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CWRU CPH MFA Program Listed in Top 25 in World by the Hollywood Reporter

Posted June 13, 2019 in Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH (June 13, 2019) –For the second straight year, the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House Master of Fine Arts (CWRU/CPH MFA) program made The Hollywood Reporter International list of top 25 graduate acting programs.

The Hollywood Reporter, which bases its annual rankings on insight from academics, influencers and alums, released the 2019 rankings on June 10th.

Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Laura Kepley states, “I am confident that through the excellent training in the CWRU/CPH studios and by working side-by-side with top professionals in CPH mainstage productions, these talented young theatre makers will be prepared to make a significant impact on the future of American theatre.”

Donald Carrier Interim Director of CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program states, “We are thrilled to be included on this celebrated list of international theatre training programs. We provide a select group of talented, diverse, dynamic, curious, and collaborative young artists the opportunity to grow and thrive here in Cleveland, supported by our two great institutions: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House.”

In touting the program, The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Alum Rich Sommer (GLOW) swung back to his alma mater to teach a master class in on-camera acting. Eight students, out of 900 hopefuls, get a full ride plus a living stipend and—thanks to an affiliation with the Tony-winning Cleveland Play House—the guarantee of an Actors' Equity card before graduation.”

Jerrold Scott, Chair and Artistic Director of the CWRU Department of Theater and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Professor of Theater states, “Each class brings new insights and opportunities. We look forward to continuing to develop this program, and the actors we train, long into the future.”

Yale University was ranked first, followed by the Julliard School and the University of California at San Diego. The CWRU/CPH MFA program ranked 12th, above such institutions as the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and both UCLA and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Since 1996, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with Cleveland Play House. Every two years, eight actors are chosen from the hundreds who audition nationwide to join this rigorous three-year conservatory program. The CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program admits committed and bold young artists who possess a love of language, empathy for the human experience, a vivid imagination and the desire to develop the necessary physical and vocal skills for a successful and sustained career in the ever-evolving performing arts scene. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff. Program graduates include Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Buried Child), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once – Tony Award Nomination), AJ Cedeno (Z: The Beginning of Everything), Tom Degnan (Limitless), and Stephen Michael Spencer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).


Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.


Recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 CPH productions. Today, Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.


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