New List Ranks Oklahoma City University Among Top Conservatories

Wednesday, October 16th 2019, 8:29 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

Oklahoma City University is ranked among several esteemed East Coast conservatories in a new list by Playbill.

The list ranks the top ten schools for alumni appearing on the Broadway stage.

Along with the likes of Julliard and New York University, OCU has one of the highest numbers in the country of alumni on the big stage.

“People don’t really hear about OCU a lot, but people always say that our reputation precedes us,” senior acting major Emily Wollenberg said.

That reputation brought Wollenberg to the university in the first place.

“You know, this little private school in Oklahoma City is making a name for itself on the biggest stage in the US,” Wollenberg said.

Even before the published list quantified the odds of going from the school stage to the big stage, Opera and Musical Theatre Program Director David Herendeen said he knew he had something special.

The school’s alumni include Broadway stars Kristen Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara.

“When I go around to people in the business, they know our school, that ‘OCU,’ those three letters mean something in the industry,” Herendeen said.

Herendeen credits the program’s success to hard work, talent and the Oklahoma Standard.

“Our people that are working and on Broadway actively show kindness as we bring in our students, who are naturally anxious about the big industry of Broadway. They show a kindness and a nurturing, that I like to think is different from our school,” Herendeen said.

Wollenberg said she’s already experienced that hospitality from alumni.

“I’ve talked to alumni before who have said, ‘If you move to New York, I'd be happy to show you around the city or give you a place to crash for the day,’” Wollenberg said.