Photo of five theater students performing onstage during the Phase 2 dedication of the Maltz Performing Arts Center

Case Western Reserve’s drama program again earns acclaim in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual rankings

Completion of Maltz Performing Arts Center, other enhancements take department 15th in the world—up three positions from 2021

Case Western Reserve University’s drama program has once again entered the spotlight. 

For the fifth consecutive year, its theater offerings made The Hollywood Reporter’s list  of top 25 programs across the globe.

Not only did it rank 15th internationally—up three slots from last year—but it also took the 11th spot among U.S. theater programs 

“We are thrilled that The Hollywood Reporter has yet again recognized the excellence of our theater program,” College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joy Ward said. “Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to open a state-of-the art theater space last fall. The addition of proscenium and black-box theaters—as well as scene and costume shops—offer even greater opportunities for our students to hone and showcase their skills.”

The Hollywood Reporter bases its annual rankings on insights from academics, influencers and alumni; this year’s list appeared in its June 18 issue.

In October, the university celebrated the completion of a years-long expansion of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center. It now includes a 250-seat proscenium theater, a 100-seat studio theater, costume and scene shops, faculty offices and a lobby with entrances off East 105th Street and Ansel Road.

The Hollywood Reporter detailed how the university’s Master of Fine Arts acting program—offered in partnership with the Cleveland Play House—has expanded on-camera training to a 15-week film acting class, a 10-week film audition class and a seven-week voiceover intensive. 

Jerrold Scott, the Katharine Bakeless Nason Professor in Theater and chair and producing director of the Department of Theater, said he’s thrilled the program made the prestigious list again this year.

“Our continued presence on the list speaks to the strength of the program’s reputation in the field, and the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, and students,” he explained, “and in particular, the leadership of Donald Carrier, the program’s director.”

The highly selective MFA program dates back to 1996, when Case Western Reserve, with one of the oldest academic theater programs in the country, and Cleveland Play House, the nation’s first regional theater, joined forces to create a three-year MFA in acting.

Just eight students are accepted every other year, resulting in an intimate, hands-on academic experience. Students begin with the Play House in their first semester, and their level of involvement increases until, by the third year, they become professional interns at the Play House.

The program has produced several notable alumni, including Rich Sommer, best known for his role as Harry Crane in Mad Men; Tom Degnan, who starred on the soap opera One Life to Live and still makes frequent television appearances; Tony Award-nominated stage actress Elizabeth Davis, and many others. 

Yale University’s program ranked No. 1, followed by the Juilliard School’s and the program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Case Western Reserve came in above offerings at Columbia University, University of Michigan, Northwestern University and Savannah College of Art and Design.

View the full rankings on The Hollywood Reporter’s website.