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If I want to have a professional Broadway career, is a musical theatre major necessary?

One of my dreams is to perform on Broadway, but I don't know how stable it would be to major in musical theatre. I'd like to have a job where I can earn a decent income, so would it be better for me to get a degree in something I know I'd be able to get a job in and then try to audition for shows?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Doc’s Answer

Erin whether your training takes place in a high school classroom, in a well-established theatre conservatory, under the tutelage of a great professor in a college class, or in each and every show you can get into, you can learn both from the critique you receive directly, and from watching others and listening to the critique they get.

TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN
Take acting classes, dance classes, voice classes (whether you’re looking to do musicals or not), get a voice teacher. Study, study, study, train, train and train. Regardless of the training route you choose, it’s important to realize that what your training offers is not just learning how to dance, sing and act in musical theater. It’s learning how to be effective as part of an ensemble. You’re there to learn what goes into a production and how to be a strong contributor within that. And you’re there to make connections that can pave the way for your future success.

NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK
Connections are a huge portion of this industry. The biggest legs up happen when someone you’ve worked with before recommends you. As much as the diva personality circulates as the norm in this industry, it’s unlikely to ever help you – divas get cast despite their eccentric nature. If you work hard, are fun to work with and are you – directors, writers, stage managers and producers will want to work with you again and might bring you in for consideration in their next project, or suggest you to a friend who’s looking for X for their next project. Remember that no matter how talented you are, on Broadway you will be surrounded by other talented people, so talent alone isn’t always what gets you the job. Often, an even bigger factor is your reputation and the connections you’ve made along the way. Whether you call it networking, or simply making friends, the relationships you develop in your training classes, summer stock and other experiences will play a big role in helping you build your career on Broadway.

Good Luck Erin, I hope this was helpful
Thank you comment icon Thank You Raquel. We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less if it was missing drops. Doc Frick
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Irha’s Answer

There are actually many paths you can take to get to your professional Broadway career, going through different training programs for preforming, dance, and vocals will also be similar to taking a musical theater major which will provide you with all the necessary background knowledge and skill required. Building up your experience in performances is the best way to achieve your goal, but taking a course in theater will give you the most straight forward path.
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Thomas’s Answer

Similar to any creative field, the answer is complicated. College for anything like musical theater or other acting, music majors, art, or film all will greatly help you in your creative goals but is not required for a career. So why even bother going to college? People who have answered this question already seem to have hit it right on the money. You need to network, learn, train, rehearse, audition, and practice regardless of if you go to school or not. In school, you will receive training from industry professionals or at least someone who knows the industry well. This will help with how you approach all aspects of your field and therefore you will be more prepared for different things. As a current student in the audio field, I study audio but also work with clients. You could do a similar thing where you are in school but also auditioning for shows. If something works out, there's nothing stopping you from taking a break from school to work and coming back if/ when you feel like it will be helpful.
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Anton’s Answer

As others have mentioned already, performance and training experience are essential, as well as networking and making connections in the industry. While not required, a Musical Theater degree is a great way to do these things in a structured way, with access to mentors and plenty of practice "built-in."
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Aisha’s Answer

Musical theatre performers typically have some voice, dance, and acting training. Does that mean you need a degree in musical theater to book a gig in musical theater? Not necessarily. The theatre industry is one of the rare fields where you can rise to the top without having been required to graduate from a top college program or college at all.
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