Musical Theatre Division Audition Information and FAQs
Undergraduate Audition Requirements
Applicants for the undergraduate program in musical theatre should bring a photo and resume of musical/dramatic experience and prepare the following 10-minute voice, acting and dance audition:
- Voice: Two songs from musicals. The songs must be in contrasting styles (ballad, up-tempo); one must be from a musical written before 1960; each should be of a two-minute maximum duration; each must be memorized. Please bring copies of your music. An accompanist will be provided.
- Acting: Two one-minute, contemporary monologues; one dramatic and one comedic. Choice must be appropriate to the candidate’s age and experience; must be memorized; should be performed in the context of the play, which the candidate must be able to discuss.
Dance: All applicants participate in a dance audition. The audition is used to assess dance class placement as well as potential. Please wear appropriate dance attire and shoes (jazz or character; tap shoes if you tap). Prior dance training, while desirable, is not a requirement for acceptance to the musical theatre program.
For taped auditions, please include a one-minute dance routine.
All applicants, regardless of degree program, who audition are considered for performance-based music scholarship.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the process for choosing a voice teacher at Catholic? Can a student pick his/her own or are they placed in a studio?
During the first week of classes our musical theatre faculty will hear our incoming students sing again to re-familiarize themselves with their voices. After that, they will assign the teacher they feel would be the best fit! You may absolutely request to be placed with someone specific and that will be taken into consideration. If you do have someone specific in mind, the faculty will most likely place you in his or her studio (provided it is not full)!
How many musicals does Catholic perform in a school year and is an MT student required to do any straight plays?
There is never a lack of performance opportunities at CUA! We do two major musicals each year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. In addition, there are various cabaret and revue style productions that occur each semester as well. These productions perform at nearby theatre venues such as the Atlas Performing Arts Center and The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, to name a few. We try to make the most of the big venues in the area to encourage our students to network while they are in school. There is also a student- run theater comapny on campus, and they usually produce a minimum of two musicals per academic year. The drama department usually puts on about 6 or 7 major plays a year, as well as numerous graduate directing projects. While not required to participate, our musical theatre students are encouraged to dabble in the straight plays as well and many take advantage of the opportunity. MT students are required to take courses in straight acting and, should you choose to study abroad, your entire second semester junior year would take place at the London Dramatic Academy!
What is an MT student at Catholic's connection with any casting directors or workers in NY or other theatre-rich areas?
We have numerous master classes each year depending on who is in the area for productions or just traveling through. In the past we’ve hosted guests such as Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ricky Ian Gordon, Judy Kuhn, Dave Clemmons and many more! A professional headshot photographer is also brought in for the seniors at a discounted price. This way the seniors all have professional headshots for their senior showcase. We have a senior showcase both in D.C. and in NYC, usually some time in March. Many casting directors and agents attend these and it is a wonderful networking opportunity for our students
What is the availability for a CUA MT student to be in outside productions in the DC area, are they encouraged to audition outside the school and is it feasible with the class load?
Freshman and sophomores are not permitted to perform in an outside show during the school semesters; the reason being that we want our students to really focus on the formation of their skills during this time. The transition into college is unlike any other and, especially as a musical theatre major, the work load is heavy. It is best to hone your skills and talent before being released into the professional world (you do not want to be remembered by casting directors your senior year as someone who was ill-prepared a few years ago). Juniors and seniors are welcome to audition and, after permission is granted, perform during the school semesters. Many of our students are currently in productions at some of the major D.C.. area theatres such as Signature Theatre and Keegan Theatre. Recently both current students, and alumni have been nomintated for a Helen Hayes award. All MT students are required to do two performing internships before they graduate. Many of our students take the summer to complete this requirement. This is another great opportunity to meet professionals and build networking connections. There is an internship book in the main office that students can flip through to get ideas of where past internships have been done.
How many students start in the freshman class and how many are in the senior graduating class?
An incoming MT class will usually fall somewhere around the 25 mark (it does vary from year to year, but that is the average). The 2016 graduating senior class was comprised of 17 students. There is a re-evaluation process at the end of sophomore year after your jury. Should the faculty feel a student is not progressing the way they should, they will ask the student to switch from a B.M. in musical theatre to our B.A. in performance.
What, honestly, is the MT or even just BM community like at Catholic? Is it mostly competitive or do there seem to be friendships between upper class students and incoming freshman, where a senior would help out a freshman and such?
“I can say with complete and utter honesty that the music school community, especially the MT’s, is unlike any I have ever come across. I majored in music theatre at CUA and always felt a part of something. One of my best friends to this day was a senior when I was a freshman. The upper classmen truly do take you under their wing and want you to thrive. It is such a competitive field but here we are honestly a family. Even during audition season, while everyone is competing for the same roles, everyone still cheers people on! I will always remember my time at CUA and how lucky I was to build such strong friendships with such talented people.”
–Elise Morrow-Schap, B.M. 2010
Is seniority given to upper class students because of their rank or are leading roles decided based solely on talent?
Leading and supporting roles are decided based on talent. The only time seniority is ever taken into account is if a senior and a freshman are at the same skill level and could both do a part equally. In this situation, the senior would more than likely be given the role, but that is up to the discretion of the director. Underclassmen are encouraged to audition for each and every production and many times are given major roles.