Paper Mill Partners With Arts Platform Acceptd To Streamline Collegiate Common Pre-Screen Process For Students Nationwide

By: Jun. 26, 2019
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Paper Mill Partners With Arts Platform Acceptd To Streamline Collegiate Common Pre-Screen Process For Students Nationwide

Paper Mill Playhouse has announced a partnership with the online arts platform Acceptd and top tier university musical theatre programs to introduce universal criteria for video submissions known as the Musical Theatre Common Pre-Screen.

"Since 2015, we have seen a 66% increase in total submissions to musical theatre programs working with Acceptd," shared Don Hunter, co-founder & visionary at Acceptd. Hunter adds, "With the increased number of high school seniors applying to and auditioning for college and university musical theatre programs, a need for institutions to vet applicants early in their senior year was created and that's one way Acceptd supports these programs." For almost a decade, colleges have turned to digital pre-screen auditions to help balance the enormous influx of applicants and to determine which applicants will be invited to audition for the programs in person.

Kaitlin Hopkins, Head of Musical Theatre at Texas State University, added "Until now colleges and universities each created school-specific guidelines that would leave students applying to multiple schools with stress, confusion, and the need to create dozens of media files."

"We identified this issue in Paper Mill Playhouse's College Prep program where students reported having to create more than 30 media files to submit audition videos to eight schools," remarked Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director at Paper Mill Playhouse. "We knew we had the capacity to positively impact these college applicants. The promotion of arts education and supporting the greater musical theater community, as core to our mission gave us the motivation to facilitate guidelines with universities across the nation to relieve some of the stress on graduating seniors and provide the most inclusive process among musical theater programs."

In meetings initiated by Paper Mill Playhouse and held in New York City and Chicago, Paper Mill and Acceptd facilitated a conversation among key colleges and universities to craft common guidelines for all musical theatre pre-screen auditions. "These universal criteria are intended to streamline the digital pre-screen process while keeping with current industry standards for auditioning musical theatre performers," Stephen Agosto, Senior Manager of Artistic Engagement at Paper Mill Playhouse, described. Paper Mill will continue the conversation by launching the "Dance" portion of the pre-screen in time for the '20-'21 audition cycle.

As one of the nation's leading professional theaters and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Paper Mill Playhouse has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows to Broadway. In addition to being a pioneer in the not-for-profit regional theater movement, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey is home to a nationally recognized center for musical theater education and artist training with outreach programs that impact thousands of students each year. Paper Mill Playhouse College Prep is supported by the Harmony Helper App (

Schools that have adopted the Musical Theatre Common Pre-Screen criteria for 2019-2020 applications are:

• Boston Conservatory at Berklee

Carnegie Mellon University

• Coastal Carolina University

• College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati

• Elon University

• Indiana University

• Ithaca College

• Missouri State University*

• Montclair State University*

• Pace University

• Pennsylvania State University

• Rider University

• Shenandoah Conservatory

• Texas Christian University

• Texas State University

• Texas Tech University

• The University of Alabama

• University of North Carolina Greensboro

• University of Oklahoma, Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre

• Wright State University*

*these schools do not require a digital pre-screen, but use the criteria here for digital audition submissions

To read the new "Musical Theatre Common Pre-Screen" guidelines: CLICK HERE

Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Michael Stotts (Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the country's leading regional theaters. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. For additional information, please visit