Musical Theatre Workshop

The 2022 Musical Theatre Workshop is a wide-ranging educational program that gives students the opportunity to work with faculty members of the renowned University of Michigan Department of Musical Theatre on the campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Musical Theatre Workshop enrolls approximately 40 students and is designed for rising seniors who are considering BFA degree programs in college. Consideration is also given to rising juniors of exceptional ability and experience.

Areas of emphasis within the program include:

  • Analysis of song lyrics, and the ways music informs the interpretation of the lyrics
  • Acting techniques for songs, including contemporary and traditional repertoire
  • Broadway dance styles, taught in daily dance classes
  • Contemporary trends in musical theatre in New York City
  • The vocabulary of the field
  • Voice study, including stylistic approaches for pop songs and contemporary musical theatre songs
  • Techniques for working on monologues and scenes
  • Audition skills
  • Musical theatre history

Students will also participate in classes taught by faculty members in the Department of Theatre & Drama, as well as by graduates of the Musical Theatre Department.

Additional sessions are devoted to the application and audition process for university musical theatre programs. Students will have a clear understanding of the exploration, application and audition process by the end of the 3-week program.

NOTE: Students participating in MPulse 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Full details on the MPulse COVID-19 vaccination policy.

*NOTE: No auditions for The University of Michigan are held during the summer.

(UPDATED 4/4/22) NOTE: Students participating in MPulse 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. View the updated MPulse COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Institute Dates: July 10, 2022 – July 30, 2022
Institute Tuition: *$5,225

*Tuition for the MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop covers all instructional classes and events as well as room and board.

Applications are closed for Summer 2022!  Please check back in the coming months for Summer 2023 details.

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus and Associate Professor Emeritus of Music (Musical Theatre), Robertson Emeritus Professor in Musical Theatre

Brent Wagner was chair of the Department of Musical Theatre for 32 years and is credited with building the department into one of the top musical theatre programs in the world. Before joining the Michigan faculty in 1984 he started the Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University. He has directed musicals and revues throughout North America, from off-Broadway in New York to the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada. He has collaborated with Sheldon Harnick on numerous projects, including a new opera at the O’Neill Theater Center, as well as the world premiere of A Wonderful Life (music by Joe Raposo). Though he retired as Chair in 2016, Professor Wagner continues to teach foundational courses in the Musical Theatre Department.

Applications are closed for Summer 2022! The 2023 application will be available early this fall.

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)

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

  • Applicants should upload two separate videos, each with a performance of a song from stage or film musical: One song per video, for a total of two songs and two videos.
  • These should be a minimum of 32 bars, with a 2 – 4 bar piano introduction.
  • One song should be written before 1970.
  • At the beginning of each video, applicants should announce their name and the title of the song.
  • We understand that access to live accompaniment may be limited due to the pandemic. Our preference is that your pianist is in the room and accompanying you on a tuned acoustic piano or electric keyboard when the vocal recording is made. We understand, however, that presenting a vocal audition with live accompaniment may be difficult at this time. Therefore, we welcome applicants to submit their audition with a recorded accompaniment of the songs. (Many options for accompaniments are available online). A cappella singing is not permissible.
  • Applicants should not accompany themselves on piano or guitar.

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

  • Upload two separate videos of short monologues: One monologue per video, for a total of two monologues and two videos.
  • The monologues should be from a full-length American play written after 1935, memorized, and in context of the full play. Applicants should avoid dialects.
  • 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, applicants should announce the title of the play, the playwright, and the character who speaks the monologue.

Personal Statement (one video file)
Record and Upload a Personal Statement video. Please elaborate on the following:

  1. An impactful experience in music, theatre, musical theatre or dance which helped convince you that the field of performing arts is something you want to pursue.
  2. How you became interested in attending the MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop, and why you’d like to participate in the program.

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

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). Announce your name and the title of each selection in each video.

Audition Document Requirements (guidelines below)

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


  • 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 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.


  • Upload two color photographs.
  • These do not need to be taken by a professional photographer, but should be recent.
  • These should include::
    • One close-up color headshot (against a neutral background)
    • One full-body (head to toe) color photograph

Transcript (Note: Applicants must have at least a B average to be considered for the workshop.)

  • Upload a copy of your unofficial transcript acquired from your high school.
  • The transcript may be scanned and uploaded by the 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 with the following subject line:
    • Your Name — Transcripts for MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop 2022

Recommendation Letter(s)
One or two recommendations. These may be written by an artistic mentor, an academic teacher, or a non-relative who can speak directly to your academic achievement, artistic potential, and/or leadership characteristics.

Given the disruptions caused by COVID, we know that student/teacher relationships may have been impacted, making it more difficult for students to acquire teacher recommendations. We still encourage students to submit a letter of recommendation from a core academic teacher (math, English, science, social science, or foreign language), preferably one who instructed the student within the prior 12 months. However, the teacher recommendation may come from someone other than a teacher (not a parent/guardian, grandparent, sibling or other relative) who can address the points listed above. This might include a community organization educator or mentor.

Students should send this form to their recommender(s) to fill out. Please have the recommender(s) email their recommendation letter to

Recommendations are due by January 7, 2022, for priority deadline applicants. Recommendations for those applying by the final deadline of February 7, 2022, will have their recommendations due at that time.

The workshop is open to current high school juniors, although applications from current 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 high school to be considered for the workshop.

Merit Awards
Limited scholarships are available for extremely talented students based on faculty evaluation. Consideration for these scholarships is automatic for applications received by the application deadline.

Need-Based Awards
A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $100,000 or under in the previous calendar year, or with special circumstances due to the pandemic. To be considered you must upload your financial aid materials by the application deadline as part of your application. This includes:

  • Monthly Expenses
  • Previous Year’s Tax Return
  • Statement of Need

*Watson Scholarship
In the spirit of the life of a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School (1942) and Michigan physician, the Watson A. Young Scholarship promotes academic excellence and college aspiration among students with financial need. These need-based scholarships support middle and high school students’ participation in summer opportunities at U-M that seek to develop students’ interests and abilities in academic disciplines and expose students to the experiences and possibilities provided by higher education.

Apply for the Watson Scholarship

*Application open to Michigan residents only.

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

updated February 8, 2022