BFA - Musical Theatre

Department of Theatre and Dance

BFA Musical Theatre Main Page

Program Coordinator: Prof. Clay James; 973-655-7341

Welcome from the Coordinator

As Coordinator of the Musical Theatre program at Montclair State University, I am delighted to introduce you to a unique educational opportunity.

Musical Theatre at Montclair is a joint venture of the John J. Cali School of Music andDepartment of Theatre and Dance. Together we have applied the best of our resources to develop an intensive course of study and performance applications which we believe are of equal importance to your development.

Our curriculum offers strong pre-professional training geared for the musical theatre business as it is reflected today. And make no mistake – musical theatreis a business – one for which our majors are fully prepared. Our students and alumni, in fact, are working in the business – currently represented on Broadway and in national and international tours. They also work in major regional theatres as well as cruise lines, even theme parks.

I hope I have sparked an interest in our program, as I would look forward to meeting you in person. Please take the time to look over our information including curriculum, facilities, performance opportunities, and faculty; as well as the steps for preparing to audition. We feel that your education at Montclair would be just the first step towards a rewarding journey. At Montclair State, our goal is your success.

Clay James,
Coordinator of Musical Theatre;
John J. Cali School of Music
Department of Theatre and Dance

P.S. Check out our Promo Video which includes clips of several of our productions.

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BFA Musical Theatre: The Big Picture

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Musical Theatre is a highly selective, four-year, conservatory-derived professional training program that prepares students for successful careers in musical theatre stage performance.

Our rigorous, innovative curriculum combines instruction and experience in the acting, dance, and music demanded by this unique craft. Distinguished by close, individualized attention from our outstanding faculty, the program is a successful launch pad for future careers as "triple threat" performers.

Our proximity to Manhattan allows us to attract an outstanding full-time faculty and prominent guest artists who work closely with students each semester. With Manhattan just 30 minutes away, you will be able to connect with on and off-Broadway productions and internships.

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What You Will Study

The BFA in Musical Theatre program combines a conservatory-like experience with a traditional liberal arts education. The curriculum consists of 123 credits, including 92 credits in a common core curriculum of music, acting, and dance and 31 credits in General Education. The program’s core curriculum includes instruction in:


  • All genres of dance
  • Acting
  • Music theory
  • Aural skills
  • Private voice studio
  • Piano
  • Vocal and performance ensembles
  • Makeup
  • History of theatre and musical theatre
  • Musical theatre styles
  • Movement
  • Speech 

For complete BFA Musical Theatre curriculum requirements, go to:


To learn more about Careers in Musical Theatre, go to:

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Performance Opportunities

As a BFA Musical Theatre student, you will be able to build your resume as early as your freshman year, through access to a wide range of performance opportunities, including:

  • Fully staged main stage and studio productions
  • Workshops
  • Industrials
  • Concert productions
  • Recitals
  • Operas
  • Revues
  • Dance performances
  • Classical and new musical theatre works

Students learn their craft by "doing." As we do not offer a master’s degree program in acting, you will never compete with graduate students for acting opportunities and leading roles. A culminating program activity is our career-building New York Senior Showcase. 

The Department of Theatre and Dance produces as many as 7-10 musicals and plays each year. Visit our Productions and Image/Media Gallery pages to see examples of current and past student work. 

Students learn by watching as well as doing. You will be able to attend more than 500 professional events on campus each year, including those presented by the Theatre and Dance Department as well as by Montclair’s Peak Performances program of theatre, dance, and music productions. Students – who are sometimes cast alongside seasoned performers and renowned actors – are admitted FREE to these campus events.

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Our Faculty

More than 75 permanent faculty members and visiting professionals – including internationally renowned celebrity guest artists and artists-in-residence – mentor our Theatre and Dance students each semester. These working professionals share insights gleaned from their professional experiences in the “real world” of theatre with students in studio workshops, seminars, and lectures. Faculty mentoring can often lead to opportunities beyond the classroom. 

Our award-winning musical theatre faculty members are performers, designers, directors, conductors, choreographers, and musicians who have worked in the U.S. and abroad in film, opera and television, and on and off-Broadway.

Click the links below to learn more:

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Musical Theatre Video Montage

Click below to view the video clips of our student productions.

Video Button

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Theatre Facilities


Montclair State boasts exceptional performance facilities with impressive technical specifications. You will perform in six well-equipped theatres, including the state-of-the-art Alexander Kasser Theater; the 946-seat Memorial Auditorium; our 2000-seat amphitheater, and the intimate L. Howard Fox Theatre.

This exceptional range of performance spaces reflects industry opportunities and prepares students for future performances in a variety of settings. 

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Student Testimonials

Allison Strong – BFA Musical Theatre Major

Montclair State was the right choice for me because of the exceptional musical theatre training, nurturing environment, as well as its proximity to New York City and all the opportunities the city has to offer. There’s no question that I made the right decision.  Even after making my Broadway debut in Bye, Bye Birdie, I can’t imagine completing my BFA anywhere else.


Josh Dela Cruz – BFA Musical Theatre Major

When I decided I wanted to pursue musical theatre, I knew almost immediately that Montclair State was the place for me. The BFA Musical Theatre degree offers a strong core curriculum that challenges us physically and mentally to stretch our limits in the class and in performance, as well as the flexibility to focus on specific aspects of this multi-faceted art form. The level of professionalism that the program, productions, and faculty demonstrate is amazing. There is no other place I would want to be.


Tara Tagliafero – BFA Musical Theatre Alumna, Class of 2010

I am grateful for having such gifted teachers as the backbone of my training. I owe everything to my time spent finding myself as a performer at Montclair and for all the professional and unparalleled guidance in the classroom and on stage. I truly feel prepared to face the real world – a confidence I did not have upon entering the BFA Musical Theatre program. I came to Montclair so raw and so eager and I’m leaving with the strong foundation I need for success.

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The BFA Musical Theatre program meets the rigorous standards of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) – a distinction that places us among the nation’s most competitive programs.

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Apply Now

To apply to the BFA Musical Theatre Program, or to any Department of Theatre and Dance program, please visit Department Admissions.

For additional information about our programs, please visit us to tour our facilities and/or plan to attend one of our Arts Days and Open Houses.

Click here for the BFA Musical Theatre Handbook for more information and policies specific to the Musical Theatre program. 

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