, Wicked, A Bronx Tale, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Cats, The Great Comet, Miss Saigon, Anastasia, Sunset Boulevard, and many others.

4. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama is the oldest conservatory training, and the first degree-granting drama institution, in America. It also is one of the most difficult programs in the country to be admitted to, with a 3% acceptance rate. Since being founded in Pittsburgh, PA in 1914, the musical theatre program has consistently produced incredibly successful performers, Tony-Award winners, and brilliant artists. Graduates of the School of Drama also consistently find much success in the Television and Film mediums. Their young, recent graduates are no different, with many of them creating successful careers after their New York Showcase within years of graduation. Carnegie Mellon Musical Theatre alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows like Hamilton, Cats, Aladdin, The Great Comet, Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and many others.

5. Boston Conservatory

Boston Conservatory at Berklee is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious conservatories in America. Since being founded in Boston, MA in 1867 as a professional training academy and music school, Boston Conservatory has become an internationally recognized leader among conservatory programs, with incredibly successful alumni. The young alumni within the past ten years have carried on this legacy, and have continued to have successful careers in Broadway shows and in National and International Tours after graduation and showcase. Boston Conservatory Musical Theatre alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows such as Come From Away, Cats, The Book of Mormon, Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, Dear Evan Hansen, Miss Saigon, and many others.

6. NYU Tisch

NYU Tisch's Musical Theatre program has been praised as one of the top musical theatre programs for years. Under the New York University Tisch Drama program, the New Studio on Broadway has become a highly competitive MT program, with a 15% acceptance rate. This program under Tisch provides rigorous training right in the heart of New York City. Tisch's young alumni are carrying on the program's legacy, as they train and perform with incredible cultural resources and esteemed faculty members and guest faculty in New York. Graduates of NYU Tisch can be currently seen on Broadway in shows like Waitress, Wicked, Aladdin, The Great Comet, The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, Anastasia, Hamilton, and many others.

7. Baldwin Wallace Conservatory

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music's musical theatre program (Berea, OH) has recently popped up in the past 20 years and become one of the top, most acclaimed and selective musical theatre programs in the country. Their New York Showcase is one of the most-attended, which helps the success of their alumni. Baldwin Wallace also presents their graduates with a BM (Bachelor of Music), which shows their concentration on musical education and is unique compared to other BFA programs across the country. Baldwin Wallace's young alumni do exceptionally well in the performing arts, and their alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows like Anastasia, Aladdin, Kinky Boots, School of Rock, Waitress, and more.

8. Florida State University

Florida State's Musical Theatre program, within FSU's School of Theatre, has been ranked many times among the best in the country. Since being founded in 1973 in Tallahassee, FL, it has thrived as a highly selective and rigorous conservatory-style program at the well-respected public university. Every spring, the senior class presents their New York Showcase, which yields positive results for their young alumni. Florida State musical theatre alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows such as Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Cats, On Your Feet, and many more.

9. Ithaca College

Ithaca College's Musical Theatre program has thrived throughout the years as one of the top programs in the country. Situated within the Department of Theatre Arts, which was founded in 1897 in Ithaca, NY, the program has found much success as a vibrant program at the small liberal arts college. Ithaca's musical theatre program is incredibly competitive, and their young alumni are a testament to their program's success. Their alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows like Aladdin, Cats, The Lion King, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and more.

10. Penn State University

Penn State School of Theatre's Musical Theatre program has been consistently ranked in the top in the country for programs of its kind for years. The program, located in University Park, PA, is an incredibly selective program - only admitting 14 to 20 new students a year. Young alumni also do exceptionally well, with the help of Penn State's Senior Showcase in New York City. Penn State Musical Theatre alumni can currently be seen on Broadway in shows like Wicked, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Chicago, and more.

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