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School Spotlight: American University (Department of Performing Arts)

Learn more about all this program has to offer young artists!

School Spotlight: American University (Department of Performing Arts)

American University (Department of Performing Arts)

Mailing Address:

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

American University's Theatre and Musical Theatre Program provides students with the necessary education to be able to perform, design, manage, or direct a production. Majors include Theatre, Musical Theatre, Dance, Music, Audio Technology, and Arts Management. Regardless of major or track, all students are encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills and intellectual curiosity.

Dance Department Auditions?

At American University an audition is not required to become a Dance Major or a Dance Minor. If students are interested in either program of study, it is suggested they make an appointment with the Dance Program Director to discuss how the Major or Minor could be a good fit for their interests and to map out their plan of study.

Students will need to participate in a Level Placement class, in order to register for a Level II or III Embodied Knowledge (technique) course. No placement or special permissions are needed for Level I courses. Level Placements occur in August, December, February (for new incoming students), and April.

Level Placement includes exercises from various dance forms including African, Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, and Tap. Faculty observe and assess students' skills, and will place them into the appropriate level dance course for their current abilities as a dancer. Level Placements are offered every semester and are not required for Level I Embodied Knowledge courses. Students are required to participate in all movement forms as it allows faculty to see the holistic dancer.

Theatre/Musical Theatre Department Auditions?

  • For intended theatre majors: Auditionees must prepare two contrasting monologues. Both monologues together should total about three minutes. By contrasting monologues, they may be comic and dramatic, classical and contemporary, or a combination of each. Students should select something that has been well-rehearsed and is within a comfortable age range.
  • For intended musical theatre majors: Auditionees must prepare one monologue, and two contrasting songs (e.g., one up-tempo and one ballad). For a Zoom audition, auditionees either need an accompanist or to sing along to recorded accompaniment. The total audition time allotted for the entire audition is 5 minutes.

Music Department Auditions?

Students intending to declare the Music major in their first year should audition either before enrolling or during the Fall of their first term. Auditionees must be prepared to perform about 10 minutes of music. A broad range of approaches and styles are welcome so students are encouraged to select pieces that best represent their abilities. Auditions may be performed with or without accompaniment. At the audition, playing your own music and singing is welcome.

Notable Alumni?

Michele Snyder, Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day the Musical), Margo Seibert (Rocky the Musical), America Ferrera, and Goldie Hawn.


All auditionees will be automatically considered for merit scholarships. Most scholarships are renewable for up to four years provided the terms of the award are met each semester. Some of the awards include:

- Barnee Breeskin Scholarship awarded to an outstanding Musical Theatre student selected by audition for a panel of independent auditors.

- Greenberg Scholarship awarded to outstanding Theatre/Musical Theatre students by faculty vote.

- Annual Merit Awards to currently enrolled students who have distinguished themselves in class work, performance, design and production, management and service.

- Senior Awards

Department Contacts:

General Performing Arts

Richard Streeks at 202-885-3422 or email here.

Arts Management

Ximena Varela at 202-885-3883 or email here.

Audio Technology

Michael Harvey at 202-885-6302 or email here.


Erin Foreman-Murray at 202-885-3942 or email here


Ann Kang at 202-885-3859 or email here.

Theatre/Musical Theatre

Karl Kippola at 202-885-3464 or email here.

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