BWW College Guide - Everything You Need to Know About Marymount Manhattan College in 2019/2020
To help get students ready for college theatre program auditions, we're taking a closer look at some of the country's most prestigious theatre programs! We're chatting with faculty members from each school to get a better understanding of everything from audition advice to real world experience and more. Today, we're highlighting how Department of Theatre Arts at Marymount Manhattan College bridges the gap between a college education and a professional career. Find out more about the school and see their answers about their program below!
MMC is centrally located in Manhattan and offers classes that allow students to experience the richness of the city. The college combines professional theatre education and training with the liberal arts, teaching its students how to create compelling, informed, imaginative, and innovative theatre. Students are exposed to great theatre - on Broadway, Off-Broadway, along Theatre Row, and downtown in experimental theatres - and they take advantage of the best of New York City's internship opportunities.
What is the audition process for performing arts majors?
A completed application to the college and a successful audition are required for all prospective students interested in our performance based programs: BFA in Acting BFA in Musical Theatre BA in Directing Marymount Manhattan offers students the opportunity to audition on-campus in NYC, regionally, or digitally for program consideration. • For applicants to the BFA in Acting program students are required to prepare one 2-minute contemporary monologue from a published play. They will also be asked to provide faculty with one headshot and one theatrical resume. • For applicants to the BFA in Musical Theatre program students are required to prepare one 2-minute contemporary monologue from a published play, as well as Two contrasting songs, each 60-90 seconds in length (One song should be a ballad and one song should be an up-tempo). Students will also be asked to provide faculty with one headshot and one theatrical resume. • Applicants to the BA in Directing program are required to prepare a one 2-minute contemporary monologue from a published play. Additionally they will be required to successfully complete an interview with our Directing faculty where they will be asked to present a portfolio of work outlining their experiences generally within the field of directing (i.e., prompt books, scripts analyses, character analyses, conceptual ideas, floor plans, blocking notes, production photographs, or any additional production paperwork, etc.). A headshot and resume will be required for the audition. A completed application to the college and a successful interview are required for all prospective students interested in the following programs: BFA in Theatre Design & Technology BA in Producing and Management BA in Writing for the Stage Marymount Manhattan offers students interested in the above programs the opportunity to audition on-campus in NYC or digitally for program consideration. • Applicants to the BFA in Theatre Design & Technology program are required to prepare a portfolio of work outlining their experiences within the field of theatre design and technology (i.e., sketches, renderings, production photos, models, additional fine art work, etc.). Applicants should be prepared to talk about anything that speaks to who they are as a Designer and Theatre Artist. • Applicants to the BA in Producing and Management program are required to prepare a portfolio of work outlining their experiences within the field of theatre production and stage management (i.e., prompt books, prop tracking, run books, rehearsal reports, any additional design work or production paperwork, etc.) Applicants should be prepared to talk about anything that speaks to who they are as a Stage Manager and Theatre Artist. • Applicants to the BA in Writing for the Stage program are required to prepare a portfolio of work that shows their activity as a creative writer and/or playwright (i.e., full length or one-act play samples, creative writing samples, poetry, etc.). Applicants should be prepared to talk about anything that speaks to who they are as a Playwright/Creative Writer and Theatre Artist. A completed application to the college and a successful secondary theatre arts application are required for all prospective students interested in the following programs: BA in Theatre History & Performance Texts BA in Theatre and New Media
What tips can you offer to auditioning students?
Be yourself and have fun! It is important to understand that while yes, you are auditioning for a college theatre program you are also auditioning us in a sense - after all, you are trying to determine where you would most like to spend the next four years of your education. This process is all about finding out "the right fit." We are looking to get a glimpse of who you are as a theatre artist at this stage in your education/training. This shines through in the material you choose to bring in and how open and receptive you are to the entire audition process. So pick material that you are comfortable with! Our auditions are run in a classroom environment, which means that you will have the opportunity to work hands-on with our faculty in the audition and interview room. This format will give you a glimpse into our process and model for training the next generation of theatre-makers. Use this setting as an opportunity to play and create - we are not only looking for what you have prepared, but also how open you are to feedback and collaboration.
What is the approximate average class size within an arts major?
Any notable alumni you would like to mention?
It's astonishing that alum Ryan Kasprzak is the Dance Supervisor with the Hamilton resident company in San Francisco-and that we have had several alums in the show. Emmy Raver-Lampman and Tarea Campbell have or are playing Angelica and Nick Sanchez in in the ensemble plus understudy to Alexander Hamilton. We are of course proud of Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford and Tony and Olivier nominee Adrienne Warren. Jason Gotay and Mike Longo have done exceptionally well on Broadway and in National Tours. We're also proud of alums like Betina Hershey, Jessica Elizabeth and Julie Galorenzo who run theatre music companies and both teach and perform. Jonathan Norton's play Penny Candy recently premiered at the Dallas Theatre Center and Cori Thomas' play Lockdown premiered at Rattlestick Theatre. Rebecca Werner is the director of membership for PEN America and previously worked as director of member services for the Dramatists Guild. George Gountas is the lighting director for Trevor Noah's The Daily Show. We have so many alumni performing, managing companies, stage managing, directing, providing dramaturgy, designing, writing, and teaching. Please see our MMC Theatre Arts Alumni page: https://www.mmm.edu/departments/theatre-arts/alumni.php
Do you see more students interested in working on stage or off?
Our students interests are multiple and varied, and in their course of study at MMC, many decide to add a minor from a theatre-related discipline (Arts Management, Drama Therapy, Music, Arts for Communities, Media Arts), or from across the college (Business, Politics & Human Rights, English & World Literatures, for example). Students can also decide with the help of their Theatre Arts advisor to add another theatre concentration (in design, directing, playwriting, for example) to explore new interests and build additional skills. While we have an impressive number of students each year launching successful careers onstage, in film, television, and in commercial work, we also have many students who decide to pursue other paths upon graduation. Among these paths are admissions to some of the nation's most notable graduate theatre programs including Yale, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, The Goodman School, NYU, Columbia University and CalArts. Provided with a strong foundation in the liberal arts, our students are prepared to continue their education and careers in Theatre Arts or another field of interest.
What kind of real world experience outside of the classroom do you offer students during their program?
With New York City as our campus our students have the advantage of beginning to work in professional spaces from day one including the York Theatre, New York Live Arts, and National Dance Institute - along with taking classes at offsite locations such as Pearl Studios, Ballet Hispanico, and MMAC. Our location in NYC allows us to engage guest directors from the professional world work with our students. Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Patricia Birch, Larry Fuller, Josh Bergasse, David Loud and Stephen Oremus have worked on our musicals. Our students learn how to navigate a career in the arts while also learning how to take advantage of the perks of NYC. Our faculty bring their professional theatre to assist our students to gain internships and other career opportunities in Directing, Producing and Management, Theatre Design & Technology, Theatre and New Media, and Writing for the Stage. Our students have the opportunity to intern with professional theatres, arts organizations, and production offices in NYC including The Public Theatre, TCG, The Flea, Primary Stages, Signature Theatre, La Mama, Second Stage Theatre, Soho Rep, Metropolitan Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, TDF, HERE Arts Center, Women's Project, and BAM, all while attending MMC, and students often complete several internships during their course of study.
What kinds of things does your school do for students to help them succeed after graduation?
The number one goal of our program is to help our students and alumni succeed. Our senior year curriculum is designed to help students bridge the gap between a college education and a professional career in the arts. Our senior year course offerings in theatre arts include the Professional Preparation courses for performance seniors (Musical Theatre Portfolio, Musical Theatre Audition, and The Business of Acting). These courses include a showcase partnership with Actors Connection, where students are given the opportunity to perform, speak to, and get feedback from several of the industry's leading casting professionals. This showcase is also paired with a required classroom component that teaches our students how to manage a life in the arts as a freelance artist by providing them with access and knowledge of professional resources available to them in NYC. We assist all our seniors with creating a professional website and creating online content for submissions, and educate them on how to promote themselves in a professional manner on social media. In Design, Directing, Theatre & New Media, Writing for the Stage, Producing & Management, and Theatre History, students have capstone experiences and work individually with faculty to hone resumes and chart their career paths. MMC also offers students and recent alumni access to our Career Services Office, where they are able schedule an appointment to tailor a resume, gain access to an extensive database of job postings, and conduct mock-interviews to prepare for upcoming job placement opportunities.
How do you keep your program as relevant as possible to the current industry trends and how have you modernized it in recent years?
We have two new BFA programs that began Fall 2019. The BFA in Musical Theatre focusses on Musicianship, Music Theatre History, Song Studies, Scene into Song and Song Portfolio/Professional Prep and there are special topics classes including Cabaret, Pop/Rock, and Directing Musicals. Our music theatre faculty bring a wide range of professional and academic experience to our program. We are participating in the new streamlined audition process as piloted by Papermill Playhouse and are using online platforms to see students who cannot travel to NYC for an audition. We will be attending the Thespian Conference to let high schools know about our BFA. The BFA in Theatre Design & Technical Production offers students the opportunity to study with New York Theatre professionals, design main stage productions, establish professional contacts, and obtain internships with New York's major theatre designers and theatres. The program offers concentrations in Design (Sound, Costume, Scenic, Lighting), Technical Direction, and Theatrical Media Design. Since MMC is an undergraduate college, design students do not compete with graduate students for design opportunities. The small class size allows the student to interact closely with the instructor as well as peers. The Department of Theatre Arts is in constant dialogue with the ever-changing climate of the professional theatre world and we utilize this dialogue to continually shape our curriculum in a way that we believe best prepares our students to navigate the myriad ways in which theatre is created. It is our goal as a department to not only stay on top of these changing trends, but to also be at the front lines when it comes to implementing these changes into the way we conceptualize and create imaginative and innovative theatre.
Be sure to apply to Marymount Manhattan College's Department of Theatre here: https://www.mmm.edu/departments/theatre-arts/