Performing Arts: Musical Theatre BFA
Your résumé plays a minor role in your admission decision. It provides us with some insight into your experiences and interests. All performing arts applicants must submit a theatrical résumé that may include, but is not limited to, their experience in:
Résumés are submitted through the Stagedoor section of the Application Portal.
Your audition plays a primary role in your admission decision. It gives us the opportunity to evaluate your talent and potential, and determine if you would be compatible with our program.
The Musical Theatre audition is composed of three separate audition components: monologue, voice, and dance./p>
Please prepare two 2-3 minute contrasting monologues from two contemporary plays, one of which must be comedic. You may not be required to perform both monologues, but be prepared to do so. Choose pieces that are important to you; we are looking for honesty and a strong commitment to what you are doing. At the audition itself, you may be asked to work on your pieces improvisationally, so be sure to have memorized your monologues through exploration rather than by rote.
Please prepare 32 bars each from two contrasting musical theater songs of your choice. You may not be required to sing both selections, but be prepared to do so. We will provide an accompanist at every audition in every location, so please provide easy-to-read, easy-to-handle sheet music in the proper key. No taped accompaniment or a capella singing will be accepted.
For the dance portion of the audition, come prepared to perform in a classroom setting and bring practical clothes, including one of the following types of footwear: jazz shoes, jazz sneakers, character shoes, or any lightweight sneakers suitable for dancing.
The Audition Day
Applicants who are required to complete a musical theater audition (BFA Musical Theatre) book themselves into a four-hour audition period. Please arrive 20 to 25 minutes prior to the audition start time. You will be directed to the check-in room where audition staff will confirm your arrival and take a photo of you. This photo will be the headshot associated with your record and audition and it will only be used internally at Emerson College for the audition process. We will not accept alternative headshot photographs in any form.
Anyone accompanying you to the audition will be directed to the Parent Waiting Room. On most audition days in Boston, the Performing Arts Admission Coordinator will conduct an information session for parents in the Parent Waiting Room during the audition.
The auditions will begin with a brief question and answer period with the audition’s faculty evaluators, after which applicants booked into the four-hour time period will be split up into two groups. One group will complete the dance component of the audition while the other completes the acting and voice components. The two groups will then switch and the process will repeat until every applicant has completed every portion of the audition. You will be given ample time to change into appropriate clothes.
For the acting and voice components, all applicants will volunteer when ready to be brought into the audition rooms individually. As stated above, you may be asked to work on your pieces in a manner that is different than how you prepared. Also, the evaluator might take an opportunity to ask you some questions about your understanding or interpretation of the piece, as well as a few questions about you. Our goal is to understand who you are and how you work.
Once your audition is complete, you must check out with the audition staff in the check-in room. After that, you are free to leave. Although you might be finished early in the allotted time slot, please be prepared to stay for the full four hours.
Auditions Outside Boston
We endeavor to run all of our auditions, in or out of Boston, in the same way. But there are a few differences for auditions outside of Boston:
- Parents and applicants share the same waiting room.
- Although we are able to start each audition with a question and answer period for the applicants with the audition’s faculty evaluators, we are not able to offer an information session for parents.
- All Musical Theatre auditions start with the Q & A, then complete the group dance call, and end with the individual monologue and voice component. The applicant order of the individual monologue and voice auditions is determined by volunteer.
- One evaluator sees all three musical theater audition components.
We recommend that you select contemporary monologues (written in 1950–present) that you can easily relate to and are appropriate for your age. Should you be drawn to a pre-1950 European play, please consider a contemporary translation. We prefer that you avoid verse plays as the language often becomes more of a barrier than a window.
We do not recommend pieces from films or original material. If you choose your piece from a monologue book, please be aware that many other actors may have also and your choice, as a result, is likely to be overdone. Make sure you have read the whole play from which you chose your monologue; we may wish to discuss it with you.
For the voice component, select pieces that will best show your strengths as a musical theater performer. Due to time restrictions, you may only be asked to sing one song. Please prepare two and perform your strongest one first.
The focus of the dance component is to assess your ability, potential, and presence. Be ready to listen, and be ready to move.
Finally, remember we are most interested in seeing who you are in the audition. We want to see you reflected through the characters you play and the pieces you perform. Pick good material for yourself, prepare it, and do it well. We want to see skill and potential, so play to your strengths.