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Musical Theatre Workshop


Key Information

U-M Faculty Director: Professor Brent Wagner

July 15 - August 4, 2018

Priority Deadline: January 19, 2018




The Musical Theatre Workshop is a wide-ranging educational program that gives students the opportunity to work on the Ann Arbor campus with faculty members in the renowned University of Michigan Department of Musical Theatre. The Musical Theatre Workshop enrolls approximately 40 students and is designed for juniors and seniors who are considering BFA degree programs in college.


The workshop is open to 2017-2018 high school juniors, although applications from 2017-2018 tenth graders of exceptional ability and experience are considered. Admission decisions are based on a student’s application (including training and experience), recommendation, transcript, and audition. Applicants must have at least a B average in a rigorous college prep program in order to have their audition reviewed.

Workshop offerings

Workshop topics will include:

  • an analysis of song lyrics
  • acting techniques for song interpretation, including songs from shows currently on Broadway
  • dance styles of major choreographers
  • contemporary trends in musical theatre in New York City
  • the vocabulary of the field
  • voice study, including stylistic approaches for pop songs and contemporary songs
  • the wide range of repertoire for performers
  • monologue exploration
  • audition techniques for both stage and film
  • tools for creating character and situation
  • musical theatre history and musicals on film

Workshop students also will participate in a wide variety of master classes with faculty members from the Department of Musical Theatre, the Department of Theatre & Drama, and the Department of Dance. Graduates of the Department also teach classes. Extra sessions are devoted to the application and audition process for university programs. Students will have a clear understanding of the college exploration, application and audition process by the end of the 3-week session.

On the final Saturday, parents will be invited to the last class of the workshop for an informal demonstration of the techniques studied during the three weeks of the workshop.

Note: No auditions for The University of Michigan are held during the summer. Participation in the MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop should not be viewed as an "audition" for the school.

Application Procedure

The application consists of four parts. (Applications are not complete until all requirement materials have been received.)

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee
  • Audition Upload
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation



Written Requirements (Upload)

  1. Resume: Upload a copy of your resume, giving details of your training and/ or experience in music, theatre, and dance. Please be sure that your resume upload is in PDF file format. Any and all other file types will not be supported. NOTE: Although not required for the audition, the ability to read music is extremely valuable for participation. Please be sure to describe your music reading skills in your list of training. Also, list any instruments that you play and the length of study.
  2. Photographs: Upload two color photographs. Photographs do not have to be professionally taken, but should be recent.
    • ONE color close-up
    • ONE color full-body (head to toe)
  3. Transcript: Upload a copy of your unofficial transcript acquired from your high school. Applicants must have at least a B average in a rigorous college prep program in order to have their audition reviewed. Transcript may be scanned and uploaded by applicant.
  4. Recommendation: (Maximum 2) Ask a teacher (performing arts teacher preferred) who knows your work well to write a confidential recommendation for you. In addition to your abilities, the letter should discuss your personal characteristics such as initiative, maturity, leadership skills, and the ability to work with others. To invite a recommender, submit your recommender's email address, when prompted, as you upload your audition. Once you finalize your submission, the recommender will receive a notification and link to submit your confidential recommendation. Requests are often sent very close to the priority deadline. Your submitted application is considered "on-time" even if your recommendation is received a few days after the priority deadline.

Performance Requirements (Upload)

Upload each of the following required selections as a separate file. Make sure that your face is clearly visible, with your upper body fairly near the camera and the background simple, uncluttered, and not too bright (e.g., in front of a window). Try to include a full-body and close-up shot at some point in the recording. Place the microphone close to you and away from the piano. Use an acoustic piano (not electric keyboard) and make sure that the piano has been tuned. Announce your name and the title of each selection.


Voice (two separate files)

Upload two songs from stage or film musicals. These should be a minimum of 32 bars, with one song written before 1970. We strongly prefer that your pianist be in the room and accompanying you on a tuned acoustic piano when the vocal recording is made. As a last resort, you can sing with an acoustic piano accompaniment that your accompanist has recorded for you at an earlier time. We do not accept any other types of recorded accompaniments.

Vocal Audition Preparation Suggestions

The following are suggestions for choosing and preparing music for your MPulse MTW audition upload.

Choosing your music:

  1. Choose songs with which you can communicate a specific situation in a clear context with an objective (goal). Make the situation as honest and specific as possible.
  2. Do as much as you can to give the song a progression. What happens or changes as the song proceeds?
  3. Select material that is suitable for your age and experience.
  4. Choose songs which fit comfortably within your range.

Preparing your music:

  1. Include a 2-bar or 4-bar introduction for each song. Make sure that the introduction leads clearly and naturally to your entrance in the song.
  2. Be absolutely certain that you are singing correct words, notes, and rhythms. Explore the lyrics of the song as carefully as you explore the music.

Final vocal tips:

  1. Do not try to sing too high or too loudly. An enormous number of applicants present songs in keys that are too high for them to show themselves at their best vocally.
  2. It is wise to work with a skilled accompanist.
  3. Do not use a chair or props in the vocal audition.
  4. Check with a teacher to be certain that you are singing on pitch.


Acting (one file)

Prepare a short monologue (no dialects) from a full-length American play written after 1935, memorized, and in context. Applicants should read and study the entire play. The monologue should be no longer than one and a half minutes.


Monologue Preparation Suggestions

The following suggestions may assist you in choosing and preparing monologues for your MPulse MTW audition upload

  1. Choose monologues that are appropriate for your age and experience.
  2. It is best to select monologues from plays, as opposed to special material written for monologue books.
  3. Avoid historic styles, such as Shakespeare, and verse or poetry. Avoid dialects.
  4. Use good judgment in selecting the monologues, avoiding pieces that may be inappropriate because of language or situation.


Personal Statement (one VIDEO file, required)

  1. Speak about your experiences in music or in theatre.
  2. Discuss how you became interested in attending the MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop at The University of Michigan.

If you do not include the personal statement, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed for consideration for the workshop.

Additional Material (optional)

If you would like to include recorded selections from stage performances, upload these after required materials. If you have any dance experience, you may also include performance excerpts.


Admission Notification

Priority deadline for all application/audition materials is January 19, 2018. Admission notifications for priority applicants will be e-mailed on February 23, 2018. Decisions will not be given by phone, and decisions cannot be released prior to the notification date.   

Late applications may be accepted while space is available, however priority will be given to applications received by the priority deadline. Admission and notification after the initial deadline will be on a rolling basis.

As a courtesy to the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Workshop faculty and to the other applicants, please notify the MPulse office and withdraw your application if you commit to another summer program anytime during our review/decision notification process.


Tuition, Fees, and Scholarships

Please visit the Tuition, Fees and Scholarships page for more information.



The General Information page includes many important items.


"MPulse was an incredible experience. I have never been a part of such an immersive environment before. The faculty was unbelievable, challenging me to reach new goals that I never even knew I was capable of in the most supportive way. I could not have asked for a better three weeks!"
Michael, MTW 2014, NJ
MTW 2014 groupMPulse Musical Theatre Workshop Dance Class MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop on WDC stairsmtw3

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower