We know that the musical theater prescreen process can be daunting and time-consuming. So, we teamed up with Paper Mill Playhouse and leading musical theater programs to make it painless to navigate this process.

The College Musical Theater Common Prescreen introduces the first unified set of prescreen requirements across participating schools. To get started, explore all the schools participating in the common prescreen, prepare your audition materials, and submit your applications.

Musical Theater Common Prescreen 2020/2021 Requirements


Each piece should be filmed/uploaded as a separate piece of media. No continuous videos.


There should not be a separate “slate” video. Instead slates are to appear at the beginning of each piece. The proper slate for a song is to share your name, the song title, and show in which it appears.

The proper slate for a monologue is to share your name, the title of the play, and the playwright.


Students should prepare 2-contrasting pieces:

Universities may ask for one or either of the following song options:




Universities may ask for one or either of the following monologue options:




Students may be asked to execute one or both of the following options. Each institution is responsible for indicating their specified requirements.

Universities may ask for one or either of the following Dance options:




Please check individual school websites to see if a “Wild Card” video is optional or required

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Musical Theater Common Prescreen?

The Musical Theater Common Prescreen is an agreed upon set of criteria used for the videos that are required as part of the application process to musical theater programs. These institutions settled on given guidelines to initiate a streamlined process for both applicants and schools as well as to promote inclusivity in the admittance process.

Who can participate?

Any institution that requires a digital prescreening for applicants may participate in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen. This includes universities, colleges, conservatories (domestic and international), independent schools of theater and theater education programs.

Do institutions need to utilize an online media platform such as Acceptd or Slate to be part of this initiative?

No. Participation is voluntary and not dependent on affiliation with any organization. The Musical Theater Common Prescreen is not a centralized online platform. Instead it is a set of guidelines applied to a program’s existing application process. Each individual institution will continue to receive applications and digital media. Wherever guidelines are listed, schools should state that they are a participant in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen and list the options they have chosen.

If a program does not use a digital prescreening process, can they be involved?

Any program may utilize the criteria for any number of screening opportunities including digital audition submissions and live auditions. Heads of Department should contact Stephen Agosto at Paper Mill Playhouse (SAgosto@PaperMill.org) so their name can be added to the master list for press and distribution and to identify how their program will be using the guidelines.

Is this Common Prescreen linked or associated to the Common App?

No. The word “common” was utilized to promote inclusivity and to reinforce that one “common” set of guidelines would be recognized amongst various musical theater training programs.

Does this take the place of or change the criteria for a live audition?

No. Schools are urged to keep their live audition criteria as specific to their individual program needs as possible. We recognize that the audition process communicates the culture of a school and believe that students can learn greatly about an institution by what is asked of them in their live audition.

What does it cost the university to participate in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen?

There is no fee to the school or to the student. Institutions will continue to set their own individual application fees.

What categories of required material does the Musical Theater Common Prescreen cover?

The MTCPS set criteria for “Song”, “Monologue”, and “Slating” requirements in 2019. The areas of “Dance” and “Wild Card” have been added to the 2020-2021 audition cycle.

What changes if any can we expect for 2021-2022 in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen?

An expanded set of Dance criteria will be rolled out for the 2021-2022 audition cycle. This includes pre-choreographed combinations at three levels of aptitude. More information will come in Spring 2021.

There are two options for each category. Do institutions have to choose just one or can use both?

Institutions may use one option, both options, or allow the student to choose either option.

Are institutions permitted to change and tweak the verbiage in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen?

No. To be a participant, an institution must utilize the verbiage verbatim. The promotion of “common” verbiage is what will create ease of process and discourage confusion and questions.

Are you an institution that would like to adopt the Musical Theater Common Prescreen Criteria?

If you are an institution that would like to participate in the 2019–2020 Musical Theater Common Prescreen, please contact Stephen Agosto, Senior Manager of Artistic Engagement at Paper Mill Playhouse.

Email: SAgosto@PaperMill.org