When the cast of A Chorus Line sings, “God, I hope I get it…” it seems to apply to every hopeful high school actor and actress there is! Nowadays to be on Broadway or to work in the business not only does it take motivation and raw talent, it often requires the right training. Actors, directors and casting agents all have to start somewhere, so here we will discuss the many notable establishments that are known for educating the best of the best in theatre overall and what makes each program unique. We will randomly select schools to discuss and if there are any schools in particular that you want to hear about, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will be more than willing to cover the school!
A University of Michigan production of Into the Woods.
Head over to the mid-west and you will find a university largely devoted to music, theatre and dance. Founded in 1880, the University of Michigan, or U-M, has an extremely unique musical theatre program. This school offers equal training in music, acting and dance. The thriving program is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and costs about 54,000 a year to attend as a resident student. Not only is this University ranked as one of the best schools in the country, but they also have high ranking performing arts programs.
The school also offers many theatre-based majors: BFA in Dance, Musical Theatre, Performing Arts Technology, Theatre Design and Production, and lastly, Theatre Performance in either Acting or Directing.
A performance of Brigadoon.
U-M’s top-notch program features a particularly intricate audition process. After completing the Common Application, each applicant must submit a series of videos by Dec 1 including two contrasting 1.5 minute monologues, two 16-bar cut song selections with one song written before 1965 (they also specifically request live accompaniment!), and 1 or 2 videos featuring any level of dance the applicant may have (they ask for more if you are a strong, trained dancer). Lastly, DO NOT forget to include your best head shot and resume!
With talent and luck on their side, prospective students will be invited for a live audition in Ann Arbor or at the Chicago Unified auditions. Essentially, each performer will present the pieces they performed in their videos. At the live audition, the faculty will only ask for one monologue and at least one 16-bar cut of the student’s choice. The dance portion is held in a class setting, emphasizing classical ballet technique and a combination from a musical.
A production of Gibson Fleck.
Once accepted into the program, students take 3/4 of their classes in their major and 1/4 of general education classes to fulfill their BFA degree. A student who is pursuing a BFA must take many levels of Musical Theatre classes, different styles of dance (tap, jazz ballet, etc.), music (including voice, piano, and theory), and other various theatre classes (history, acting, technical theatre, etc.). After the first year is completed, each student must go through a second-year evaluation to determine their continuation in the program. For specific information about the coursework and the second-year evaluation, you can go to their website: http://www.music.umich.edu/departments/mustheatre/programs.htmhttp://www.music.umich.edu/departments/mustheatre/programs.htm
Some of University of Michigan’s notable alumni include Celia Keenan-Bolger, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Gavin Creel, Hunter Foster, Rachel Hoffman, Andrew Lippa, Taylor Louderman, Maddy Trumble, Shina Morris, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul. and many more! Aside from their impressive list of alumni, U-M prides itself in accepting diverse, committed, hard-working and intelligent students. U-M note these strong qualities on their website as must-haves for theatre majors at the university.
Overall, the performing arts programs at the University of Michigan are wonderful and should definitely be on every students list of schools to audition for!
Stay tuned for the next performing arts school: Hartt School at the University of Hartford!