The program is a conservatory training course within a university setting offering students a four-year, sequence-based program leading to a B.F.A. in Drama.
Both acting and music theater students take the same extensive core curriculum classes of acting, voice and speech, and movement. Additionally, students elect to take a number of cross-option classes within the School of Drama and periodic electives within the university.
Classes are small and an emphasis is placed on highly individualized, personal attention, as well as developing a sense of collaboration and working in an ensemble. The faculty consists of working theater professionals committed to teaching and instilling the highest standards of discipline, quality and professional ethics.
The School of Drama Acting and Music Theater Option is designed for students pursuing careers in acting and/or musical theater disciplines.
The program is divided into four distinct and rigorous phases of learning, each year consecutively building upon the last. All students in this option take the same core classes. Music theater students take advanced classes in singing, a variety of dance techniques, and in music theater styles and skills.
By senior year, students are introduced to a broad range of theater making. Students perform in larger roles on the main stage of the Philip Chosky Theater and gain exposure to on-camera work for film and television. Students also take classes that prepare them for the business aspects of entering the profession. Showcase provides all students with the opportunity to perform before industry professionals in New York, LA and Pittsburgh.
Students in the School of Drama Acting and Music Theater Option have many opportunities for hands-on learning and collaborative projects throughout the year, in addition to regular course and production work.
Additionally, Acting/Music Theater students have the opportunity to study abroad at an international conservatory program in the first semester of their senior year. School of Drama students have studied in programs such as NIDA in Sydney, the Moscow Art Theatre, London’s Drama Centre and other approved schools in France, South Africa, China and South Korea.
Another special experience is a unique partnership of the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the national American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP), and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO). Through this partnership, students work with professional musical theater leaders to create and present a new musical work. School of Drama alumnus, Stephen Schwartz, (of “Wicked,” “Godspell” and “Pippin” among other works) often returns to the School of Drama during this time to lead workshops and support this collaboration.
All School of Drama students have to opportunities to participate in the following:
Dance/Light is a performance opportunity for students across all disciplines to collaborate in the creation of original dance and movement pieces.
A Festival of Independent Student Work: Playground is the annual School of Drama three-day performance festival showcasing independent, student-produced work across multiple disciplines.
VISITING ARTISTS PROGRAM
The Visiting Artists Program brings distinguished national and international guests on to campus to work with students across all disciplines.
The School of Drama Showcase presentations in Pittsburgh, New York, and Los Angeles are designed to give all graduating students from all disciplines the opportunity to meet with and present work to leading arts and entertainment professionals.
- Zachary Quinto (A 1999), Actor/producer
Undergraduate Acting Curriculum
Undergraduate Music Theater Curriculum
The School of Drama Acting and Music Theater Option prepares students to enter the highly competitive field of acting for theater, film and television. Students are trained to be open, creative and flexible artists who can move with assurance from one area to another and perform in a variety of acting styles.