Music Theatre : About The Program

About Our Degrees

Acceptance Criteria

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 in required music theatre courses.
Minimum grade of C+ in all required courses.
Audition and acceptance into the university.
Interview with program director at the end of the first year.
Letter of intent.

Degree Requirements

Please see Degrees and Policies.

About Our Facilities

The million Center for the Arts benefits UB students directly through outstanding public performance and exhibition facilities. The center houses the Departments of Art, Media Study, and Theatre and Dance, showcasing both academic and public presentations of the arts in its many intriguing and interdisciplinary forms. The Department of Music is housed in adjacent Slee and Baird Halls, allowing music students to also discover a genuine intermingling of the arts.

Theatre and dance students have a variety of theatres and studios in which to work and learn. The range and complexity of theatre spaces allow students great versatility in their professional preparation. Supporting this effort are excellent shop facilities for costumes, scenery, properties, paint, and makeup.

The 400-seat Drama Theatre is intimate, with inviting decor and technical advantages that make it ideally suited to theatre and dance department productions and chamber operas. The orchestra pit can accommodate approximately forty musicians.

Mainstage is an 1,800-seat theatre that houses the majority of the professional touring companies at the Center for the Arts. Other features include a custom-built orchestra shell, allowing stage concerts to take place without the need for microphones and speakers. Computer-controlled panels on the walls of the auditorium are designed to adjust the acoustics at the touch of a button.

Also available to UB arts students are twin black box theatres that allow almost any kind of theatrical presentation, especially multimedia and experimental works. In addition, a 200-seat media study screening room can be used for departmental programming, as well as for the public presentation of films, speakers, panel discussions, poetry readings, and press conferences.

Dance studios are spacious with Marley covered maple wood floors engineered for maximum resiliency, twelve-foot mirrors, upper-level observation spaces, and specially designed sound systems.

The students of theatre and dance enjoy a working relationship with Alleyway Theatre, Artpark, Buffalo United Artists, Irish Classical Theatre Co., MusicalFare, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Studio Arena Theatre, Theatre of Youth, and Western New York affiliated Dance Masters of America dance establishments. Studio Arena is a LORT theatre located in the heart of the theatre district in downtown Buffalo.

About Our Courses

Suggested Introductory Courses:

The typical class size for:

Freshman/introductory courses is: 16-50
Sophomore/intermediate courses is: 15-30
Upper level/advanced courses is: 15-25

In the Music Theatre program, what do teaching assistants (TAs) do?

Teaching assistants serve as demonstrators, give corrections, and generally assist in the studio classes.

For course descriptions, please see Courses.

About Our Faculty

Nathan R. Matthews is the founding Producing Artistic Director and Music Director of the Riverside Opera Ensemble in New York City. He has served on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera, music directed and conducted operas and musicals in NYC as well as at regional theatres and universities, and performed throughout North America as a solo and collaborative pianist. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Amas Musical Theatre. He was Mark Hamill's keyboard coach for the original Broadway production of "Amadeus". Mr. Matthews was Music Associate on Broadway for "Children and Art", the Stephen Sondheim 75th Birthday gala. Subsequently, the University of London - Goldsmiths College invited him to speak on the subject of performing Sondheim in concert. His former students have received the Theatre World Award, Tony Award nomination, and have performed on Broadway, at Lincoln Center, and nationally and internationally.

Practical Experience and Special Academic Opportunities

Notable Program Features

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers BA and BFA degree programs in which students may study a broad range of production, design, technology, performance, historical, and literary aspects of theatre, dance, and music theatre. A central curriculum of courses is shared by all theatre, dance, and music theatre majors from which students go on to pursue separate majors in theatre, dance, music theatre, or theatre and dance areas. Auditions are required for entrance into the BA in dance and all BFA programs.

Department classes balance scholarship and practical training. In theatre, there is a full sequence of courses in theatre technology and design, acting, playwriting, directing, and history and literature. In dance, there is a full sequence of courses in jazz, ballet, contemporary dance, tap, choreography, teaching methods, and history and research.

Performance and production are essential parts of the curriculum, providing hands-on learning experiences. There are four performance spaces in the Center for the Arts: small and large proscenium houses, and two multipurpose black box spaces. The Katharine Cornell Theatre provides added dimensions to performance opportunities. The department's Zodiaque Dance Company performs at the university and presents in the community; membership is by audition held early each September. Auditions for the Zodiaque Studio Dance Ensemble, and Young Choreographers Showcase, featuring the work of student choreographers by invitation of the dance faculty, are held in the spring semester each year.

The Music Theatre and Theatre programs both offer one major proscenium production and one black box production each year. Recent works include: Rent, Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors, Merrily We Roll Along, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Winter's Tale, Sideman, and Our Town. These performance opportunities are augmented by classroom projects that culminate in a performance at the end of each semester, as well as "Poor Theatre," directed by the faculty.

Dancers Workshop, a student-run organization, also generates a production annually. Workshop advisors are members of the faculty. The GUILD, a student theatre and dance organization, acts as a liaison between students and faculty, and generates performances through "Proba," a student run production company for workshop productions.

Students in dance work with nationally and internationally known guest faculty, directors, and choreographers in yearly residencies with the UB Center for the Arts. Annual residencies have included: American Ballet Studio Co., Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co., Doug Varone and Dancers, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Jose Limon, and Taylor 2 Co.

Undergraduate Research and Practical Experience

Internships are possible by arrangement with the Director of Music Theatre.

Honors, Awards, and Scholarships

  • College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Departmental Award
  • College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior Award
  • Departmental Honors
  • Julia Pardee Prize [Awarded for excellence in writing in theatre, dance or music theatre]
  • Performing and Creative Arts Scholarships


Performing and Creative Arts Scholarships are available through the University Honors College. Auditions are required for applicants. To qualify for consideration, students must have a minimum high school average of 90 percent and a combined SAT score of at least 1230, or an ACT score of 28. Transfer honors applicants must hold a minimum GPA of 3.8. 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.

Extracurricular Activities

The principle performance spaces for all of the following are the theatres and studios in the Center for the Arts. See Center for the Arts (click on "Venues").

Dancers Workshop

Dancers Workshop is a student organization that offers non-credit performing and related opportunities for the university community at various levels of ability and interest. Workshop advisers are members of the dance faculty.

From the Wings

From the Wings is a student organization that offers non-credit performance opportunities for, but not limited to, music theatre majors. Faculty advisors are members of the music theatre faculty.

The Guild

The Guild is managed entirely by students. It hosts opening night receptions, is the liaison among department faculty, staff, and students, and produces evenings of new works by students.

See the UB Student Association.

Complementary Programs and Courses


Minors that Compliment Music Theatre

Courses Outside the Major that Could Improve Employment Opportunities

Links to Further Information About this Program

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:01:49 EST