WCSU recognized among ‘Top Five Theatre Colleges in Connecticut’
Theatre news and review service OnStage cites VPAC facilities surpassing Broadway venues

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University has received recognition as one of the “Top Five Theatre Colleges in Connecticut” in a newly released survey published by the online theatre news and review service OnStage based in New Haven.

The 2016 survey, posted on June 4, ranked the WCSU Department of Theatre Arts among Connecticut’s five best college programs on the basis of diverse criteria including comparison of educational cost and value, location, facilities, faculty, curriculum strength and contributions to career development and success. OnStage editors observed that the annual survey aims to provide guidance for high school students interested in pursuing a college degree in theatre by “researching virtually every theatre program out there to come up with our suggestions for which theatre programs are the best choices.”

The OnStage profile of the WCSU program placed special emphasis on students’ experience in productions at the Visual and Performing Arts Center’s MainStage Theatre and Studio Theatre, described as performance spaces that offer “technology and functionality beyond many Broadway venues.” OnStage also cited the access of theatre students to state-of-the-art rehearsal studios equipped with audio/visual technology and sprung dance floors, as well as dressing rooms and other specialized facilities incorporated into the design of the VPAC so that “students may experience a professional-quality arts education.”

Pam McDaniel, chair of the WCSU Department of Theatre Arts, said the university’s “Top Five” ranking along with the University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, the Hartt School and the Yale School of Drama reflects favorably upon the educational quality of Western’s theatre arts curriculum as well as its superior facilities for instruction and performance.

“Our goal has been to provide the highest-quality educational experience in theatre at the price of a state school,” McDaniel said. “In recent years, we have been able to offer programming in theatre arts and musical theatre that takes advantage of our close proximity to New York City. We have been able to engage instructors who are active within the industry and with extensive performance history on Broadway. We look forward to future growth and continued strengthening of our program.”

The OnStage selection of WCSU among the state’s elite theatre programs marks the latest in a series of regional and national honors garnered this year by the university’s theatre arts program. Western’s Department of Theatre Arts production of “Parade” received five national awards this spring at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. Western’s presentation of “Parade” won top honors for “Outstanding Production of a Musical” and “Outstanding Choreography,” with individual awards earned by WCSU Musical Theatre Coordinator Tim Howard as “Best Director,” Matthew Grasso for “Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical,” and Shaylen Harger for “Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical.”

“We are all very proud of our new facility and what our Department of Theatre Arts has accomplished,” Interim Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts Jamie Begian remarked. “It is an honor to be considered as a ‘Top Five’ program along with the other fine institutions cited in the OnStage list.”

The OnStage report of the “Top Five Theatre Colleges in Connecticut” is available at
www.onstageblog.com/columns/2016/6/4/the-top-five-theatre-colleges-in-connecticut. For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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