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Musical Theatre Workshop

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.

U-M Faculty Director: Professor Emeritus Brent Wagner

Session Dates: July 12 – August 1, 2020
Tuition: $4,725
Application Open: November 15, 2019
Priority Application Deadline: January 14, 2020
Priority Admissions Notification: February 21, 2020

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 both stage and film
  • Monologue exploration
  • Audition techniques for both stage and film
  • Tools for creating character and situation
  • Musical theatre history and history of 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.

The workshop is open to 2019-2020 high school juniors, although applications from 2019-2020 sophomores 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.

The Musical Theatre Workshop application consists of three parts.

Applications are not considered complete until all required materials are received.

Application Checklist for Musical Theatre Workshop

  1. Complete the Online Application
  2. Pay the non-refundable Application Fee of $75.00
  3. Upload your Audition Materials via Acceptd, the MPulse Online Audition Portal (details for each entry outlined in Audition Portal)
    1. Audition Videos
      1. Voice (two videos)
      2. Acting (two videos)
    2. Personal Statement (one video)
    3. Resume
    4. Photographs
    5. Transcript
    6. Recommendation Letter(s)

MPulse Online Audition Portal:
The following should be submitted:

  • Audition Videos
    • Voice (two videos)
    • Acting (two videos)
  • Personal Statement (one video)
  • Resume
  • Photographs
  • Transcript
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation

Audition Video Requirements

Upload each of the following required selections as separate video files (guidelines below):

  1. Two voice audition pieces (two separate videos)
  2. Two acting audition pieces (two separate videos)
  3. Spoken personal statement (one video)
  4. Additional Material-Optional (video)

1 – Voice (two separate video files, one song per video)

  • Upload two separate videos of the student performing a song from stage or film musicals. One song per video, for a total of two songs and two videos.
  • 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.
  • We do not accept any other types of recorded accompaniments.
  • At the beginning of each video, announce your name and the title of the song.

2 – Acting (two separate video files, one monologue per video)

  • Upload two separate videos of the student performing short monologues. One monologue per video, for a total of two monologues and two videos.
  • Prepare two short monologues (no dialects) from a full-length American play written after 1935, memorized, and in context.
  • Applicants should read and study the entire play or musical.
  • The monologues should be no longer than one and a half minutes in length.
  • At the beginning of each video, announce your name and the title at the beginning of your video.

3 – Personal Statement (one video file)

Record and Upload a Personal Statement video. In your Personal Statement video, please elaborate on the following prompts:

  • Speak about your experiences in music or in theatre.
  • 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.

4 – Additional Material (optional video files)
If you would like to include recorded selections from stage performances, upload these after the required materials. If you have any dance experience, you may also include performance excerpts.

Video Guidelines
In all video submission uploads, 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, in each video.

Audition Document Requirements

  1. Resume
  2. Photographs
  3. Transcript
  4. Letter(s) of Recommendation

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.
  • Upload the following photographs:
    • One close-up color headshot (against a neutral background)
    • One full-body (head to toe) color photograph

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.
  • The transcript may be scanned and uploaded by applicant.
  • To obtain your transcript, please speak with your school guidance counselor, who may either provide you with the transcript to scan and upload, or they may send the transcript directly to mpulse@umich.edu with the following subject line:
    • Your Name-Transcripts for MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop 2020

4 – Recommendation Letter(s)
You may have one of your current teachers (performing arts teacher preferred) assess your work in a confidential letter of recommendation. In addition to your abilities, the letter may discuss your personal characteristics such as initiative, dependability, and your commitment to increasing your musical skills.

To invite a recommender to upload your letter of recommendation, submit your recommender’s email when prompted in the online application process. Once you finalize your submission (clicking ‘Final Submit’), the recommender will receive a notification and link to submit your confidential recommendation.

E-mailed submissions will not be accepted.
You may submit a maximum of two letters.

Priority deadline for all application/audition materials to be submitted is January 14, 2020.

Admission notifications for priority applicants will be e-mailed on February 21, 2020.

For priority consideration and notification, all application and audition materials must be received by the priority deadline of January 14, 2020. Applications may be accepted after the priority deadline if openings remain. Review, admission, and notification for applications received after the priority deadline will be handled on a rolling basis, subject to space availability per each individual institute.  Space is limited.

Admissions decisions will not be given by phone.

Merit Awards
MPulse awards a limited number of scholarships to extremely talented students based on Faculty discretion.  Consideration for these scholarships is automatic for applications received by the priority deadline.

Need-Based Awards
A limited number of need-based scholarships are available.  To be considered for a need-based scholarship you much complete the online need-based financial aid application by the priority deadline.  To begin the process, select “Need Based Award Consideration” in the program application.

MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes
Office of Engagement & Outreach-Youth & Adult Programs
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Stearns Building │ 2005 Baits Drive │ Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: (734) 936-2660
Email: mpulse@umich.edu