Where will you be this summer? For many students, summer is a time to hone your skills, hang out with friends, and explore opportunities. If you have an interest in musical theatre you should consider applying to a summer musical theatre intensive.
Musical theatre intensives prepare you for your future, connect you with professionals, and allow you to explore new possibilities. We’ve broken down what it’s like to be a student of one of these programs. Learn what a typical day is like, who you’d meet, and why you’d have the best summer ever!
Finding your college fit isn’t always easy. You might be concerned with class size, campus setting, performance opportunities, and, of course, cost. However, one criterion you may have overlooked is professional experience. If you’re interested in what opportunities are available for theatre students, look no further. The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) have created a spectacular opportunity for theatre students through a musical theatre alliance.
Summer stock is truly it’s own amazing, tiring world! If you have ever worked with a summer stock company or are currently performing with one, you know these things to be true:
You learned an entire full-scale musical in two weeks. Or better yet – two full-scale musicals in two weeks that will perform in repertory.
You make just enough money each week to (gratefully) survive on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ready for the best four years of life? Well, here they come! College allows you the freedom to become the person you are destined to be while studying the thing you absolutely love the most. You’ll develop lifelong friends and make memories that you’ll never forget. And if you are a Musical Theatre/Theatre major you have a plethora of things to look forward to within your major!
Here are the top 5 things you should be getting excited about:
You’ll be surrounded by people who speak your language…finally.
Booked it, Riff, Bevel, Fierce, Kick-Your-Face and Living are just a few of the words that will be in your daily conversation with your classmates. You can talk about all of the musical theatre goddesses you are stalking on Youtube everyday if you want. You’ve found your people at last, my friend.
Your class schedule will make your non-theatre friends laugh.
Your day starts with ballet, then you have a quick break before Scene Study where you are currently playing an 80-year-old woman, then you have Clowning and your day ends with Improvisation where everyone will be improvising their feelings and then talking about how that made them feel for 2 hours!
I had a chance to connect with some of the fine folks at The American Musical Theatre Academy of London and New York to chat about what makes their programs so unique. If you are a college grad ready to enter the profession but need some further guidance and connections, or you’re an aspiring musical theatre performer looking to train at a conservatory – be sure to check out AMTA’s Preparatory Program or their Professional Development Program. Check out their insightful answers below to gain some valuable insight into AMTA:
Can you tell me a bit about your two different locations – NYC and London? What opportunities are unique to each?
We have always had an American edge on the way that we train and in our ethos, it made sense that the next natural step was to harness that and open a school across the pond in NYC. Having the connection between the 2 biggest theatre districts in the world allows us to bridge the gap and bring together talent and relationships, something we’ve noticed that has not been done before.
We already have a proven track record in London and after being open for 5 years now we can boast of students working in major musicals, films, tv programs, commercials and cruises.
Both cities have their own unique selling points, not just necessarily from a musical theatre perspective but also from a cultural perspective. In London, of course, we have access to the West End, to the National and the RSC and have experts in not only musical theatre but also Shakespeare and other iconic British playwrights available to teach. In New York there is endless scope for learning from Broadway professionals and celebrities whom we have contacts with.
I had a chance to interview Greg Kunesh, retired chairman of the Musical Theatre program at the University of Oklahoma, and I gathered some amazing insight from a man who has seen quite his share of auditions! Check out some of his answers below:
What advice do you have for students entering the college audition process?
I recruited not just students, but families – this is a field or discipline that you choose because you cannot not choose it. It’s a lifestyle choice that is extremely demanding and you and your parents need to recognize that the training at the university level is just a part of the continued training you’ll do your whole life. You need not only your personal commitment, but commitment and support from your families as well. Read more
You want to go to a program that has everything you’ve dreamed of and more. A school with incredible faculty, super impressive alumni and a rigorous performing arts program that will make you the best you can be. You only want to go to a school that will give you the biggest leg up in the industry. So, in turn, you are only going to look at the “top” programs.
However, here’s the deal: the title of this blog was misleading. I’m not going to list the top programs.
Frankly, I don’t know if I fully buy into the idea of a “top” program that universally fits every student. I think this is very subjective (which I will elaborate on later) and also a top program for one candidate may not be a top program for another. What YOU need to thrive is probably not identical to what your best friend needs.
Ask yourself this: do I know WHY I want to go to this program? Or do I just have this on my list because I heard it is a good school? I’m always leery when a student puts a school onto their list just because they know it is “top tier” but they don’t actually know why or if it’s even a good fit for them.
When considering what makes a top tier program “top tier” – there are certain credentials that most students look for. I’d like to demystify the top three myths of what makes a top tier program and hopefully enlighten you to also look for some additional criteria when putting together your college list.
If you tuned in to our post last week, you are now familiar with the characteristics that make up a quality college audition monologue. Are you ready to learn where you can actually find these amazing monologues? Well, you are in luck! Today we will be exploring that very topic!
Here are some ideas as to where to begin your search:
Playscript’s Free Read of the Week
Reading plays doesn’t have to empty your wallet! Each week the folks at Playscripts (an independent publisher of new plays and musicals) send out an email blast with a free play to read. Many of the plays have featured roles for teenagers and in turn there are lots of potential monologues to be discovered! What’s better than a free play being delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for their email blast here. Read more
For college auditions, you’ll need to have a solid repertoire of college audition monologues. At minimum, you should be prepared with two contrasting contemporary monologues and one classical.
Contemporary Monologues are monologues from Chekov to today. Ideally, you should be choosing a monologue with modern language that was written in the last ten to twenty years. Alternatively, Classical Monologues are pre-Chekov and include (but aren’t limited to) the following playwrights: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster, etc.
Now that you know the definitions: what should you be looking for in a monologue? What makes up a quality college audition monologue?
For starters, here are three qualities that define a top-notch monologue: Read more
5 Myths of the Audition Room
Auditions can be a tense and nerve wracking experience for anyone. Sometimes the worst part of an audition can be when it’s over and you start to overanalyze! Before your next audition, check out our debunking of some common myths below:
You’ve spent months preparing the perfect cut for your college audition only to have the auditor stop you before you finished. This can feel crushing in the moment – but, truth is – they may have heard exactly what they needed to hear. Sometimes auditors spend more time with students who don’t immediately “wow” them or students who appear super nervous, so they can get a better feel if they are a good fit. Read more