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Chances at CMU / audition coach?

AzureBalmungAzureBalmung Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hello CC! I'm auditioning for CMU's musical theatre program in late Janurary, and am trying to get as much help as I can to boost my chances. I would be most grateful for any advice or guidance you'd be willing to give.

Background: I am an 18 year old senior in high school. I have a very strong voice (I'm most comfortable as a baritone, but have no problem at all switching into a tenor range). I've taken vocal lessons for 4 years. I am confident in my acting ability, as I've worked with a professional theatre company (Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble) for the past 2 summers ( NOTE: these have been for summer shows where community auditions were held, but both shows were directed, and partially cast with the professional Ensemble members, and part of the company's credited seasons.) I began taking dance lessons in jazz and tap in August, and am going to take ballet as well to learn as much as I can before the audition ). I have 3 songs ( Ballad: if I cant love her Upbeat: Hello Little Girl Backup 1: So in Love ), and roughly 3 monologues ( Classic: King Lear -Edmund Stand up for Bastards, Contemporary: looking at Sam Shepard's Buried Child, but still looking for better Backup: Daisy's monologue from the baby in the bathwater) ready to perform as I write this; however, I am still searching for the perfect monologue, and I want to have at least 4 songs and monologues ready in case I am asked for more.

Improvement: What do you reccommend? Carnegie is the best of the best in my heart. I understand from what I have read / seen in other topics that my audition matters much more than my GPA ( which is fine for CMU, but that's not important. ) and that my type comes into play just as much as my talent. What can I improve on? What should I be looking for now? What can I do to be more ready?

Coaching: I have the books " I Got In!" and " Getting the Part Without Falling Apart" on auditioning, and both are told from the standpoint that I find a coach for auditions. Until now I've only been relying on my high school drama director ( an Ithaca graduate herself, and our school's acting coach ( formerly owner and performer of her own acting company). I also took a class / am currently planning to schedule two more classes with Bradley Dean, a CMU graduate currently working in NYC on broadway to enlist his help. But what else can I do? I don't have much money, to do anything else. Is it possible that anyone knows an acting coach or an audition coach near me that wouldn't cost $400+? (I live in Schuylkill County, PA if this helps).

People at my school say I'm doing enough, and that I'm gonna do fine, but I know Carnegie is the best of the best. CMU is my dream school, College Confidential, I'll do anything I can to boost my chances of reaching that dream. Please, help me in any way you can.
Post edited by AzureBalmung on

Replies to: Chances at CMU / audition coach?

  • 3965231039652310 Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    Just remember that CMU is HEAVY on acting. I think youre at a good start though! I would suggest getting a coach to perfect your monologue choices, prepare 2 classics and 2 contemps. At the end of it all tho, just be you!
  • CallieneCalliene Registered User Posts: 847 Member
    I also would suggest looking hard at some other schools, too. CMU is a "lottery" school where even amazing people don't get in, so though you may be mega talented and doing all the right things, I don't want you to be completely devastated if you don't get in. Have other options. If you put all your hopes and dreams in the CMU basket, then you will be a nervous wreck, an that could come through in the audition.
  • do-what-u-luvdo-what-u-luv Registered User Posts: 285 Junior Member
    Schedule a couple other auditions before, so this isn't your first one.
  • Walker1194Walker1194 Registered User Posts: 1,005 Senior Member
    CMU is also the only school that I'm aware of that says that they do not recommend an audition coach. I think most people ignore that though :)
  • do-what-u-luvdo-what-u-luv Registered User Posts: 285 Junior Member
    CMU is also the only school that I'm aware of that says that they do not recommend an audition coach. I think most people ignore that though

    Including them! ;)
    The head of CMU's Drama and Music Theatre does monologue master classes with a well known coach - in fact, she is doing one it Dallas this weekend...
  • theatremommatheatremomma Registered User Posts: 500 Member
    CMU does master classes all year long set up by and with audition coaches. They rave about these coaches. They know these coaches intimately. They talk about the value of having someone help you. There is a difference between being coached to do your best and appearing over-coached. If you have ever used a coach, they do not try and make you something you are not. They help you find what works for you, refine your choices, and help you practice them until you are comfortable. CMU does not say don't use a coach. PS Michigan does master classes with coached, too!
  • MTCoachMTCoach Registered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    Hi there! There are so incredibly many factors that go into what gets you in. As one member said, Carnegie is HEAVY acting- I can't even stress that enough. Since you're working with an acting coach, it would also likely be valuable to have them coach your songs. Since you shared your audition material, I'd like to give you some things to think about:

    If I Can't Love Her: great role for a young baritone! This might be slightly overplayed but I think this is easily the strongest of the songs you've listed!
    Hello Little Girl: another amazing, amazing role. There's a BUT coming though...a big one. Sondheim is really frowned upon at auditions (along with Jason Robert Brown) because of the technicality. Keep it in your book, but I wouldn't advise planning to use this.
    So In Love: you're talking Cole Porter, yes? This is a risky choice. I'm first going to verify that you're referencing the reprise sung by Fred, not the version sung by Lilli. The risk with singing this song is because this role is written for someone far older than you. There is so much age-appropriate material written for you, don't reach.
    Some suggestions: I have no idea what your type is (you must play your type!), but you might want to look at Grow For Me from Little Shop of Horrors, Waitin' For the Light To Shine from Big River, Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful from Cinderella, Goodnight Sweet Princess from Once Upon A Mattress, Have You Cast Your Shadow in the Sea from The Boys from Syracuse, Camelot or How To Handle a Woman from Camelot... there's a lot of great music out there... :)

    King Lear: this sounds great!
    Buried Child: this is a great play and Shepard is brilliant...but this is again far too old for you. If you're really interested in using Shepard, it would be worthwhile for you to look at some of his lesser known plays- CMU in particular will appreciate finding those gems of great work done by well-known playwrights that are lesser explored
    Baby in the Bathwater: you mean Baby with... ? Holy smokes...that is some choice. If you feel 100% comfortable going there, not a bad choice for a backup
    I don't want to make suggestions for you without knowing your type. There are so many options out there. Play your type, play your type, play your type. And don't forget to play your natural age range.

    Bradley Dean should be a great resource for you. Asking him about his audition process would be extremely beneficial to you (ask your teacher who went to Ithaca as well!). I have an acquaintance who graduated from CMU last year and he felt his successful audition there was attributed to his deciding that he was washing his hands of the audition process and was just going to go in and have fun, not try to please anyone.

    I would definitely suggest adding schools to your list of auditions. If you truly want to do this, CMU is beyond a reach. Assuming you have the talent to get in, you're one of about 1200 who are going to try- it is indeed a lottery. In response to Walker1194- CMU does not discourage audition coaches. As others have said, they work with them frequently with master classes, mock auditions, etc. There are some schools that frown upon them, but this is not one of them. That being said, you will be very hard pressed to find a coach for less than $400. I am a voice and acting coach from Detroit and am trying to find inexpensive and no-cost resources for students who want to pursue MT in college- you're welcome to PM me or contact me through my site (themtproject.org) and I'd be happy to chat with you a little more...no charge :)

    All best to you during this exciting time!
This discussion has been closed.