School of Fine and Performing Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, Musical Theatre Concentration

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Why Choose Musical Theatre?

Wright State University prepares serious pre-professional students for professional careers in the musical theatre. Our Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting, Musical Theatre concentration is among the most highly selective at this university and is one of the most successful in the nation. As part of the College of Liberal Arts, our students not only train to perform at the highest level but also gain a greater understanding of our world to inform their work.

With our exclusively undergraduate focus, students participate in rigorous conservatory training and exceptional performance opportunities from the very start. Throughout their four years, students are cast in a range of musicals and plays, as understudies, ensemble members, supporting parts, and leading roles. Students also have the opportunity to perform in films produced by our award-winning Motion Pictures program. Seniors can participate in an intensive career workshop and showcase, with elite casting professionals and creative talent in New York City.

Musical Theatre faculty members are working professionals and internationally respected experts in their field, with active careers as directors, actors, choreographers, and teachers around the world.

After four years of multidisciplinary training, over 85% of our graduates begin work immediately. Recent graduates are appearing in TV and movies, on Broadway and in national and international touring companies, as well as at theme parks and on cruise ships.

B.F.A. in Acting, Musical Theatre Concentration Brochure (PDF)


Competition for professional opportunities in acting and musical theatre is extremely high, and our Professional Acting Training Program is designed to develop our students’ talent, skills, and commitment to secure employment upon graduation from Wright State University. We maintain an excellent network of relationships with agents, casting directors, and creative talent nationwide. Because of their intensive professional preparation at Wright State University, fully 80 percent of our graduates find work in the field immediately after graduation.

Wright State students find jobs in a wide variety of performance-related fields. If desired, they may pursue additional graduate training in order to teach at the college or university level.  Graduates have attended such programs as the Denver Center, Northwestern University, DePaul University, Emerson College, and New York University.

Our alumni are working on and off Broadway, in national tours, and at many of the country’s finest regional theatres, including The Guthrie, Actors Theater of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton. They appear on television, films, radio, industrial films, and commercials, as well as on cruise ships and themed entertainment venues, comedy clubs, and cabarets.

Graduates of the program have achieved membership in professional theatrical unions, including Actors' Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Samantha Helmstetter, '12
Ronve O'Daniel, '06
Heidi Giberson, '10
Yvette Williams, '12

Success Stories

For Kate Mueller, a 2015 graduate of Wright State’s acting and musical theatre program, being part of "The Phantom of the Opera” ensemble is a dream come true.
The 2018 Kleban Prize in Musical Theater recognized 2005 grad Christian Duhamel as the year's most promising musical theatre librettist.

Academics and Curriculum

The Musical Theatre program at Wright State University is a rigorous but supportive Professional Actor Training Program designed to prepare students for early career success. Our undergraduate focus means that students audition for and perform in our main stage productions from the very first. Our small class sizes of 16 students or fewer allow the faculty to provide individual attention and coaching to help students develop their talents to the fullest.

Course Work

The four-year B.F.A. curriculum in Musical Theatre includes:

  • Four years of acting training – classical, contemporary and musical
  • Four years of dance classes every day – jazz, ballet, tap and theatre dance
  • Four years of private singing lessons twice each week
  • Three semesters of movement/physical training
  • Three semesters of voice and speech training

View the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, Musical Theatre Concentration program information, degree requirements, and graduation planning strategy in the Academic Catalog.

Students are required to maintain an active performance schedule in campus productions throughout the school year.

Honors Program for Seniors

The Honors program in Acting and Musical Theatre provides superior students with further opportunity to demonstrate excellence and receive special recognition in their senior year. Honors students create a capstone project, such as a self-written monodrama, a one-person recital, directing a production, or other projects that are mutually agreed upon with the student’s advisor. To apply for admittance to the Honors program, a student must possess a 3.0 overall grade point average and be in the last year of the B.F.A. program.

Professional World and Senior Showcase

Acting/Musical Theatre students may choose to participate in an intensive workshop to prepare them to audition for top industry professionals in New York or other major entertainment markets. This workshop assists students in the selection and preparation of a wide range of audition materials and in the development of the actor's presentation. The Showcase is the culmination of four years of intensive training, which includes several workshops with top industry professionals, career seminars, alumni networking events, and an intensive introduction to the theatre, film, and TV industries.

Assessment of Progress

Acting and Musical Theatre faculty feel a strong obligation to graduate students who are well-prepared to begin professional careers upon graduation. To that end, all students receive a periodic evaluation of their progress in the BFA Acting and Musical Theatre Programs during their four years of study. These evaluations are offered as a positive and constructive way of guiding students toward their best progress and growth, and of targeting specific areas for focus in the coming terms. Progress is assessed by the Acting and Musical Theatre faculty based on academic standards, attendance policy, professionalism, observable progress, and development of skills taught in the program. Guidelines for juried scenes and songs are clearly defined for students. Students may always request feedback from faculty members outside of the regularly scheduled assessment process. All students are urged to carefully consider the requirements of a professional career and understand the rigors and demands of the acting profession.

BFA Acting and Musical Theatre students must maintain a grade of "C" or better in all studio classes required of their major in order to be retained. Students who are not making satisfactory progress, even with a grade of "C" or better, may be advised by the faculty to withdraw from the program. An overall GPA of 2.5 is required for graduation.

Admission and Auditions

The Musical Theatre program at Wright State University is designed for students who are highly motivated to pursue professional careers in musical theatre and acting performance. Students must demonstrate acting and musical proficiency through an audition and meet the university’s educational standards for undergraduate admission. The B.F.A. Musical Theatre Program accepts approximately 3% of those who audition. The day before many auditions, we hold master classes so students can get a glimpse of the outstanding level of our faculty and our productions.

Admission Process

Prospective students should:

  1. Apply online for admission to Wright State University.
  2. Schedule an audition by completing and submitting the B.F.A. Admission and Scholarship Application (PDF).
  3. Submit $25.00 audition fee.
  4. Provide copies of academic transcripts to Wright State University Admissions and the School of Fine and Performing Arts.
  5. Submit recent photographs and a resume of pertinent training and performance experience.

Admission to the Musical Theatre program is competitive and dependent upon the results of the audition. An individual may audition only once for the Musical Theatre Program.


Auditions, which are required for all entering students, are held each year in the winter for students who want to be considered for admission in the fall semester. Please see the program calendar for the audition schedule or refer to the B.F.A. Admission and Scholarship Application (PDF).

The acting portion of the audition consists of a one-minute monologue that should be selected from plays in roles that are roughly the student’s age and should not be from musicals or stand-alone monologue collections.

Students also present two contrasting one-minute song excerpts from musicals, one of which should be from contemporary theatre repertoire or reflect recent styles. The songs should demonstrate two facets of your singing ability, such as classic or contemporary, ballad or up-tempo. The student should provide sheet music in the desired key, marked to the appropriate length on double-sided copies in a binder for easy reading by our accompanists.

Auditioning students also will participate in a dance audition for placement purposes and should wear appropriate dance attire. You will change into regular clothes for the remainder of your audition.

Your audition also serves to determine qualification for talent scholarships.

Transfer Credits

Transfer students may be accepted into the program after a successful audition and university admissions process. The university generally follows a liberal policy in accepting general education and elective credits, allowing virtually all credits earned at an accredited institution from courses in which the student earned a “C” or better. The Office of the Registrar is responsible for determining which credits are eligible for transfer. However, the program is geared to four years of training and transfer students rarely receive credit for conservatory courses from other institutions.


The School of Fine and Performing Arts offers an array of scholarships based on talent, academic performance, and financial need. For first-year students, the audition will determine qualification for a scholarship.

School scholarships include:

  • The Tom Hanks Scholarship

  • The Augsburger/Estevez Scholarship created by Martin Sheen

  • The Theatre Arts Talent Scholarship

  • The Rising Star Scholarship

Talent scholarships are awarded for one year to students in acting, dance, motion picture production, and design/technology. Students in all majors are eligible to apply each year for merit scholarships. Although competition for scholarships is keen, the school provides generous support to qualified students throughout their four years of study to enable them to complete their degree.

Faculty and Staff


Acting and Musical Theatre faculty

Music Faculty and Staff

Theatre Dance Faculty and Staff

Design Technology Faculty and Staff Directory

Guest Artists

The Acting and Musical Theater faculty at Wright State University are connected to some of the brightest stars in the performing arts, who are invited to campus to share their talents with our students.

Recent guest artists include a long list of luminaries:

  • Sutton Foster, Tony Award, Best Actress, for Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Victoria Clark, Tony Award, Best Actress for The Light in the Piazza
  • Jason Robert Brown, Tony Award, composer, Parade, The Last Five Years
  • Tom Jones, award-winning lyricist for the longest-running musical in New York stage history, The Fantasticks
  • Tina Landau, Obie Award winner for Best Director
  • Liz Callaway, star of stage and screen, from Sonheim to The Spitfire Grill
  • Howard McGillin, Tony-nominated actor, from Drood to Phantom of the Opera
  • Ted Sperling, award-winning conductor and arranger
  • Audra McDonald, multiple Tony Award-winning actress - presently in Porgy and Bess on Broadway
  • Ted Neeley, star of stage and screen, including the title role in the film Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Brian Yorkey, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner for Next to Normal
  • Austin Pendleton, Broadway director, award-winning playwright, and featured actor in over thirty films
  • Martin Sheen, Emmy Award-winning actor of stage, television, and screen
  • Stephen Schwartz, (2013) Academy and Grammy Award-winning composer of stage and screen, including Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked


Take the Next Step

Finding the right college means finding the right fit. See all that the College of Liberal Arts has to offer by visiting campus.