Welcome to the online companion of our book, Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for Students, Teachers, and Parents.
Giving a successful college audition is incredibly challenging and takes months of preparation. Our book will walk you through every step of this process, from figuring out where to audition and choosing audition material to deciding where to attend. Each chapter focuses on a question central to the audition process with special sections for the student, teacher, and parent. This book, which has been vetted by professionals on both sides of the table, offers honest, practical advice that will make auditioning for college a positive experience for all involved.
Purchase the book by clicking here.
Below, you will find a host of resources related to the book. We will continue to update these resources, as college auditions continue to evolve in the coming years.
10 Things I Wish I Knew as a First Year Theatre Major (OnStageBlog.com)
Being a Musical Theatre Major Isn't What You Think (Educational Theatre Association)
Point-Counterpoint: Should You Get a Theatre Degree (Theatremania.com)
When Paying Dues Doesn't Pay the Rent (The New York Times)
Activity: Comparing Degrees
Click here to download Theatre & Performance Studies Major Requirements at Kennesaw State University
Click here to review the Degree Plan at Oklahoma City University
Answer the following questions and prompts through your research of the above curricula:
Find the course description for AADS1102 at Kennesaw State University.
What differences do you see between OCU's Bachelor of Music degree and KSU's BA degree?
Which institution requires more General Education credits?
Which institution will have you studying Shakespeare in Acting V?
If you had to decide between these two institutions, what program would you pick and why?
Which institution laid out their curriculum in the clearest way?
Make a list of questions you might have for an admissions councelor after reviewing each curriculum.
The Case for a B.A. in Musical Theatre (American Theatre Magazine)
College Auditions from the Parent Perspective: Part I (OnStageBlog.com)
How to Choose Between College or Conservatory for Theatre (Playbill.com)
Majoring in Musical Theatre (MajoringinMusic.com)
Why I Decided Not to Get My BFA in Musical Theatre (BroadwayWorld.com)
4 Tips for Finding the Right Headshot Photographer (Backstage.com)
Acting Resume Template (DailyActor.com)
8 Things You Want in a Voice Teacher (Backstage.com)
How to Choose an Acting Teacher for Your Child (Backstage.com)
How to Find the Right Dance Class (Backstage.com)
College Audition Timeline (CollegeMTGuide.com)
How Dancers Should Prepare for Musical Theatre Auditions (Backstage.com)
Joaquina Kalukango Isn't Afraid to Speak Up Anymore (New York Times)
The (Less Than) One Percent (Dramatics)
Activity: Finding Your Essence
Ask a peer (preferably a fellow young performer) to join you in answering the following questions for each of you:
List six adjectives that describe you and your partner.
Name the first three musical roles you can think of that match you and your partner's essence.
Name three other out-of-the-box roles you feel you and your partner could play, even if their attributes may not necessarily align with the actors who originally embodied those characters.
Discuss the similarities and differences in how you see yourselves. If there are notable differences, consider why that might be. Recognize that how we see ourselves is deeply personal. Create safe space for challenging conversations that may arise as a result.
An Incomplete List of Musicals Written by BIPOC Writers
Click here to download the spreadsheet
8 Elements of a Perfect Audition Song (Backstage.com)
Five Types of Audition Songs for College-Bound Performers (MusicalTheatreResources.com)
A Monologue Should Serve You (Dramatics)
Performing in Contemproary Musicals- Chapter 7 (Routledge Press)
The Ins and Outs of Selecting Audition Repertoire (MusicalTheatreEducators.org)
Click here for An Incomplete List of Musicals by BIPOC Writers
So in Love
Click here to listen to "So in Love" from Kiss Me, Kate (1948)
Click here for Version 1 - Audition Cut of "So in Love"
Click here for Version 2 - Audition Cut of "So in Love"
Activity: Cutting Monologues
Click here to download the Monologue Cutting Activity
Auditions: How to Cut Your Music (StageAgent.com)
Cutting a Monologue from a Scene (StageBitedotcom.Wordpress)
How to Mark Your Music for an Accompanist (Backstage.com)
How to Shorten a Monologue (OurPastimes.com)
Preparing Sheet Music for Auditions (MusicalTheatreEducators.org)
How to Cut Your Sheet Music for Auditons (Ashlee Espinosa)
Click here to download a list of action verbs
Translate the Words
Click here for Video 1
Click here for Video 2
3 Tips for Organizing Your Audition Binder (Backstage)
Audition Attire (CollegeMTGuide.com)
Audition Packing List (CollegeMTGuide.com)
Get into a Better Pre-Audition Headspace with a "Heroic" Playlist (BulletProofMusician.com)
Questions to be Prepared for in the Room (Acceptd)
What to Eat and What to Drink Before Singing (Voice-Lessons.com)
Your College Audition Checklist (Dramatics)
Audition Advice: How to Slate (ContemporaryMusicalTheatre.com)
College Musical Theatre Common Prescreen Criteria (Paper Mill Playhouse)
Click here for the Unifieds website.
Audition Do's and Don'ts (Dance Informa)
Be Yourself in Order to Be the Character (Backstage)
The College Admissions Timeline: Tips for Parents (U.S. News and World Report)
How Meditation Can Help Your Acting Career (Casting Frontier)
Videos and Prescreens (CollegeMTGuide.com)
7 Tips for Making the Final College Choice (Road2College.com)
10 Questions to Ask a Musical Theatre Program (College MT Guide)
10 Tips to Make Your Final College Choice (U.S. News & Word Report)
Appealing to College for More Financial Aid (The New York Times)
Before Deciding on a College, Look Closely at the Financial Aid Letter (The New York Times)
The College Admissions Timeline: Tips for Parents (U.S. News & World Report)
How Colleges Know What You Can Afford (and the Limits of that Tactic (The New York Times)
College Auditions: The Parent Perspective (OnStageBlog.com)
College Audition Spreadsheet
Below is a sample spreadsheet young artists and parents should create together to keep track of the many deadlines and requirements each school has. We’ve included some fun inside jokes for musical theatre geeks like ourselves on these completely fabricated institutions. Enjoy finding them!
Of course, you should feel free to modify this to your own needs. You might find other categories that are important to your particular situation. By all means, add them.
Click here for Sample College Audition Spreadsheet
Summer Musical Theatre Intensives
Below is a list of summer musical theatre intensives offered in the United States and a few abroad. This is not a comprehensive or recommended list. Ask your teachers if they know of other opportunities in your area and make sure to research the intensives as you would a college program.
Click here for a list of Summer Musical Theatre Intensives
Overdone or Inappropriate Songs
It’s impossible to list every song that may be either overdone or inappropriate. The list of writers, shows, and songs that go in and out of fashion changes all the time. When in doubt, consult a musical theatre professional about what (not) to perform.
Click here for Overdone or Inappropriate Songs
Song Recommendations by Voice Type
Similar to Appendix C, these songs will also go in and out of fashion. Also, not every song listed here will be appropriate for everyone in a particular voice type. We hope this short list will get your imagination going about other songs that might right for you.
Click here for Song Recommendations by Voice Type
Overdone or Inappropriate Monologues
Click here for Overdone or Inappropriate Monologues
Monologue Recommendations by Genre
Click here for Monologue Recommendations by Genre
Six Steps to Learning a New Monologue
Click here for Six Steps to Learning a New Monologue
Six Steps to Learning a New Song
Click here for Six Steps to Learning a New Song
Click here to watch a video demonstration
Sample Audition Cuts
Included here are three different examples of audition cuts: 16-bar (consecutive), 16-bar (copied and paste) and 32-bar. Note how easy they are for the pianist to read.
“You Don’t Know Love”from Falling to Earth
Music by: David Sisco
Lyrics by: Tom Gualtieri
This is the simplest scenario for an audition cut: singing the last section. You’ll notice this 16-bar cut is actually 20 measures long. Not a problem. Remember: always finish the thought in your audition cut.
Make sure to lightly cross off any music that is not pertinent to your audition cut. Also bracket off the start of the audition cut and write “BEGIN,” just to avoid any confusion. The cut is only two pages, which will allow you to place it in your binder without making the accompanist turn a page. These kinds of details are very much appreciated.
As noted above, highlight any important changes in the music, such as metronome mark, meter and time signature. This will draw the accompanist’s eye to them when sight reading, helping them to support you better.
Again, your accompanist will be playing hundreds of songs the day of your audition - do anything you can to make their lives easier.
“Moments of You”
Music by: David Sisco
Lyrics by: Tom Gualtieri
In this cut, you’ll notice we skipped from page 2 to page 5. It just so happened that removing the first chorus and second verse of the song made for a very clean audition cut. This is unusual. Splicing a cut like this will most likely require more pages. Wherever possible, consolidate by cutting extraneous music out and pasting the audition cut together. If you have access to Finale, Sibelius, or someone who uses these programs, they may be able to create cleaner audition cuts for you. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but can be very helpful. Use your judgment and put all your auditions cuts in front of a professional (preferably a knowledgeable voice teacher or vocal coach) before your audition.
Also notice that this cut is 23 measures long, featuring a full verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. Again, this is OK. As mentioned in Chapter 6, many contemporary songs don’t cut as easily as their Golden Age counterparts. As long as you deliver your song with conviction, the folks behind the table won’t be counting measures.
When stopping in the middle of the song, make sure to mark “END” and cross out any music that isn’t pertinent to your audition cut.
“Moments of You”
Music by: David Sisco
Lyrics by: Tom Gualtieri
Reprinted with permission
This is an exact 32-bar cut featuring the bridge, chorus and coda of the song. Make sure to mark the score as notated in each of these three examples.
Wild Card Interview Questions
Some institutions will interview you, either during or separate from your audition time. Try to relax, listen to the question, and look at the person who spoke to you.
Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with theatre.
Why do you want to come to our school?
What other schools have you applied to? *
Of the musicals you have seen which is your favorite? What did you love about it?
What shows have you performed in? What was your favorite role and why?
What are you looking to get out of this program?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Do you have any special skills you can show me?
Why do you want to be an actor?
Why did you choose your monologue/song?
What questions do you have for us?**
* This is an unfair question to ask, but we know colleges ask it anyway. You can avoid a direct answer by talking about what you’re looking for in a school, and that their institution exemplifies those qualities.
**Always have a question prepared that can’t be answered by looking at their website. It will show them you’ve done your homework and are truly interested in their school.
School Score Card
You may want to develop your own system of grading each institution, but if you desire a template, click here.