Colleges For Musical Theatre Major --- Part Four

Click here to go to the NEW College Discussion Forum

Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Colleges For Musical Theatre Major --- Part Four
By Sheeprun (Sheeprun) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 10:07 pm: Edit

This is a continuation of Colleges For Musical Theatre Major --- Part Three

By Noshiksagoddess (Noshiksagoddess) on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 11:41 pm: Edit

OK, here's my question: do universities look at your theatrical background at all? I'll be auditioning for NYU Tisch, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, and Emerson, and also applying to Northwestern and Brown. I'm still on the lookout for a seventh "safety" school with a strong drama program, but that's beside the point.

I hear the audition counts for about half of your application with program like Tisch and CMU. But what about the resume they require? I've never been in a "high school show"---my charter school doesn't do plays---but I've been directing, designing lights and costumes, and stage managing with a children's theater comapny since age 12 and I recently obtained funding for and started my own teen theater company. I've been in probably 40 community productions by now, including the world premiere of a play that Cap21 (the NYU studio) recently bought.

So...does all that matter? Or is it all based on the 10 minutes in the audition room?


By the way, even in conservatory programs, do grades help? A lot of people have been asking if low grades will hurt you...well, I have a 4.17---does that give me an edge?

...this is probably very rambly, and I'm sorry for that. Thank you for answering.


By Mtmajor (Mtmajor) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 01:13 pm: Edit

I saw a small blurb on StageDoor manor running on CNN headline news yesterday. I know this came up before in Part 2 or 3 that's why I'm posting here.
I know it was a quick spot about 5 minutes but IMO after viewing it really isn't appropriate training for high school students. I mean it's CAMP not a pre college program like CMU or even the NYU summer program. I can't believe people would waste 3500 for 3/4 weeks going here. Typical rich "great neck" longislander NY type kids profiled.

By Ana_Id16 (Ana_Id16) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 06:26 pm: Edit

ok people, please HELPPP, i'm being faced with a major decision. i just decided i actually want to go ahead and major in MT, the thing is, im strong at singing and acting, but i'm really weak as a dancer. i mean, i can dance a choreography if i work hard at it, but i'm not the best at auditioning, at least not for dance. so how much would the dance audition hurt me, at any college or conservartory offering MT? can i still get in with a low dance score? im a junior, so i dunno how much more time i have to learn how to dance, i have a really busy schedule because i take all AP courses and am currently in two concerts, two musicals, and one dramatic production as a lead or major supporting performer this year, plus im directing and playwrighting for another half-hour one. don't ask how i'm doing all that, the point is i don't have time to schedule in dance classes. ive danced since i was little though, so i know the terminology and everything, i just got bad at it sometime during the 6th grade and stopped dancing. i COULD drop the one dramatic performance i'm doing (arsenic and old lace, my first one without music, actually, and in a lead comic role, also my first of this kind) and that would give me time for dance classes, but should i do something this drastic? or should i not worry about it? also, how crazy does double majoring in psychology and MT sound? pleaasee i need help quiiick....

a thousand thnx,

By Shauna (Shauna) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:17 pm: Edit

Dear Ana/Distressed,

It's good that you have the insight to realize your strengths and weaknesses in theatre. But I wouldn't give up on your dancing just yet. First of all, if you have danced at all during your life, you can't be completely uncoordinated. Secondly, you are only a junior. This means that you have a year and a half to touch up your dancing before you have to start auditioning.

I myself am not in college yet, but am a senior beginning the application/audition process. From everything that I have heard, the professors are far more interested in what your audition is like than what your resume looks like. Therefore, if you really think your dancing needs that much work and your only option is to sacrifice the shows you are doing, I would advise you to fit in dance classes however you can.

On the other hand, however, some colleges don't even have a dance audition or place very little emphasis on the students' dancing skills. For instance, when I went to visit NYU - Tisch, I was able to see some of the students dancing. While some of the students were obviously adept at dancing, there were also a substanial amount that were definitely quite a few levels below the others. And I consider NYU - Tisch to be a fabulous institution and one of my top-choice schools.

You go to college to LEARN, and I don't think they want anyone they can't teach. They do want someone who wants to improve themselves, but is still confident in the abilities they do have.

I suppose my bottom line here is: learn to be confident about your performing no matter how much experience you have (and show that you have an eagerness to learn), but if taking dance lessons will make you even more confident, I would strongly recommend taking them. You still have plenty of time before you audition.

Hope this helped some!


By Cbs57 (Cbs57) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:46 am: Edit

Dear Ana/Distressed,

About the double majoring: yes, I do think it is crazy to double major in musical theater and psychology. Musical theater is a triple major to begin with and most BFA programs are very intense.

As far as the dance goes, there are a number of schools that want you (the girls especially) to be exceptional dancers going in, but most just require you to be a "singer that moves well".

Quite a few good schools do not even require a dance audition. So the question about taking additional dance - it really depends on where you want to go. What schools you are interested in auditioning at?

It also depends on your abilities. You say you have taken dance in the past but are a weak dancer. Do you feel you could ever become a "dancer that sings" or will you alway be a "Singer that moves well"? If you don't feel you will ever be a great dancer, I would concentrate on the musical theater programs that stress music and acting and don't require a dance audtion.

By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 11:38 am: Edit


Cbs57 hit it on the nose . . . First, there's no way you'll be able to do a double major at any credible MT program, there simply are not enough hours in the day. You need to realize that a top notch MT program is a 10-12 hour/day, 7 day/week endeavor(with minimal time off for good behavior).

As for being less than a great dancer, that really should not be an insurmountable problem as long as you can "move well" and are a superior singer/actor. From personnel experience, my kid graduated from CCM and never was, and is not now, a real dancer . . . but her other strengths created a total package that both got her accepted and through the program.

By Dancersmom (Dancersmom) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 12:18 pm: Edit

Here's a list of a few schools that do not have a dance audition:
Boston Conservatory
I'm sure that there are several more. As others have told you, you still have time to work on your dancing before you have to start auditioning. If you could find one hour a week to take a class at a local studio, you might feel more confident going into your auditions. I work part-time as a dance accompanist for a major university's prep department. The university began offering a beginning ballet class for their prep musical theatre students three years ago. There were several high school students enrolled in the class who had never danced before. All of them were also enrolled in a beginning MT dance class. All of them made very good progress. Several have been accepted into top MT programs. None of the kids, by any stretch of the imagination, are dancers. As for not getting accepted into a good program because of low dance skill,I don't think anyone is equally skilled in all areas; we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. A good MT program will help you address your weaknesses while improving your strengths.

By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 05:02 pm: Edit


Conservatory programs generally look at your audition, they will have an interest in how you developed your talent, but in the end it's the audition that will make or break the deal. As for grades, conservatory programs are trade school not college, and academic performance is typically not a major factor in who they accept. For a conservatory program that is part of a university, such as CCM, you will need to meet the minimum academic requirements for the university, but having high marks won't influence acceptance to the MT program.

As for not having done any high school plays . . . take heart. From personal experience that is not an issue. My daughter never did a show for her high school, she was too busy doing community theater from Kindergarten through high school. . . and she was accepted to and graduated from CCM.

By Cluelessmc2 (Cluelessmc2) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 05:56 pm: Edit

Who can tell me something more about Roosevelt?
I check it out - Chicago isn't so far away from Mpls. It would be a lot easier hauling all the grandparents to see a show in Chicago then say Pittsburg. But other than being mentioned I haven't heard much. Sam seems to want a real college experience - though he is so focused I feel he would do well at a conservatory. Can anyone give us feed back on Roosevelt?

Thanks for your help.


By Missteph (Missteph) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 11:03 pm: Edit

Roosevelt is in an awesome location in Chicago! It's right on south Michigan Ave, within a nice walking distance from the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute, Grant Park, a Corner Bakery (my favorite)......but something didn't click right with the school. I know this is just my personal opinion, so keep asking other people to benefit from many opinions. It's in an old hotel building, which can be kind of cool. The program didn't seem as rigorous or cut-throat as the one at CCM, CMU, or DePaul. I don't know. I think the main thing for me was that I crave a really nice campus feeling, yet you're still in a city. This was just a big old building. I hope I'm not offending anyone! Have you been to their website and read about everything they have to offer?

By Idontknow (Idontknow) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 01:49 am: Edit

For Shauna on your post about scholarships that are offered to students with good academic records... I know that CCM through the University of Cincinnati offers the Cincinnatus (not sure if I spelled that right) scholarship for students who score a certain score on their SAT's and have a certain GPA. Hope this helps a little... sorry I don't have more knowledge about other schools!

By Chrisru (Chrisru) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:49 am: Edit

We visited Roosevelt this summer when we were in the area. As Misssteph said, the setting is wonderful and the architecture is amazing. They are building a new dormitory that would be there for our kids in 2005. My son's main concern with the program was the lack of musicals. I think they only do 1-2 a year with about 10 plays. I wasn't clear how they offered the general ed classes. If they are in the main building, I would think there is not much to choose from. If they are not in the main building, as the dance classes aren't, the students would have to use the el to get there. To us, it seemed the positives were the location and the negatives were the focus away from music and dance with more on drama. It's worth a visit if you get to Chicago. If you go, I would be curious to hear what you think.

By Cluelessmc2 (Cluelessmc2) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:01 am: Edit


It seems with the exception of OCU and another school that I can't remember right, now that 1-2 musicals is about all any of them offer. That is one of the first questions we ask and most have responded with about 2. On top of that I would say 50% of them do not allow freshman to audition, which Sam said would drive him crazy. Does anyone know of other schools that do more than 3 musicals year? This past year he did three musicals, two musical reviews and one play in which they added a song. That's what keeps him happy.

By Chrisru (Chrisru) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 03:01 pm: Edit

CCM does more than 1-2 musicals. I can't find an exact number, but they do more shows. David's schedule is similar to Sam's, and it would be hard on him to do no shows. Some of the schools do a freshman showcase, which would help.

By Idontknow (Idontknow) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 03:41 pm: Edit

CCM is doing 5 musicals this year... "On the Town", "Marat/Sade", "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", "Working" and a new dance musical. In addition to those five there are also the freshmen and senior showcases. Hope this clears up the questions!

By Djr (Djr) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

Hello. This is my first post to the site. I echo the thanks that so many have offered about the useful exchange here. I am a parent of a high school senior in the visiting/applying and then auditioning throes.

I have a question to those who have auditioned (or parents of those) at CCM. Two previous posts refer to the faculty trying to intimidate the candidates. Can you offer some concrete examples of the intimidation? Specific statements, questions, behavior from the faculty? Thank you.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:56 pm: Edit

Hi all! I've been reading this board for quite some time and it has been so helpful!! Thank you for the time and dedication you put into this! Okay, here's our situation. My daughter is a senior in HS with much professional experience under her belt. (Touring ensemble, professional teen theater, etc.) She has an excellent voice, acts well and dances. She is blessed living in an area where her exposure to top-notch drama/vocal/dance teachers has been profound. Her resume is extensive. The dilemma is her grades. She has never been a dedicated student, just a dedicated performer. So now that she is looking to apply to various schools, I was wondering how much grades play into acceptance into a school? All her teachers, coaches, etc. believe that if the audition was the only thing considered, she'd be a shoo-in. (I'm not trying to be boastful, I'm just trying to paint an accurate picture.) She would have loved to have considered Michigan or Boston, but believes they would definitely focus on both grades and audition. Her choices based on size and word of mouth are, Elon (1st choice and her stretch), Point Park, University of the Arts, Shenandoah, Marymount Manhattan, and AMDA. Her current GPA is a 2.5 (and she swears she is going to focus on academics this year.) She takes the SAT in November. I expect her language to be high and her math low.
She will have everything prepared by early November to begin auditioning, but I'm wondering if she's setting herself up for failure. What do you think? Does anyone have any experience with this situation? Thanks!

By Cbs57 (Cbs57) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:25 pm: Edit

The Hartt School of Music does 4 musicals a year. This year they are doing Wild Party, A Little Night Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and an original new musical. One of the shows that the theater majors are doing in the fall is The Crucible and some of the musical theater students may also be cast in that.

One thing to note: freshman are not allowed to perform. My daughter was not thrilled about this, but freshman year is an intense year and she did alot of tech work.

By Musictoad (Musictoad) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:15 am: Edit

Mkgsmom---I have talked with several music depts admission staff and most, if not all, said they can override the academic if there is enough talent. The gpa isn't a killer nor is a low SAT/ACT so go for it and apply. Just make sure there are enough safety schools. At some point, it becomes a lottery ticket---there are a lot! of talented kids out there. Much of the admission factor is the audition --if not all--for Schools of Music. Probably about a 75/25 ratio. That reverses if you are looking at a Dept of Music at a university/college in which case academics trade places and it becomes 75%academics/25%music. Good luck. It's going to be a hectic year.

By Mtheatremom (Mtheatremom) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:19 am: Edit

This message is for MTdad and Idontknow:

I am impressed with your daughter and you, repectively, for getting into CCM. Please tell me what other schools your daughter (MTdad) and you (Idontknow) actually auditioned for (as well as - what is the most # of schools you recommend b/c one can only do so many...) and also what was your "safety" school.

My daughter, a rising senior, is:
*a talented singer with great stage presence (high soprano, but, also with a great belt voice);
*excellent ballet and jazz dancer with compelling stage presence (has taken lessons forever) Is actually switching jazz and ballet teachers to learn a more Broadway style of jazz (less balletic);
*recently took up Tap and will continue to take this year.

With that said, she's the least experienced with acting -
*has been the female lead in school musicals, been told she has a bright future, etc....

However a common theme (that she needs to address before her auditions) with professors at a prestigious MT college have told her:
*let down her defenses and be able to fall flat on her face in class while attempting new techniques;
*she's timid about taking risks unless it can be done perfectly (too much stoic ballet training I guess...).

Any suggestions for this problem?

If you could address my 3 questions/concerns (schools actually auditioned for; safety schools and suggestions for loosening up an actor who's too restrained - believe me, the potential is there, it just needs permission to be unleashed, I suppose?!) - I would be so greatful!


By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:17 pm: Edit


There is no actual "intimidation" at CCM auditions. However, they are quick to determine if the prospective student has what they are looking for and won't waste their time with noncandidates. When my daughter auditioned the school had several of their existing freshman and sophomore students available to assist the kids at the audition. These students kept their ear to the door during the audition and when my daughter exited they quickly surrounded her and told her that they thought she would be offered admission. Their assertion was based on the fact that the faculty took the time to ask questions and talk with my daughter. If they do not see what they are looking for during the audition they simply thank the person and send them on their way. Since they only accept around 3 percent of those who audition there are 500-600 hopefuls per year who get no feedback from the audition beyond, "Thank you for coming." To most 17 year-olds, especially budding MT kids who are used to success and being fawned over, this will be very disappointing and a heavy blow to their ego. Since such an experience followed by a rejection letter puts most people and certainly most teens on the defensive it leads to lots of people who want to find blame with the school rather than accept they were just not good enough. CCM does not try to intimidate the prospective students, but they want to see how the kids act in a professional setting and it's up the prospective student to reach out to the faculty, not the other way around.

By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:47 pm: Edit


It's been many years since the school search and I really don't remember all the schools that were on her list. However, among the group were Webster and Otterbein, but there were certainly more. I remember for certain she auditioned for both as well as CCM. There was no real "safety" school. Coming from a rural area a long, long way from any major theater hub we and she really had no idea how she stacked up against the crowd (except when she won the Best Actor award at a major regional festival competing against adults from large cities). However, it was when the CCM acceptance appeared in the mailbox that it began to sink in that she was among the more select few.

Looking at how you describe you daughter I see one major concern. First and formost she has not learned to risk and to fail. Theater is about going to the edge and seeing what happens, and to teter on the edge means there is a very real chance of falling off. Going there repeatedly means you will fall off, probably more than once. One of my kids greatest strengths is to want to go to the edge and see what happens . . . and when she falls on her face get up and do it all over again. I firmly believe that her desire to push the envelope was and is what sets her apart. Of course, it's coupled with fairly strong acting and singing skills, but it's attitude and work ethic that prevail. Unfortunately, I don't have any real suggestions on how to instill this attitude in someone who's personality is already formed, but maybe openly and repeatedly discussing it may be of help. Let her know that it's OK to fail . . . and do it with more than words. Is there a chance what you see now as being timid is her learned reaction to not wanting to disappoint you?

By Idontknow (Idontknow) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:56 pm: Edit

To answer your first question I applied and auditioned for six schools, CCM, CMU, Emerson, Boston Conservatory, Syracuse and the University of Michigan. I didn't have a safety school because no school for musical theatre is a safety school, unless it is one without an audition. Six was about the maximum number of schools I was recommend auditioning for simply because once you hit that sixth audition you are really tired. The process of auditioning for colleges is honestly one of the most exhausting things I've ever done, just emotionally it begins to take its toll especially when you're waiting to here from schools. Other audition techniques I would say... don't audition for you first choice school first, don't wait until a schools last audition day to audition (unless of course that is the only day you have free), and make sure your daughter is well rested going into each of her auditions. As far as your questions concerning your daughter go she sounds as if she is well prepared to enter her auditions, but she does need to learn and will probably before this year is over that you can fail and sometimes its okay to fail. If she is worried about monologues and the acting portions of the auditions tell her to get her monologues now and start practicing them. Doing them for her drama teacher, anyone, so she can feel more comfortable. I also was afraid of failure and not being perfect the first time I did something, but I have found, this year especially, that the only way to get any better is to fall flat on your face a few times and then figure out how to make yourself better. Getting into a school or not getting into a school though is no way to judge a success or a failure it's just finding the right school and the right fit for you personally.

I agree with everything that MTdad said about the CCM auditions. There was no intimidation used at my audition whatsoever and I found the faculty to be informative and very willing to answer any questions that anyone had about the program. Every audition I attended last year was the same in that the faculty wants to be informative to the students but also wants to see how the students will answer questions and react in a professional and high stress setting.

By Ck1984 (Ck1984) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 05:44 pm: Edit

Hello everyone, I just stumbled on this convo...and just thought it was great. My name is Christopher. I'm currently an incoming Freshman to a BFA program in musical theatre. For those seniors and even juniors seeking to apply/audition to this major, I congratulate you on something thats not easy and congratulate your parents on allowing you to pursue this. I recommend The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. It is the school I wound up choosing and is just as great a choice as CMU, CCM, Ithaca, Boston, or NYU/Tisch-CAP 21. For some reasons it can even be considered the ideal choice. For one, the Hartt School is internationally acclaimed for its training programs, with distinguished faculty that come from all over the country. Second, the University is very good with scholarships. For those parents concerned about the how to pay for conservatory training, the Hartt School has performing arts/talent scholarships that range anywhere from one year of payments to full tuition scholarship. I was lucky enough to recieved a talent scholarship and am very excited about moving in this coming weekend. The school is also in the beautiful scenery of Connecticut (my home state)in West Hartford, without the hustle and bustle of New York and easy access by train to the city if need be(Boston or NYC). I also auditioned and got accepted to Boston Conservatory (not good with scholarships in general) and auditioned for Carnegie Mellon University ( a tremendous school but ridiculously hard to get into)--- I believe they accept a total of 10 into the Music Theatre Program. By the way, if anyone gets a chance to go down to a Carnegie Mellon audition..HAVE A BLAST! They are the greatest audition experience. The people are phenomenal.My mom and I ventured down there and had a great time. Keep in mind I am not considering Hartt a safety school in comparison to CMU. I agree with user idon'tknow with the statement, 'there is no safety school for music theatre'. CMU and HARTT are my suggestions, HARTT more so because its better financially, closer to the city, and has the same high quality programs as Carnegie or Boston Conservatory. Someone at Hartt mentioned to me that hartt was ranked in the top five up there with CMU and of course the untouchable CCM. Thank you for this service! I remember stumbling on this first music theatre convo when I was just starting out looking for a program and it helped alleviate some fears. I made it through and you can too! ;) Best of luck future performers!

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 05:47 pm: Edit

For Idontknow:

Now that I see you are still following this discussion (are you at school yet?) and since you were so kind to be reassuring when I was nervous about my daughter's mock auditions at CMU this summer, I just wanted to "close the circle" and let you know that she felt much the same as you described both during and after the auditions. The faculty who observed the auditions, (almost all of the summer faculty plus several members of the fulltime faculty who did not teach this summer) were very welcoming and supportive. My daughter finished the auditions feeling she had done a good job and she got positive feedback both in the audition and in several cases, after they were over. She was very excited to receive her very positive evaluations this week and find out that she has been "formally" invited back to audition. (She was less thrilled to find out that they expect her to use all different material than she used at the mock auditions - but at least now she has a whole set of tools to use to find and work on new monologues/songs!) I know that the work she did this summer and the faculty's reaction to it will really give her extra confidence for the work that lies ahead. Thanks again for your information and support. It means so much!!

By Ck1984 (Ck1984) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:49 pm: Edit

BTW...Hartt also considers performance a key element to the training program and host several performances a year...this year the school is putting on The Crucible, Picnic, A Little Night Music, The Wilde Party, and Seven Brides for Seven Gentlemen to name a few..they are also big on new musical and new play showcases and directors from New York and other major cities come in to guest direct: an excellent opportunity to explore new material and grow as an actor.....freshmen are not allowed to perform their first year, but they do get hands on training with backstage work. This to me seems beneficial as you get a solid year of training before performing. (CMU is the same way)

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:14 pm: Edit

I continue to enjoy this thread as I have a child who just began tenth grade who plans to go to college for musical theater so I keep checking in here. I also have a senior into theater but she is not going to college for that. Anyway, I want to say congrats to the students posting here who have been so successful in this very difficult field for admissions! Have a blast this year. Also the parents who keep sharing, keep it up, it is great information. Also congrats to your kids who are going and good luck to the ones in the throws of the application and audition process this fall. Theatermom, sounds like your daughter had an exciting summer at CMU and did well in the mock auditions and it is good sign they invited her to audition this fall. I wish her the best.

This is in response to Mtmajor's post from a few days ago. I have been away so am catching up. I welcome your opinions on theater programs. I did not see the blurb you are referring to on CNN and have not heard anyone else mention it but I know there was a segment on CBS Early Show on Stagedoor Manor, which aired two weeks ago. My child was interviewed on it though I have not gotten to view it as I was on a trip and I cannot get the online video of the segment to work on my computer. So, I am not sure what you saw on CNN. However, you are posting that after viewing the segment you saw, that this summer theater program is not appropriate training for high school students, nor worth the money. I am not sure how you can conclude that from a TV segment. I would take more stock in your view if you had spoken to those who attend and viewed some shows or videos of productions. You also compare it to pre-college theater programs. Those programs are excellent but they are different. One difference, for example, is at Stagedoor, there are classes in all aspects of theater, some by audition such as Master Classes, plus 12 full scale productions are put on every 3 weeks. Most pre-college programs are training, but not full productions. That certainly is highly valuable as well, and just a different sort of program. I am not recommending Stagedoor over those programs, just as I would not necessarily recommend a pre-college program over Stagedoor. I know some kids who have done Stagedoor for many years and then did one year at a pre-college program to just do something different for one year before graduating, not cause they did not love Stagedoor.

My daughter just finished her sixth summer at Stagedoor Manor and is still counting. She absolutely loves the program. The place is full of kids passionate about theater. The level of experience among the kids varies. Some have an interest and have just done school productions. Some have done community theater and some have done professional theater. A few have been on Broadway even. Some have been on TV and in film. Many have NY agents, as does my own child. I have seen NUMEROUS productions at Stagedoor that are the best youth theater productions I have ever seen. The leads are usually excellent and quite talented.

While this is not that important, but so many of the kids who have recently graduated high school in the last few years who attended Stagedoor, are now at all the top musical theater or acting programs. Just in the last year or two, I know numerous kids from Stagedoor at Tisch, some at CCM, UMichigan, Northwestern, Emerson, North Carolina School of the Arts, Juilliard, and so forth. Who knows if their Stagedoor background played a factor in that. I just know they all had attended for many years and were quite successful in their theater college auditions. Some also went to schools like Yale, Harvard, and Brown, and are still doing theater there.

You mention it is like going to camp. I can assure you that it is NOTHING like a regular camp (I know as I went to camp for ten years myself). Every day and night is jam packed with hard work of many classes and rehearsals and mounting shows in just 2 1/2 weeks. Some kids, like my daughter, are not only in classes and rehearsing for a musical, but also are in a select cabaret troupe that has 12 days to mount a high level revue style show with about 40 numbers that is performed at Catskill resort hotels. It is pretty intense.

Lastly, while there are many kids from the NJ/NY/CT area, kids come from all over the country, as well as some from other countries. If you saw the CBS segment that interviewed six kids, I know five of them and they are from Vermont (my daughter), Colorado, NJ, PA, and Florida. The sixth was on Broadway. My daughter has friends at Stagedoor from numerous states around the country. So, it is not all Great Neck kids like you said. We live on a dirt road in the mountains, as far from the NY scene as you can get. There is a mom on this thread whose son went to Stagedoor and she is from Minneapolis.

So, while it is not the same as a pre-college program, it is a very valuable theater training center, just different. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but I thought I would give a view based on experience, not just watching a short news segment on TV. I do not think that is enough background info. to then go warning people that it is not worth the money or not very good training, and to categorize the kids who attend.

Stagedoor Manor is not for everyone, I am sure, but I can tell you my daughter finds it heavenly. And she does plan to pursue theater in college and beyond.

By Mtmajor (Mtmajor) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:33 pm: Edit

OMG if my mother was this nutso living through me I would definitely get her to a shrink. Listen I've been silently reading this board for a year and on every thread you go on and on about the same thing SHUT UP LADY. Great you think a CAMP that costs like 3500 for 3 weeks gives your daughter the edge for the future, whatever. I too have met plenty of SD people at school and they are so freakin arrogant. I get my opinion from more than a newscast as I have studied with a few of them. It was on CNN headline news and it had to do with the movie "CAMP". Why don't you call the station and see if you can jet by and get a copy of the tape momma rose.

By Shauna (Shauna) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 06:37 pm: Edit


Regardless of what SD may actually be like, the fact remains that Soozievt's post accurately reflected her perception of her daughter's experience there, and was polite, well-thought out, and very informative.

No matter what your intentions may have been, the fact also remains that your post was excessively opinionated, with no substantial information to back it up, and downright rude.

If you really want to help people out and give advice, come up with some facts (or at least some logic) and keep the juvenile name-calling to a minimum. Otherwise, I'd rather listen to Soozievt.


By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 06:45 pm: Edit

For Mtmajor & Soozievt,

Please, step back, take a breath, and cool the emotions. Bickering on this thread is of no help to anyone.

By Djr (Djr) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:52 pm: Edit


Thanks very much for your responses on your experiences auditioning at CCM and the probable roots of any felt intimidation factor. Good words. My intent was to learn what kinds of challenges or questions faculty might put to a candidate -- so my daughter and I might role play: how would you respond if ...

You both made the point that the candidate should hold up her end of the audition by asking questions. I agree, but I am/was under the misconception that the faculty did not engage in Q&A/discussion -- unless specifically noted in their audition information. For example, Emerson notes such. If you have any insights or could share the kinds of questions asked, please share. Thanks, again.

By Djr (Djr) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:18 pm: Edit


I have worked my way through all of Part 3, Part 2, and 1/3 of Part 1 of this discussion forum. Besides learning a great deal to share with my MT candidate daughter, I have just enjoyed the fact that people involved in or nurtuting those involved in such a competitive business are so willing to share experiences that might help others. I will certainly offer what my daughter's and my experiences are when I think they may help, as we have almost completed the college visit circuit and are now starting applications and audition planning.

I noticed that four schools often are named in the same breath: Boston Conservatory, CCM, CMU, and NYU. The forum has ample postings on CCM and NYU, but much fewer for the other two schools. My daughter visited Boston and will probably not apply/audition, but she is completely enamored with CMU after three visits. What experiences have people in the forum had with auditioning or having children audition at CMU? What do you think are the greatest strengths and weaknesses in their program? If you chose to attend CMU, why? If accepted but chose not to attend, why? Thanks.

By Wct (Wct) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:31 pm: Edit

My son has just completed his first week at CMU (acting). So far so good. He is happy.
After auditioning for 10 BFA programs last Spring CMU became his first choice. Mind you that he has entered the BFA Acting program by choice, not MT, even though he has MT training. My son felt that the CMU audition experience was the best, they made you feel comfortable and he appreciated that the people auditioning you were teachers in the program. In fact his acting teacher is one of the people who auditioned him.
Whether a college "fits" is entirely up the the personality of the student. My son wanted an intense, structured program and he says he is getting what he wished for. The MT students are considered "double majors" in a sense because the program does not give them the opportunity to take any classes outside their major. My son will be able as an acting major to take one class per semester outside of his college, (CFA). Although I do not have first hand knowledge I have heard that if there is a weakness, the weakness is probably in dance, (for the MT program). Acting and singing would be the strengths. MT students take the same acting classes that the actors do. My son chose CMU specifically for the training. He wants to be a working actor and he felt this program would give him the tools and opportunities to accomplish his goal.

As a parent I have been very impressed by the school's organization right from the beginning, (applying to moving in on campus). I have an older son in college so I have something to base my experience on. The college is very easy to deal with, in all aspects, which is very comforting to a parent who is on the west coast. It also means a lot to me that the college is pretty self contained. Most things my son needs can be found on campus or very near by.

If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask and I will respond to the best of my ability or I will find out for you. Good luck this coming year.

By Momx4 (Momx4) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 11:16 pm: Edit

I took offense at the negative comments about Stagedoor Manor also. My daughter has gone to SD for the last 4 years and I can confirm that Soozievt's post is right on target. My daughter learned a lot about MT in a supportive, encouraging, cooperative environment, having a wonderful summer all the while. She was with other kids who shared her commitment to theatre and with experienced, professional counselors from England, Australia and the US. Like Soozievt's daughter, my daughter was in the cabaret troupe that performs at Catskills hotels in addition to beiing in a musical at the same time. All this while taking classes in acting, voice and dance. Please note that the movie Camp is *loosely* based on Stagedoor Manor. I understand why Soozievt reacted so strongly to the negative comment about SD Manor. The experience for our kids there is overwhelmingly positive, has a huge effect on their lives, gives them an experience they will remember forever. It's much more than just theatre training

By Cluelessmc2 (Cluelessmc2) on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 11:33 pm: Edit


Could you share some information about the 10 schools where your son auditioned? Did he do them individually or did he attend Unified Auditions. I have been trying to find someone who could shed some more light on the NUA that I keep seeing on all the MT program web sights.

Any information about choosing and auditioning would be very helpful.

By Cbs57 (Cbs57) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 12:01 am: Edit


About the CCM audition: Both MTdad's daughter and Idontknow had good audition experiences and were admitted to the school. But my daughter's audition there was not a positive experience - and it was the only school that she auditioned at that was negative.

I believe that CCM is looking for a particular look and type, their literature states this. (and weight as per their don't eat whoppers before your audition) And if you are not exactly what they are looking for when you walk in the door, it can be a very intimidating and negative experience.

If they are not interested, you get the impression that they feel you are wasting their time. I believe that if a student takes the time and spends the money to fly all the way out there, pay for hotels and the application fees, the very least they should do is politely give them their 10 minutes.

You are right in your understanding that the faculty did not engage in Q&A/discussion at CCM (but they obviously were not interested in my daughter) - but it was the only school that she auditioned at that did not. Some questions asked at other schools:

What musical theater roles do you see yourself doing professionally? What are your favorite roles performed? What other schools are you applying to? At one school one of the interviewers, a voice teacher asked her to sing a song and then worked with her on that song. Why do you want to come here? If you couldn't perform what other career could you see yourself doing? And of course do you have any questions about our school or program? That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Hope this helps. Good luck to your daughter!!

By Cluelessmc2 (Cluelessmc2) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 12:04 am: Edit

OK I'll step in - although I normally find if you ignore the mosquito bites they go away sooner (remember I am from MN we have lots of mosquitoes). My son too attended Stagedoor. He loved it – has seen the movie Camp now 2X – some of his “drama”friends who never attended Stagedoor have seen it three, four and five times. They love it, they love the humor, they love the music and they love that it is about kids like them, kids who know who Stephen Sondheim is! Stagedoor is not a pre-college program – it takes kids as young as eight I believe. When my son attended he was going into tenth grade. I believe most pre-college programs do not take 14 year olds, so it is a wonderful opportunity for younger MT kids. It was not cheap, but as I look into MT college programs for my son and I pay for voice and dance lessons I find that none of it is cheap. And I can’t help wishing that my son would have chosen a career path where like my daughter the physics major, who is already getting job offers and she is only a junior! But then I see his face after a show and I know I will do what ever it takes to keep that look on his face. Stagedoor is for that kind of kid – but not everybody needs a Stagedoor to fulfill their dreams.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 12:11 am: Edit

Mtdad, I just want to say that I would rather not be put in the same category of posting as MTmajor. My post was not meant to bicker at all. I feel that this person put up a negative post about a theater program my child has attended for years, and it seemed to have come out of left field. I am not sure what motivated such a post. I have no problem with someone posting criticism of a program (I like hearing pros AND cons) but I would rather hear it from someone who said they had attended and did not care for this program for such and such reasons or liked another program more, or something along those lines more from first hand knowledge. In this case, the post was attributed to seeing a brief TV segment and then went on to warn others that the program is not very good and not worth the tuition.

As a parent of a happy camper, I felt compelled to give my perspective of the program from first hand experience. Others read this forum to gain insights about programs. I offered mine. I have advised people on other forums about my kids' summer theater programs (I also have a daughter who attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, also in the Catskills, for four summers, and did many musicals there). I have had people call me from all over the country as a reference about these theater programs.

Unlike Mtmajor alluded to, I do not send my child to Stagedoor Manor to get an "edge". She began going there at age 9 1/2 cause she begged to go and the rest, as they say, is history. It is her heaven on earth and she counts the days all year til she can return. She is very passionate about Stagedoor, and other parents of Stagedoorians can also attest that it is just not the theater experiences but the bonds made between the kids who share this passion. It is major factor in my child's life. I am not sending her to Stagedoor to lead to something else. While she does wish to pursue musical theater as her life's work, she goes to Stagedoor out of love for the program for the here and now.

I have enjoyed reading your posts, Mtdad, regarding your daughter's college program in MT at CCM, as you have so much first hand knowledge. I feel my supporting and explaining Stagedoor's program is along the same lines as you offering perspectives of CCM from experience. I have always offered to be available to any parent or teen out there who wishes to find out more about the programs my girls have attended and adored so much and gained so much from. That was my intent in posting about this program.

Thanks for reading.

By Wct (Wct) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 02:23 am: Edit

My son did individual auditions. We are on the West Coast so he did some in San Francisco and the rest in Los Angeles. In LA most of the auditions were held at the LAX Hilton over a 2 day period which made things easier. We spent 3 days in San Francisco and 2 in LA. A week later he went to the USC campus for their audition and did his Cal Arts audition on campus also. Sorry I can't help you with any info on NUA.
He auditioned for the following programs:
Boston University
California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS)
The Hartt School, (University of Hartford)
SUNY Purchase
The Gutherie Theater Program (University of Minnesota)

He was accepted into 4 programs. Waitlisted at 1.
He did not have the grades to get into the programs that put academics at the same level as talent. In some programs you have to be accepted by university admissions first. If you want to have a good chance in those programs pay attention to your grade point average, (especially in your junior year) because talent won't be enough!!!

The most important thing he learned in the process is that you can't please everyone. Every program is looking for something different. Many conservatory programs are having to put a group of people together who will be acting/performing together for 4 years like in a theater company or ensemble. So in some cases it has more to do with type than just talent because there are a lot of talented people out there. Some auditions were very cold. Others were very accomodating. He was accepted into programs where he thought they did not like his work, and not accepted where he thought they liked him, but also had the experience where he was accepted where he knew he had done a good audition. ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING to keep in mind. At more than one audition he was asked to do more monologues than were originally asked for and was also asked to sing a capella. Be prepared for anything!

I will add one more thing. If at all possible audition for NFAA, (National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) ARTS awards. Check out It is a great way for many educators/professionals to see your work. Deadline to apply is October 1st.

By Monkey (Monkey) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 08:41 am: Edit

You asked for a response from someone who was accepted at CMU but chose to attend elsewhere. My daughter's first audition was at CMU last fall and it was a very positive experience. They spent a lot of time with her and she was really pleased and impressed with the faculty and multitude of opportunities for MT students. After spending her senior year going through the exhausting audition process that all MT families are familiar with, she ultimately decided not to attend a conservatory progam. While pleased to know she "made the cut" at such a prestigious school, she decided to go with a school with a conservatory-like approach to MT training ( small number of students,outstanding faculty), but also a school where a third of her credits wil be gen eds. Penn State's musical theatre program is not often mentioned on this site which seems to perpetuate the myth that only "elite" schools are worth auditioning for. I strongly advise any serious MT student who is looking for an east coast program to check it out. One day spent talking to the faculty and students and observing clases is all it will take to rebuke this myth. Obviously, choosing a school that fits best is a unique and individual decision for each student and family. So many things must be considered: cost, location, options for the future. By reading most of the posts on this site it might appear that only a few "select" schools are worth auditioning for. By auditioning for a variety of programs, your son will ultimately know where he will best fit. Keep an open mind!

By Cbs57 (Cbs57) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:50 am: Edit

Congratulations to your daughter for getting into two very competitive programs. I think I read that Penn State only accepted 14 students this year - my daughter's friend being one of them.

I have to agree with you that Penn State is an excellent program it is very conservatory-like but you still get an academic education. I also liked the fact that although it is very hard to get into the program, it seemed that if you did get in, they would work to make you the best you could be.

And although CMU has an excellent reputation for theater, I do believe your daughter will have a more well rounded education and get better dance instruction at Penn State.

I agree with you when you say that choosing a school that fits best is a unique and individual decision for each student and family. I am alway interested in reading about some of the lesser known programs and I encourage you to write more about your daughter's experiences as the year progresses.

By John246 (John246) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 03:56 pm: Edit

Having been through the MT process myself, I would like to add a few thoughts from a student who lived it!

I'm from the mid west and after five college auditions, I chose Oklahoma City University (I'm a sophomore). To put it bluntly, if you or your kid are not considering this university, you are making a big mistake. It has been a wild ride my first year of non stop work and training and I can say I am not the same person I was coming in (an important question to ask yourself!). There is a reason this school produces a high calliber of vocal talent (Kristen C., Kelli O'Hara, Ron Raines, Lara Teter, Chris Merrill, Leona Mitchell) and that's the vocal training. You study classically. You do the same vocal work as people in Julliard and other opera schools. Many people are afraid they'll come out "sounding like an opera singer" which is a bunch of junk. You can't change the color and timbre of your voice, but you can strengthen and expand it. This was the only school that I found had a clear vision as to how they teach voice.

I do agree with the above post about the Cinnci Conservatory. They are an intimidating place..not because YOU let them intimidate you, but because they THINK they are the greatest thing on earth. AS I was told by one of the admissions personnel when I was auditioning "We are the best and we don't and won't settle for anything (yes folks.."anything") below our standards." Their standards are to send audition material which basically says that if you are fat, ugly and haven't studied this craft sice age 4, you will not make it. Any school that tells prospective students to go to a gym, loose weight (and we wonder why bulliema is such a problem?) and "look right" is not a school I am interested in being a part of. It's a fashion show for talented people. Why CCM has this rep for being the best is beyond me. They do have talented students, but why put up with their head games and attitude. And the above post about students listening in in corect and quite insulting. But this shows you the mind set of those who go there. It's very very competitive but in a bad way. When I was coming out of my audition, I almost hit a girl cause she was listening to my ausition. Come on! And the faculty lets this happen?? Please. It's time for these kids to grow up and worry about themselves before they worry about the competition. I go to school to learn, not be a play toy for these folks. I urge all prosective students to REALLY examine CCM and make sure it is for you. If you can put up with crap, then you'll fit right in. Also, you might want mto read a journal kept by the current "Millie" tour understudy (I believe you can see in on She was "cut" from CCM after the first year cause she was told she was not talented. And two other "Millie" cast members are also in the tour..they were cut after the first year as well.

And incidently, I was accepted to CCM and turned it down.

Now for the good news..I loved the U of Michigan. I think this is one of the premier places around. The faculty was so cool and helpful during the audition and you didn't find studentds trying to listen in and judge you. But it is a BIG school. I met a senior who had been in only one show. It is very competitive but I didn't get a real back stabbing vibe there.

I wasn't impressed with Florida State U. I guess some people need the big "party campus" lifestyle. The faculty actually seemed proud of this lable. The acting teacher I spoke with didn't seem to have a full grasp of how his department intergrated with the musical theater program. The dance section was challenging. But it didn't seem like a cohesive program.

So there are my thoughts from the front lines. As I said, OCU is the right program for me..doesn't mean it's right for you. Chooing a school is like choosing a doctor. You've got to search around and ask the right questions. But since I'm only one of about 25 in each class and they actually know my name here, this seems like the right choice.

Good luck!

By Missteph (Missteph) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 05:20 pm: Edit

John 246 -

When you said that U of Michigan is such a big school, how big are you talking? I know that as a whole, it's huge, but is the musical theatre/acting program really that big, too? Also, the thing that turns me off to OCU is the location. I'm from the midwest (IA) too, and it's already hard enough to think about moving to a bigger city without a school. So I've basically been looking at schools in more metro areas, and with big, big reps and contacts. Were there any other schools that you looked at?


By Mtheatremom (Mtheatremom) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 08:35 pm: Edit

Hi John 246,

I loved reading your indepth intelligent and personal post about OCU,CCM, Michigan and FSU. Because of your great insight, my senior (who is totally obsessed with musical theatre) daughter is going to apply and audition at OCU! We already have the application and brochures!! We have been to so many Broadway musicals and of course every time we read the cast bios we see that there are so many OCU graduates!! - so OCU must be doing some great things there.

Would you mind telling me what schools you actually applied and auditioned for? Having already gone through this you know first hand the reality of auditioning again and again for all these different schools...and the toll it actually takes on your mind and body.

What a relief to have found this discussion board...


By Cassiec (Cassiec) on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:56 pm: Edit

John 246,
Thanks for the information on your college experiences. I am looking at all of the schools you mentioned so it was very helpful. OCU is my top choice because I've heard it is a wonderful program and it's only 5 hours from my hometown.

So I was wondering if you could give me any advice on auditioning for OCU. Also, if I understood correctly, you have to send a video taped audition before you can schedule an on-campus audition. Is that true? Any advice on that? Thanks a bunch!


By John246 (John246) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 06:28 am: Edit

Glad you enjoyed my post folks! I hope folks realized that I am expressing my opinion only and your's may vary.

MTheatermom- I auditioned at CCM (accepted), U of Michigan (accepted), and Boston Conservatory (not accepted). I visited FSU and, as said above, I walked away unsatisifed with the calliber of their program and did not audition (it was only a campus vist so I had time to make up my mind). I also found out about the Steinhart school at NYU too late. I would look into that one before Tisch. But auditioning for schools puts a BIG toll on yourself cause you invest so much time and energy into just one audition. And since they're actually more than just a regular audition (the dance at CCM was almost 2 hours long), you will be exhausted. I suggest you space the dates out as much as possible. Don't do all in one month. And apply early. I got a nice music and scholastic scholarship from OCU cause I went in November before everyone else started to audition. The longer you wait, the less money is available. Also, set your audition dates ASAP. A freind also wanted to audition for OCU in the spring and the date they wanted was full and they weren't taking anymore (and CCM is even worse...start them in Sept or Oct or forget it). Also I would suggest you get some auditioning experience under your belt before you go to the schools. Go to your local community theater and audition for their show even if you can't do it. Use the song(s) you might audition work to see how they work and get yourself in the mind set of being judged because that's what's gonna happen. It will help get rid of some of the nerves of auditioning and school auditions are the most stressfull event you'll encounter in a long time!

Missteph - U of Michigan is a big school and has a big music program. I think it's somewhere in the 300 area (the whole music school). It's bigger than say OCU. Just remember that bigger doesn't mean better. I would rather take an OCU class with 15 other students than a UofM with 45. And the location is ok. Oklahoma City is a dedcent city. The school is in a nice area and has a big grocery store and other stores around it. But before you write mid west schools off, think about why you are going to school. Does it matter that the nearest shopping mall in 20 minutes away or that there isn't a Starbucks near by? If you're not on campus most of the time in class or practicing, then is the school worth it?

Cassie - I'm not sure about the video tape policy. I didn't send one in advance. I just picked a date and all the info was sent to me (including discounted hotels which was cool!). I think you could send a video if you can't make it to OCU in person, but I wouldn't recommend it. While most schools says they will accept videos, I have a feeling that very little percentage get accepted. My voice teacher was looking at a few last year (all the voice teachers have to look at all videos and all agree for acceptance) and she said that OCU really doesn't accept many students via video cause they can't tell what the person is like. And that's a BIG thing here. After my vocal and sightreading audition, the voice faculty spent 10 minutes asking me all kinds of questions (previous experience, kinds of music I like, where I see myself in 10 years) and they seemed really interested. My voice teacher said they do that to weed out the flakes and divas. That didn't happen at CCM or UoM. It was kinda like an assembly line. It was real personal at OCU. Also, for musical theater auditions, you MUST sing a classical selection (art song or foreign language song works). Since it's such a classically based program, you need to show them that you understand Mozart as well as Sondheim. It doesn't mean you have to sound like an opera singer, but classical rep is part of the MT training. We have to do 4 musical theater songs and 4 classical songs each semester and pass them in our voice jury. Also, if you haven't..get into a music theory class NOW. Study it. Know it. OCU and I assume most other top schools expect you to have a basic knowledge of music theory. I had some very basic knowledge coming in from show choir and was having a hard time my first semester. OCU hits theory hard and you have two years of it. And learn some piano if you don't. You have piano twice a week and if you can't keep up..oh well! I really like the teachers here but they won't baby sit you. If you don't want to work, you won't go anywhere at this school. You are expected to know your music, theory, dance routines and other stuff. There were some slackers in my class and now they're gone. I don't know if they left or were asked to leave (but OCU doesn not cut people after the first CCM does). And there are three musicals a year and freshman can audition (a few got leads in "Kiss Me, Kate"). I saw "Oklahoma" here last year and it was excellent!

Hope this info helps! If you have any more questions, let me know. Good luck!

By Cluelessmc2 (Cluelessmc2) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 08:46 am: Edit

John 246,

We will be visiting OCU in October and would love to take you out to a meal - you pick the restaurant we'll pick your brain. We have the option of either Oct. 10th or 17th as both days are off at my son's school. Your suggestions as the best date would be appreciated. If you click on my heading you can e-mail me directly and we can set something up. We would really appreciate meeting you.

By Missteph (Missteph) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 02:13 pm: Edit

John 246,
It's not the shopping malls and Starbucks that I'm looking forward to in bigger cities, it's being able to make contacts. So I guess my question is, does OCU do a senior showcase? I'm just scared of going to school that's far away from bigger industry cities, and not knowing how to move again, you know what I mean? It's kind of hard to explain I guess. After reading what you wrote to Cassie, I'm quite intrigued by the program, seeing as how my voice teacher is hearbroken that I'm not auditioning to be a vocal performance major.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 03:33 pm: Edit

Thank you, Musictoad for responding to my Question! That is a little more reassuring. I'm wondering if anyone has visited/auditioned Marymount Manhattan or AMDA? If so, what were your impressions?

By Jnpaul (Jnpaul) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 08:06 pm: Edit

Hey everyone. I've been at U of M for four days now as a freshman in the MT program. This is a very big year for the program, and for anyone interested in auditioning here you should definitely come to visit. In celebration of the program's 20th year, we were informed in a meeting that Sheldon Harnick and/or Cy Coleman will be coming to the university to do a concert with the current MTs, performing their music. I'll update with details. It is true that the music school is very large (close to a thousand students) but all of the MT classes are less than 30 people, including theory and piano class. The people I have met in the program are amazing, and I'm excited to update you all once classes have started.

By Missteph (Missteph) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 08:37 pm: Edit

I am very interested in U of M!! one of my friends just started as a freshman there, but not in the school of music. He told me that he'd try to do some "investigating" for me. I can't believe that Cy Coleman may be going there. If only I could have been a year older and worked to be lucky enough to be at U of M. :) Please, keep an update on how things are every once in awhile. I'm sure more people are interested. Is it alright if I contact you as it gets closer to my audition/visit?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 08:44 pm: Edit

I have been lurking on this site for the past month, and reading through the archives. Such wonderful people you are to share all of these experiences. I've seen this subject broached a couple of times but I'm looking for a definitive answer. Perhaps Jnpaul can answer for U of M. In schools like Northwestern, NYU, U of M, do you have to get into the college with academic requirements first that are in line with their profile, or do they take some consideration if you have a great resume and want to audition, and then look at the audition results as part of the application. I know some kids that cannot make the cut academically in these schools, but are triple threats par excellence. If their audition results are considered with their records for acceptance purposes, they would have a chance. If they are cut first based on what's on paper, they are wasting their time. Someone said that at NYU, for instance, you have to be accepted to NYU first, then you get an audition. Whereas I hear at CMU, the audition is a strong part of your application, so the application is not considered until you audition. Can anyone clarify and list some of the schools and whether audition is part of the process for acceptance or comes after the acceptance just for the program. Also if that is the case at NYU, what does a student do who is accepted to NYU academically but does not get accepted into the MT or drama department? I have heard that at several schools you can get accepted at parts of a department and not the whole. Anyone know the scoop? Would much appreciate the info.

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 09:33 pm: Edit


As I think recall from a previous post, you are hoping to double major in MT and classical vocal performance at Michigan. Is that still true? and do you have any sense how they are going to manage that for you? My daughter is visiting UM on Oct 1, has an appt for an interview with the the head admissions person (or so we were told) from the Music School (Ms Strozeski) and will sit in on a Musical Theater 3 class taught by Brent Wagner, the chair of the department, in the afternoon. I'm wondering how, when, or if, you expressed your interest in a double major. We're still a little nervous about how such an interest will be viewed, i.e., not really seriously commited to either one? Also, how many freshman MT's are in your class and what's the male/female split?
Thanks so much for the update and any answers you can provide. Really appreciated!

By Wct (Wct) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:27 pm: Edit


You have to have good grades to get into NYU. Admissions approves the application prior to admission after you have been recommended by a particular department,(after your audition). We were told that it was 50% grades 50% talent. I do know that 2 students from our high school were admitted, (one into directing and one into MT) that did not have great grades one of their semesters. But the majority of students who go to NYU from our school, (a performing arts high school on the west coast) have had at least a 4.0 average before entering the cap 21 program. I am sure there are exceptions to every rule. I would think that some students apply to more than one program and might get accepted to one and not the other. NYU admissions does not screen you prior to audition that I know of. At my son's audition they asked him what specific training program, (for actors there are studio choices) he wanted to go into and that they would recommend him for that program. Then they asked him how his academic grades were. He had a feeling then that admissions would not accept him because his grade point average was too low.

At CMU the audition is 85 to 90% of what gets you admitted. My son almost didn't apply because he thought his grades and SAT's would not be good enough. It was a good thing we asked for clarification for the College of Fine Arts (CFA) or my son would not be there now.

I understand that Northwestern looks at grades, essays and SAT's heavily for admission.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 06:23 am: Edit

Hi Wct - My daughter is applying/auditioning at CMU. Could you please share some of your feelings regarding the school/program? What year is your son? We don't visit until January and were just wondering what the surrounding area is like. Thanks!

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 06:34 am: Edit

Hi Wct, again. As I was going back and reading these postings, I found your entry of Aug. 29 regarding your son and CMU. It answered a lot of my questions. Thanks! What were the other 3 schools your son was accepted? How did you manage to audition at 10 schools last spring? Was he able to do that and still perform at his HS or other venue? And lastly, what is the area like at CMU? Thanks again!

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 09:06 am: Edit

Hello MT parents,
I am new to the MT process though I have 2 in college. Neither of them went through the auditions and neither of them looked for the same things as this third child either. So I am just learning this path and am so grateful to all of you.
I do, however, know Pittsburgh and CMU having lived in that area for many years and used CMU facilities for many resources.
CMU is an enclosed city campus in the cultural part of Pittsburgh, known as Oakland. It is right on the edge of a desirable residential area , Squirrel Hill. Oakland is the Greenwich Village of Pittsburgh, or as close to the Village as you get in the midwest. (Though Pittsburgh is technically considered east coast) Think Columbia located at NYU. CMU students get free public transportation and admission to museums with their student ids. They can set up a campus express account on their ids to use at many eateries and stores in the area. They are located within a mile of Pitt which is a large state school, with a large commuter population. Oakland has many museums, concert halls, the main library,little stores, restaraunts, you name it. It is about as safe as any city campus can be. If you think this is too dangerous start looking at small town, suburb, and boonie schools. This is the prime part of cultural Pittsburgh.
There is always alot to do in Pittsburgh, but because of its very strong school of Performing Arts, CMU sponsors many cultural events. There is always a performance, multiple performances on campus. Art shows, robotic displays, ethnic festivals, you name it. The school has a large international student population so between it and Pitt, the place looks like a young person's United Nations.
Though CMU guarantees 4 years of housing if you don't go off campus, much of its housing is nontraditional. In other words, there are not that many dorms and alot of the housing seems to be apartment or house, especially for upperclassmen. They are in the process of renovating their dilapadated dorms, a much needed process, but as a result, they are not at full capacity at the time, and a percentage of kids are put in leased housing that is located off campus though it is still considered on campus. There was no cafeteria, the last time I checked which surprised me. Eating is mall court style, commercial eateries, and alot of kids have kitchens in their housing so they can cook their own food. That is a main drawback to their already fragmented school. No central freshman dorm cluster, or housing cluster or cafeteria though their University Center is a gather point of sorts. Kids are housed all over the place even in university housing. Many kids go off campus because cheap flats within walking distance are easily available, and you can save alot that way since you are likely to be put in an apartment with a shared bedroom and charged what you would pay for a 2 BR privately. I know kids who were put in apartments that charged the public half of what CMU charged since they charge by the bed, not by the apartment.
Although CMU is considered the premier Pittsburgh university, it is comprised mainly of out of staters. I've been told that there are more NYers and NJ people than Pennsylvania, and though the number of international students looks normal on paper, I believe that there are 3 times that many who are US citizensfrom the Mid east and Asia. There are more males than females. It is a liberal school but the liberal sentiments are tempered by the large engineering and computer science crowd. Though sports are not considered hot by most of the students there, the university has maintained a commitment to its teams and the training, coaches, facilities, priviliges that its athletes enjoy are on the top of the Div 3 heap.
The school has always been notorious in Pittsburgh, which is always looking for job markets, in keeping its jobs within. In other words, employment on campus is not only available, it is abundent for CMU students since they are given first crack at every job. They are the envy of Pittsburgh because they tend to pay above the market. Though there are many jobs available in the Oakland area,most CMU student work for the University, and many get impressive resumes doing so. For instance, they always are looking for computer people, and pay decently and train any student for the job--great experience. Most Pittsburgher really want their kid in CMu so many of the top students there apply. Because CMU wants to be a national school, only the top row from the Pennsylvania schools get in, so the Pittsburgh kids tend to be very well prepared.
Most people enjoy visiting Pittsburgh for a weekend and it is a great city in which to live. Its biggest problem now is the lack of high paying jobs. Alot of underemployed people. CMu and Pittsburgh are definitely worth the visit, and consideration. Oh, yes, and CMU students get cross registration priviliges with many colleges in Pittsburgh including Pitt, Duquesne, and Chatham which are nearby. Pitt is literally right next door. The major hospital and research centers are also located right in the area, in particular the The Gr Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pitt's medical school stomping grounds. Public transportation and numerous shuttles are available from Pittsburgh International Airport, about a half hour away, and Pittsburghers do not tend to use taxis. Because Pittsburgh is not a huge city, suburbia with its malls and shopping strips are within 15-20 minutes away. It is a pain to have a car in Oakland, not advised, and discouraged by the university. There is little available parking, is the problem and what is available on the residential streets is controlled by resident permits which are not easily available to students. (Though I'm sure many kids have found a way). CMu is comparable to Johns Hopkins ( though CMU is in a more cultural hub), and Brown in being in a safe, large but not enormous city neighborhood. Nicer than Penn city neighborhoodwise in the eyes of a parent, I thought but that is just an opinion. Gotta see it, walk it, to make a judgement personally but hopefully this gives you a start.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 10:49 am: Edit

Jamimom - Wow!!! Thank you so much for the generous posting on CMU!! Yes, it was quite helpful and very informative. I printed out your piece and have it in the CMU folder. This was better than their catalogue! Thanks again!!

By Jnpaul (Jnpaul) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 02:16 pm: Edit

For those of you with questions about U of M. Please contact me if you are coming to visit. I am indeed planning on pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre and BM in Voice, and at U of M School of Music, this is not viewed as indecisive by any means. Most of my professors seem to look at me as being ambitious, and when you meet with Ms. Strozeski she will say the same thing. She is a wonderful person and is part of the reason I decided on U of M. This year's U of M class is unbelievably large. I believe the sophomore and junior classes have around 20 students each, one of them has 19 or 18. U of M typically accepts 30 students a year and normally, about 20 actually accept the offer of admission. However, this year, my class went against all numeric records and only one person refused admission!!! I believe there are 16 boys, leaving 13 girls in my class (more boys than girls!) So far, everything has been fabulous and I'd love to share with anyone who wants to know.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Does anyone out there have any experiences to share regarding visiting/auditioning at AMDA, Point Park or University of the Arts? I would love to hear from you! Thanks much!

By Wct (Wct) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 08:01 pm: Edit

Jamimom really gave wonderful information. Here are a few things I can add from our experience and also to answer your specific questions.
My son is a first year student at CMU and is in the acting program. He just finished his first full week at school. He loves it. It is intense but it is what he was looking for in a program so he is very happy. Lots of homework and reading. He was well prepared because he came from an academically challenging performing arts high school. He was used to an 8:00 am to 5:00 schedule with auditions, rehearsals, performances after 5:00 so sometimes his day would not end until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.
Personally, he is not totally enamored with Pittsburgh. That does not concern him because he says he has come to CMU for the training and that matters to him more than the city itself. I really don't think the conservatory kids have all that much extra time anyway.
As I have said in a previous post, as a parent I am very happy with how easy it is to deal with the school, admissions and all. This is the 2nd child I have in college and I think CMU has been the most organized and friendly to deal with. Personally I think the campus is pretty great and most everything you need is on campus or a very short distance away. Squirrell Hill and Shadyside, (great restaurants, small market and a Rite Aid with convenient hours) are very close and we found both areas to be convenient and nice. My husband had to visit an emergency room while we were there and it was very close to campus, (although health services on campus can deal with most minor illnesses).
It is true that there isn't the normal cafeteria but my son has found a new eatery on campus in the newly finished basement at the University Center that serves healthy food. Even my older son, who does use the cafeteria at his college, says the food doesn't vary much and it is all pretty much the same. At least with a food court concept like CMU's there is some variety.
There are many dorms on campus like Donner, that cater to first year students. CMU has a brand new dorm just for freshman called New House. It is very large and very nice. My son is in a smaller dorm on campus that has dedicated it's first floor to first year students, (there are 3 floors). This dorm has just been gutted and refurbished over the past year and is very nice. It is made of prime doubles, (2 to a room with a shared bathroom with the room next to them. So my son only shares a bathroom with 3 other people which he prefers to the dorms that have bathrooms that are shared by the whole floor. It is also the healthly living dorm which was his first choice. If you want you can check out this web site to get a look at the dorms

You had asked what programs my son was accepted to. Here they are:
CMU (first choice)
California Institute of the Arts in California
Gutherie Theater Program at the University of Minnesota
The Hartt School University of Hartford in Connecticut
He was also waitlisted at Rutgers in New Jersey

Was it stressful scheduling 10 auditions? Yes it was but the schools were very good at helping us juggle so that we would get all the pieces to fit. It was helpful that most of the schools schedule their auditions over the same dates in a large hotel so that you could go to one place for many of the auditions. That is what saved us. We did several in San Francisco and the rest in Los Angeles, (kind of like one stop shopping).
I do feel, looking back, that it is wise to do Juilliard auditions at the school. Maybe that is best for some other schools also but not CMU, Hartt, Boston Conservatory, etc. I am not so sure about NYU.
What ever school your child consideres I strongly feel they need to spend the night on campus to see how they like it. Sleeping Bag weekend that CMU does was a good thing to do.
As a parent one of the things I do is read the student newspaper, and look at the monthly crime statistics, (on campus). You can learn a lot from reading those publications.
Hope this helps.>Wendy

By Wct (Wct) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 08:27 pm: Edit

Regarding AMDA....
I can only tell you what 2 students that I know went through. AMDA is a 2 year program and you must be invited back for the second year. Both of the students who auditioned and were accepted have left the program. After the first year they felt that they didn't learn anything that they had not already learned at the performing arts high school they attended. They felt it was a repeat of the classes they had already taken. They were not challenged. One of them just recently finished a national tour of GREASE and the other is currently auditioning in New York.
That is just the opinion of 2 students. I am sure there are others who are happy with the training at AMDA. I do know that the students that attended are very, very talented, (trained triple threats) and have had a lot of training in and out of school so AMDA may not have challenged them. This is just the experience of 2 people. Take it for what it is worth.
This is what AMDA publishes regarding housing: AMDA offers housing to all enrolled students. Although students are not required to live in housing facilitated by AMDA, many do choose to take advantage of this service. Students are placed in fully furnished residences located in AMDA's neighborhood on the Upper West Side. While non-AMDA tenants do live in these buildings, only AMDA students are placed together as roommates. Additionally, Resident Assistants, hired by AMDA, live in the buildings and are a resource for students.
The young lady I know who attended said her residence was very small.

By Momx4 (Momx4) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 08:20 am: Edit

Does anyone know which colleges have musical theatre that non-theatre majors can participate in? My daughter has been doing musical theatre for many years, but decided she wants to do it as an EC in college rather than major in it. She is a hs senior now and the colleges she is considering have either student-run MT clubs or theatre departments that allow non-majors to audition. She is wondering if there is much of an opportunity for non-theatre majors to be cast in musicals (club or department) at schools that have well-known theatre departments, in particular NYU and CMU. We have found in our search that Penn, Georgetown, Stanford and Duke have active MT clubs. Does anyone have any experience with these? How about the Claremont colleges? Anywhere else that stands out as a good place for non-majors to do a couple of musicals each year?

By Yaz42 (Yaz42) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 09:19 am: Edit

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to update you on my recent arrival at Emerson College. I've been here less than two days, classes dont start until Monday, and I'm already knee-deep in musical theatre. I've been cast in the Musical Theatre Society's "New Student Review" for which we have until Sunday to put on a full-fledged hour long production (13 songs) from the various shows currently on Broadway.
About 150 people auditioned and it's a cast of 30 (mostly MT majors with a marketing, new media, and a couple dance majors mixed in). It's an intense 4-5 rehearsals at different parts of a single day...and its been a lot of fun (except for the having to be at rehearsal at 7am part; good thing theres a Starbucks on the way). Running around the Common, trying to make my way through the city, I have already determined this is the place for me. The Tufte and Majestic theatres are gorgeous, touring companies come through Boston all the time, you can't beat the view of the Charles River from my dorm room, and there is no limit to the opportunities to perform; you just have to try not to overschedule yourself. I am overwhelmingly excited to be here. I'd be willing to answer any questions you may have as I experience more of what it's like to be a musical theatre major.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, here's my schedule for my first semester (17 credits):

Honors Seminar
Applied Music: Voice
Ensemble Voice
Languages of the Stage
Acting I: Improvisation/Movement
Improvisation Lab
Stagecraft: Scene Paint

I can't wait.

Have to run to NSR rehearsal.


By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 09:20 am: Edit

Momx4...a quick note as I am heading out on a road trip....
It is very possible for a nonmajor to be in musical theater productions at Yale. While we were there, there were numerous productions going on and in fact, a girl from yours (and mine) daughter's summer program was playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Also we met with a girl we know from here in VT (has been in shows with my younger daughter) who was a freshman and just had a lead in a musical and was then doing a play, and was not majoring in anything at that point. Funny but the student director of her play was also an alum/friend of my younger child's from our summer theater program! Small world. I know you can do productions there without majoring.

Also on the tour at Brown, it was very much emphasized how many arts things were going on and how you need not be a major to be in the shows.

Lastly, on our trip to Tufts, we saw a sign that that night there would be a production of Godspell so my daughter and I decided to catch it. I saw in the program that a majority of actors in the production were not theater majors. So, those are a few places where we ran into this that are in the ballpark for your daughter's college list.

I have this gut feeling that doing musicals at NYU might be hard if not in Tisch, ya know? but look into it.


By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 09:28 am: Edit

Scott, you sound so enthusiastic and I am excited for ya. Sounds like you are off and running! My daughter has three friends from her summer theater program now attending Emerson for theater. One was her roomie this past summer and is a freshman like you in musical theater: Tricia V. from NJ. Also is friends with Melanie C. who is a soph, and Ilana B. from FL who may be a junior. I wonder if you are in shows with them! Have a blast!

John, I think you are the one who said you are in musical theater at Univ. of Michigan? My daughter's friend is a freshman in that...Nina S. from NY.

I wish all you young people the best time now that you are on your way in college!

I think it is great how you are sharing your experiences here. Also, it is quite something how someone here might hook up on a college tour at Oklahoma with a connection made on this forum!


By Jnpaul (Jnpaul) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 03:34 pm: Edit


Well, my name is not John, but YES I am at Michigan and indeed I know Nina from White Plains! I'm going to go ahead and suppose that she knows who you are and i'll tell her you said hello.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 11:37 pm: Edit

YIKES!sorry to call you John....was in a rush, and got the name mixed up! so sorry!
Nina is quite talented. She has performed with my daughter over many summers at her theater camp, Stagedoor Manor. I am not going to post my daughter's first name but NINA definitely knows her....tell her the girl from VT who is now 14 and who was given Nina's solo, Brother Can You Spare a Dime in the Cabaret, after Nina left...she will know who my daughter is by that alone. Nina has a terrific voice and acting talent. She is a really nice girl to boot. Small world I guess. Obviously she knows my daughter,not me, though likely has met me on various parent weekends. In fact, we ran into her last fall in a hotel lobby in NYC...I just remembered that odd coincidence!

Good luck. You guys on here are an impressive bunch and thanks for sharing your experiences.

By Canedy (Canedy) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 02:57 am: Edit

WOW!!! Thanks to all who obviously spend time to help/inform/etc.I must admit I have only been skimming thru these threads and have found plenty of useful info. I can't wait to really read them.

I do have a question and hope somebody can help.

I am a student at Fullerton community college (CA)and wonder if anybody has any tips as how to make transfering/auditioning smooth and effective into a MT program at a university. I am open to any tips/ideas/do's/dont's/etc. I need guidence, help. Thank you.

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 06:37 am: Edit

Hi Wct - Thank you for your response. The housing link you included from CMU was wonderful! And I appreciate hearing your son's reactions to the school. And the AMDA info was quite similar to things I have heard. Thanks for taking the time!

By Jhy22 (Jhy22) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:27 am: Edit

If you had a choice of studying voice (opera and MT) between someone who got their masters at Hartt verses someone who got their BS at Indiana and diploma in voice from Curtis Institute of Music who would you choose? I know there are other factors but just curious what you all think especially the parents who post here.

By Jhy22 (Jhy22) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Listen I'm 14 and I have to choose tomorrow whether to drive 40 mins or 10 mins. I have no clue who to pick, both teachers graduated in the late 90's and both have professional experience with local opera companies. My mom is clueless and said I get to choose.

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:09 pm: Edit

Just a gut reaction from a Philadelphian (the home of Curtis Institute), I'd go with the Indiana/Curtis teacher on the theory that he/she has had better technical training him/herself. I'm assuming you want the best vocal training you can get - someone who will protect your voice (you are really a little young to start "real" voice lessons) while it is beginning to develop and not push you to belt the way some MT trained people might.

However this is just one person's opinion, based on what I have observed with my own daughter's training. She was advised not to begin vocal training until she was 16 1/2 and for one year she has worked with a fabulous, classically trained teacher who has been just wonderful and we've seen great results. (And the teacher almost didn't take her at 16 1/2 because she thought she was still young; but once she heard her, she agreed to work with her)

Good luck. And remember, whatever choice you make, if you don't like it, you CAN switch - no contracts involved here. SO relax and enjoy yourself.

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:11 pm: Edit

Additional thought, Jhy22

Why not take a lesson from each one and see who you feel most comfortable with? That's also very important and certainly worth the investment.

By Cbs57 (Cbs57) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:45 pm: Edit


My daughter is a musical theater major at Hartt and is getting a very strong music education. She has been very happy with the instruction there.

My recommendation thought would be to take a lesson with each teacher. Teaching is an art in itself and I've known some incredibly talented people with great credentials that just were not great teachers. It's important to go with the person you feel most comfortable with.

It sounds like they both have good credentials, if you don't have a preference to one teacher, out of convenience sake I would start with the teacher that lives closest.

By Missteph (Missteph) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 07:55 am: Edit

I started voice lessons when I was 14, and kept the same teacher until the end of my sophomore year when I was 16. I got a new teacher at the beginning of my junior year, who didn't have as much experience as the old teacher, and had recently completed grad school - while the other teacher finished a long time ago. This teacher has done amazing things with my voice!!! I really think that one of the main factors with a good voice teacher is how you connect with them personally and musically. You'll find that some of the quirks in your teacher are usually what make them good. So, I agree 100% with theatermom in that you should do 1 lesson with each, and see how well you fit with them. Good luck!

By Jhy22 (Jhy22) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 08:42 am: Edit

Wow that sounds like a great idea but my parents want someone close unless there is big difference in training. The one that lives closer teaches at Lynn University (music conservatory division) and the other one teaches at New World School of the Arts. One sings with the Palm Beach Opera (Lynn) and the other with the Florida Grand Opera (NWSA). They both sound like great teachers and they are young which was important to me cause I have a really old music teacher who has been working with me for 2 years - just school related solo ensemble stuff. Well thank you and if there are any more thoughts Ill check back again after school.

By Topannuity (Topannuity) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 08:41 pm: Edit

My daughter is a senior (in central NJ) -- she was in all-state, regional, etc., and this summer was in a 5-week performance program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. -- She wants to go to a contemporary vocal performance only program (NOT theatre, NOT dance, NOT opera, NOT jazz). We are confused about her options. She writes and sings R&B and hip hop and does not want to get classically-trained. Does anyone know of any 4-year degree programs (anywhere in the US) that would permit her to major in contemporary vocal performance ?

By Mkgsmom (Mkgsmom) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 08:51 pm: Edit

I just got off the phone with the head of the theater department from CMU. She was wonderful in taking the time to answer all my questions. But I have a burning question that I did not ask her about. She said that 900 kids audition for 28 spots (18 in acting, 10 in MT). I am many kids show up to audition for a MT program that have a case of "the American Idol syndrome"? Meaning they woke up one random morning and declared, "hey...I can sorta sing and act. I think I'll go to college and major in musical theater" simply because they've done a few shows and were bitten by "the theatre bug".
Could someone out there with auditioning experience please give me your impression of the percentage of kids that audition that actually have a viable chance of getting in? In other words, out of those 900 kids that audition, how many are real triple threats that have worked countless years honing their skills in all 3 areas of MT? Do 450 have a decent chance, or 300, or perhaps under 100? I am just curious...Thanks!

By Wct (Wct) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 10:59 pm: Edit

To my knowledge there isn't a contemporary vocal performance major at any 4 year college. Interestingly enough I have just been asked to teach a contemporary vocal music class at a performing arts high school that has a large MT program. This is becoming a popular idea. I think kids are asking for this type of training due to the "American Idol" reality stuff on TV. This will be laying new ground at the school and I am hoping it is successful. As someone who transitioned from proffessional musical theater to proffessional night club work, (pop, R&B, and rock)it was an eye opener to me vocally and as a performer because it had a very different skill base. It is a very different world from musical theater. Hopefully there will someday be a vocal music program that will include commercial vocal music training. I will add that in my opinion the more training you have in all areas of vocal music the better singer you will become. Just like in dance, ballet is the foundation, (usually) and you learn other styles from there.

By Wct (Wct) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 11:20 pm: Edit

I read your post and put much thought to it and a few things came to mind. Applying to a competitive MT or Acting conservatory program is more than just the audition. Before the audition there is a lot of work that goes into the application process such as essays, teacher recommendations, lots of paperwork, learning music and monologues and in cases of MT programs a dance audition. For those who have done it, or as a parent who watched a child go through it, it is a lot of work. Especially when you have to do so many applications and they are all different. I would think that it would discourage many of the "American Idol Syndrome" types that you spoke of.
As in most auditions there are a wide variety of talent levels and physical types. Remeber, this is a competitive business that graduates will enter after they attend these conservatory programs and looks,(type)will play a part. It is very much a part of the audition process as is the talent component.
With all of this in mind it is hard to put an actual number on the amount of applicants who truly have a "shot" as you said.
The most important thing to think about is how to do the best audition you can do. Don't think about anyone else. It is enough to be concerned about doing the best you as an individual can do. Any thought of anything else will drive you crazy.

By Shauna (Shauna) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 02:28 am: Edit


Another thing about the "American Idol" syndrome: when I visited the MT program at CMU, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a few classes. One of these was a freshman acting class. One of the acting majors (not MT) there had never done any acting whatsoever in his life before auditioning. Lo and behold, he was extremely talented and probably beat out quite a few more "experienced" kids.

I suppose you could say he had the American Idol syndrome, but that doesn't mean he was any less deserving of a position in the program.


By Jhy22 (Jhy22) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 09:23 am: Edit

Well I still haven't decided and might take some time before I rush into voice lessons. I too am very interested in the contemporary vocal.
But I have another question????How much does LOOKS play into different programs decisions and style. Like NYU might have an edgier look compared to OK.

Isn't Kristin C. from OK? I saw where she is in that new musical called Wicked.
See I am a model and I'm hoping that gives me alittle edge - as well as my other abilities of course. I remember reading one of the programs favors "good" looking applicants. Was that CMU or CCM?

Sorry but I have another question - since my dance is weak and I already have a decent voice and acting for my age would it benefit me to take classes in dance or should I develop my voice. I use to take ballet for 3 years but no jazz or modern. I don't want to be a dancer so how important is it to MT?

By Monkey (Monkey) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 09:46 am: Edit

I don't think there is any tangible way to predict how many students really have a shot getting accepted at a top school. This is such an elusive art form and talent can be communicated in very subjective ways. Natural gifts and excellent training certainly help a lot, but the people who make the decisions are always looking for someone with potential to develop into a highly competant actor/musician/dancer. It was amazing to me that my daughter was accepted at CMU when she was in the very first audition group, six months before they saw 800 plus other students. There was no call back to raffirm this decision so they obviously have a system that works for this process. It is a mystery to me!

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 03:42 pm: Edit


A couple of questions for you and others who have already gone through the audition process:

I was surprised to hear that your daughter heard from CMU so soon after her audition. I was under the apparently mistaken impression that most of the programs looked at all, or most, of the students who auditioned for them and then made their decisions. The only exception to that, I thought, was Michigan because they have rolling admissions and you have to be accpeted by the University AND by the Music School (like NYU). If anyone has info about how/when the schools/programs you are familiar with make their decisions, that info would help as we plan when we will schedule our auditions.

Also, Monkey, when you have time, could you let us know how your daughter is doing at Penn State? What she likes, what she doesn't.... And by the way, my daughter and I decided not to stop at Penn State on the way home from CMU this summer for lots of reasons (she was pretty tired after auditions/packing, we were going to have to unpack, do wash and pack up again in one day in order to join the rest of my family in Maine, etc. ) and we thought your advice to visit when school was in session made a lot of sense. We're hoping to go out in early - mid October

Thanks everyone!

By Topannuity (Topannuity) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 08:16 am: Edit

Thanks for your insights. My daughter was in the Berklee College of Music 5-week Summer Performance program last month. The 3 Berklee college buildings are located in the downtown center of Boston. Berklee has many well-known contemprary music alumni (John Mayer, Nora Jones, several members of Arrowsmith, etc.). During the summer program my daughter was surrounded by 500 17-year olds -- all aspiring R&B and rock-n-roll artists (and the majority of whom were boys - who were musicians - not vocal majors). This is the only school we know of that has a focus on modern music performance. Our daughter feels the scool is "too small" and she is a bit leery of there not being a traditional "campus".

By Monkey (Monkey) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 11:35 am: Edit

Perhaps I wasn't clear in my last post. You are correct that most schools audition the majority of students before making their choics. My daughter auditioned in early Nov. and was accepted in May.
She is loving everything about her classes at Penn State so far. They quickly pull the MT kids together right away to help them become a close-knit group and make them feel very special. She has 2 theatre classes, a voice class, five ballet classes a week, private piano study, and an English class. All the freshman BFA kids ( nine in all ) will be teching the first musical which is King of Hearts. They will do Ragtime in February which is very exciting. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming to her, upperclass and instuctors alike. They don't like the freshman to audition for first semester shows
( Twelfth Night and SubUrbia ) and she can understand why now as she knows she needs the first semester to get adjusted to this new and overwhelming world.
You made the right decision to wait and visit in October. Be sure to call the director ahead of
time in order for your daughter to observe or perhaps even take a class or two. Students in this program get unbelievable attention and training from some of the best dance, voice and acting instructors on the east coast. Did you say your daughter's friend in a freshman there? Feel free to ask any other questions before or after your visit.

By Musictoad (Musictoad) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 05:36 pm: Edit

JnPaul--tell me more re: U of M. My D had a masterclass with a faculty member and because of that class is interested in applying. I, am leery, because of UofM's size. Too me it is just too too big. My D's hs is extremely small--less than 80 kids in graduating class. I have to admit though the faculty at UM is outstanding.

By Theatermom (Theatermom) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:34 pm: Edit


Thanks so much for the clarification. You certainly had our heads spinning!! Glad to know we don't have to rush the audition process.

The Penn State program is definitely of interest to us and I am very much looking forward to our visit. As I mentioned previously, the people in the Theatre office were very kind and solicitous when we called over the summer, giving us a lot of contact info for faculty members and we'll certainly call and make appointments before we go. Thanks also for the info about your daughter's classes, experiences etc. It's so helpful!!

By Sasha1 (Sasha1) on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 08:14 pm: Edit

Many colleges look at extra curricular activities/community service/leadership in high school to make admission decisions. With full class and rehearsal schedules it is hard to fit anything more in. Some shows my daughter has done could count for community service since they are for underprivileged children. She has also done some choreography/assistant work for childrenÕs theater workshops- but that is about it.
Do these factors matter-and to what degree? How have you dealt with this issue?
Thanks for your input

By Wct (Wct) on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 08:46 pm: Edit

What you listed as your daughter's extra curriculars are just fine. When filling out the activities/community service/leadership areas of the application put these activities down and the dates/years that your daughter did these activities. I have been told that it is the quality not the quantity of these things that matter. So if your daughter has participated in these types of activities consistently during her 4 years of high school that should be sufficient, especially the work she has done with underpriveledged kids. Each college is different so it is hard to say to what degree these factors matter, especially if you are auditioning for a college conservatory program. I do think these types of activities strengthened my son's application.

By Mtdad (Mtdad) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 12:21 pm: Edit


I agree with Wct regarding you daughter's out-of-school activities. Remember, virtually all the BFA programs in MT and especially the conservatory programs are totally aware of the time commitment required of kids with theatrical aspirations. Therefore, that she has spent most of her time in theatrical endeavors in lieu of other activities should not be an issue. Also, assuming she meets the minimum academic entrance requirements for the school acceptance into the MT program (just like being cast in a show) is based on the audition. So work on those audition skills, because they are the single most important aspect of being accepted into a top flight program.

By Eponine (Eponine) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 12:32 am: Edit

Hey! I found this board the other day, and its an invaluable resource for someone like me! I have several questions though. So many of these people have been doing MT since they were young, and have SO many productions under their belt. I'm a Junior, and I'm just STARTING to get involved in it. I've been singing for quite awhile, and I have extensive gymnastics experience, so I can move pretty well (I'm not an outstanding ballerina or anything like that), but I've just been in two productions so far (although I have lots of productions lined up for the upcoming year). I LOVE it, and it is something I seriously want to do with my life. I've been dedicating all of my free time to it, as well as working about 20 hours a week and mantaining a 4.0 in school. But my resume obviously will not be as large as many applying to the selective colleges (my dream school would be NYU). Will my chances of getting accepted be greatly affected if I don't have 20 productions on my resume? I have decided to dedicate the rest of high school to being as experienced as possible, but there's only SO much I can do. :-)Or will my audition to the school be more of a factor? Thanks so much for any input you would have.

By Telvilyaien (Telvilyaien) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 11:26 pm: Edit

Hey all! I wrote a message about a month ago, and I was moving in to school, etc., and lost track of time! SO sorry! I volunteered any info people were looking for about Elon University. Someone who saw it on this board e-mailed me asking for info, and it reminded me about this site. So in response to a request I got from someone here for more info, I will post snippets of what I e-mailed this other person (got all that?). :)
I also auditioned for NYU, Carnegie-Mellon, and Boston Conservatory. I originally thought I wanted a conservatory, but now that I am at a Liberal Arts school, I am SO glad! (By the way, when Elon students said the same thing to me during my visit, I didn't want to hear it - I thought conservatory training was the only way to go.)
At Elon, we accept between 14 and 20 Freshman a year into the BFA Music theatre program. That makes for small classes, LOTS of individual attention, and a great chance to perform a lot. You audition for everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) right off the bat as a freshman, and can get cast right away in the first show, if you are what they want for that particular production. The program is very competitve, but it's a healthy competition, limited to auditions and a professional attitude.
I have not had any teachers I felt did not really want me to develop as an actress/singer/dancer. Absolutely every full-time faculty member in the MT program knew me by name before the end of the first semester, from acting professors to technical directors.
I like the University itself, as well. The professors are incredible, and very approachable.
If you are interested in any of Elon's rankings, go to

I hope this answered some of your questions; if you need any clarification, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at!


By Jennysg (Jennysg) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 11:15 pm: Edit

I once asked this question several months ago but I know new people join in over time so I am asking again. Does anyone have any thoughts/information on the University of Northern Colorado(or is it Northern Colorado Univeristy...I can't remember)? I heard that they have a good MT program but it never seems to get mentioned on this thread.

By Mikeashton (Mikeashton) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 02:50 am: Edit

Speaking of rankings, Oklahoma City University was once again named one of the top 25 college choices for smaller college by US News and World Report. Also, the school is one of only two schools to be accepted as members of the prestigious National Alliance For Musical Theater (CCM is the other). And congrads to two new OCU theater stars. Two weeks after graduating, one girl landed a chorus role in the current "Sussical" tour and another is playing Laurie in the national tour of Broadway's "Oklahoma".

check out, select School of Music, the click on the words "School of Music".

By Momx4 (Momx4) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 10:40 am: Edit

Eponine, at the NYU info session that my daughter and I went to last fall, the rep said that they are looking for potential in the auditions, not necessarily for already accomplished performers. He said they have accepted people with little or no theatre experience but who had potential, so go for it!

By Sheeprun (Sheeprun) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 10:40 am: Edit

What a bunch of talkers! This thread is continued at Part 5.


Report an offensive message on this page    E-mail this page to a friend

Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page