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What's ahead after COLLEGE Graduation for the MT Students

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Replies to: What's ahead after COLLEGE Graduation for the MT Students

  • bookmama22bookmama22 Registered User Posts: 2,243 Senior Member
    My d graduated in 2010 with a double BA degree in music and a theater concentration. We live in Nassau County and she did move into city fairly quickly not because she had the money to do so... but because of the timing it takes to commute and needing to be available for auditions/callbacks,etc.. She makes her money to pay rent as a nanny.. but she has been an intern at a major arts organization coordinating playwrights group, formed a professional production company with college friends, has been in several non-equity plays and one-act festivals, as well as an operatic group and sings in a chorus that performed twice at Carnegie Hall recently and will be recording with several major Broadway performers in the coming weeks. She has continued study with Shakespeare & Co, in Lenox and has a summer stock Shakespeare performance training program lined up for this summer for four weeks and does continues to read and evaluate plays for a different organization. All this is great..although she can pay her rent, she has not earned any money in two years other than her nanny/babysitting jobs and thank heavens we can still cover her on our insurance now till age 26. She is starting to think about grad school--MFA Acting programs, also interested in Arts Management/Arts Administration.
  • FlossyFlossy Registered User Posts: 3,121 Senior Member
    Thank much for that dose of reality. I shudder when my Freshman daughter mentions grad school.
  • kaysmomkaysmom Registered User Posts: 507 Member
    My daughter's path has been even different than those mentioned above. She graduated in 2011 as a MT and headed to NYC the day after graduation. She signed with both an agent and a manager from her senior showcase and they lead her in the direction of doing more television and film auditions and very few in the musical theater field. If you would have asked her if this would be her path a year ago, she would most likely say no as she is truly at MT kid at heart but she was excited to try something unexpected and felt prepared through the on camera training that she received at CMU.

    In January, my daughter was cast in a recurring role on a cable television series. She filmed in 6 episodes of their 10 episode season and loved every second of being a part of such a great cast. It was an incredible first professional job. She is back to auditioning for everything from more tv/film to commercials and voiceover work and some theater and supplements her income working in a high end restaurant. She has been self supporting since the day she moved to the city and auditions quite a bit.

    This is a great thread and just begins to show all the different opportunities that are out there for these MT and acting grads! SoozieVT may chime in at some point and her daughter's journey so far is quite impressive and even different still! Some times I think, you have to be willing to think out of the box and go beyond your original plan to do what you love.

    Congrats to you CarnegieMT2012 on gaining representation from showcase. I wish you and your class so much success!

    Pennmom...we know your son's group well and have seen them perform many many times! They deserve every accolade that comes their way! Congrats on the signing from the literary agent!

    And congrats to all the grads who are out there making their way, doing what they love!!!
  • MomCaresMomCares Registered User Posts: 3,148 Senior Member
    One thing to consider with this thread and other info folks at CC have shared over the years is that even though most of the kids we hear about graduated from strong MT schools, I think we have yet to hear from one who has been completely paying their own way in life by ONLY performing in MT shows. I can think of three people I know of personally, total, who might have managed that for even their first two years out of school (they landed tours, Broadway or sit-downs straight out of school), and even they have had to survive significant gaps between jobs or probably will at some point.

    It's been my observation that in order to continue doing what they love, even the most talented and well-trained MTs need to be able to make their own work and have a VERY flexible skill set (usually including skills far beyond singing, dancing and acting).
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,130 Senior Member
    That's a good point, MomCares. Offhand, I can think of one who has done so (there are probably others amidst the hundreds of actors I know but you're right, not many). The one young man I'm thinking of went to Brown. SoozieVt knows him, too. He booked a national tour before he graduated and took a leave of absence from school. In the intervening years, he has done two national tours, one show on Broadway, and has stayed with that show when it moved off-Broadway, and continues to perform there currently. In addition, he's done many readings, workshops, gigs of different kind, as well as returning to finish his final semester of school and graduating. He has supported himself entirely through performance and has been extremely successful for six years now. He is definitely unique.

    The other one who jumps to mind is a young man I've mentioned here before who didn't attend college at all but got a national tour at age 19. He has supported himself only by performance, but also does performance gigs on dark nights as he is first and foremost a musician. He may have had some parental support early on but not for long. He's been in several shows on Broadway for the past 10-11 years and recently moved to L.A. where he's pursuing his music (and living with his wife, a fellow MTer, who is currently a regular on a popular TV show). So, I suppose you could say he hasn't done it entirely himself because his wife has also contributed to their marriage but she, too, has only ever performed. No 'day jobs'. It's rare, though, that's for sure.

    My D is another one who has made her own work, to an extent. While still in college, she and some friends and a couple of professional actors formed a theatre company. She has always been a playwright as well as an actor, and she was a published writer while still in high school. She continued to write all through college as well as perform, and one summer, she and her theatre company friends, took one of her plays to the UK to a fringe festival, and then toured with it for the summer, performing at night and holding workshops during the day. As a result of that, she made some incredible contacts, one of which lead her to where she is today, living and working in London.

    When she graduated, she was very fortunate to have three offers of work, including the producer contact from the UK. She turned him down, though, and went to work with an incredible regional theatre in Chicago for a year. When she finished there, she went almost immediately to London and has been there ever since. I can't give too many details because she doesn't like me talking about her here :) but I will say that she combines performance with a writer-in-residence position. She has supported herself totally in the UK, and is doing extremely well both financially and artistically, even with the very high cost of living. She is back and forth from London to NY, and occasionally home to Toronto, ever six weeks or so. I recently met her for a couple of days in NY where she is in the process of discussing a workshop of one of her plays to be mounted in the next year.

    In addition to this very busy life, she also finds time, I have no idea how, to play some local gigs in London with some friends. She's always been a great musician and plays several instruments. She attended an arts high school and performed in many musicals there as well as the straight plays. When she went to college, she chose to focus on an acting studio rather than the MT one but that isn't unusual at Tisch, at least when she was there. She continues to study voice, even today. If I had only one piece of advice for kids who are interested in MT, it would be to become the best musician you can. It always surprises me the number of kids who are auditioning for MT who cannot read music or play an instrument. That is a mistake, in my opinion.
  • pennmompennmom Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    I think what these examples show is that it is nearly impossible to predict the post-graduate careers of anyone majoring in theater. It's probably not a good path for those who dislike uncertainty.
    Some will make it as artists, some won't. Most will probably have to shuffle among many different ways to make a living. I think most will come out OK. As others have said, studying theater improves skills which can be useful in many jobs - self-confidence, teamwork, comfort speaking to an audience. It's never a waste.
  • MomCaresMomCares Registered User Posts: 3,148 Senior Member
    >> If I had only one piece of advice for kids who are interested in MT, it would be to become the best musician you can. It always surprises me the number of kids who are auditioning for MT who cannot read music or play an instrument.


    D has been surprised by that as well. Even in her first year of college she's already auditioned for a show in which every singer also needed to audition playing an instrument, and she's earned $ since Middle School playing in pit orchestras. She has played since third grade and studied music theory really starting in preschool, but I do sometimes wish she also was strong on the piano.
  • 4inoregon4inoregon Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I agree, Momcares. At the audition for one of the small auditioned BFA MT programs, D sight read/sang for the auditioner and they discussed the multiple instruments that D plays. The woman remarked that everyone that audtions is a singer, but few are musicians. We knew right away that D would get in to that program.
  • lojosmolojosmo Registered User Posts: 629 Member
    At the final performance of Chicago at UMich last weekend, the drummer became ill during intermission. The boy who played Aaron (Hunyak's lawyer) went into the pit to play drums; another boy played Aaron and the swing filled in for him in the ensemble. The audience had no idea. Who would have thought... and he saved the day!
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,223 Senior Member
    My daughter is not MT (she is a straight actor) but she does play multiple instruments and I wonder if she will have time to continue to study and play while she is in college.
  • RoysGoin2CollegeRoysGoin2College Registered User Posts: 558 Member
    McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, etc...
    No offense.
  • MomCaresMomCares Registered User Posts: 3,148 Senior Member
    ^^^ Most MTs may do the functional equivalent at some point(s) in their careers, but typically they'll be catering for swanky parties or serving in high-end restaurants, because not only are most MTs insanely talented but they're also insanely decorative. ;-D
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,495 Senior Member
    McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, etc...
    No offense.

    ^^Well, that is offensive. My kid is a graduate of a MT program and has supported herself professionally in music and theater the entire time. I don't know a single peer of hers in this field who is working at a fast food restaurant!

    I think the opinion stated is quite prejudicial concerning those who major in the arts.
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,495 Senior Member
    I agree with alwaysamom about the value of being able to play instruments and that many MT performers cannot. My MT kid studied piano for ten years prior to entering college (and not because she was going into MT, as my other D also studied piano for ten years and did not go into MT or performing arts in college or career). My MT kid also studied flute for five years. She had to give flute up in high school because anyone in chorus could not also be in band, and so she switched her second instrument to private guitar lessons. She was able to make a special arrangement to be in jazz band on piano and vocals. Her sister also studied a second instrument for nine years, clarinet.

    I will say that my MT kid's piano playing skills have come in beyond "handy," in her MT life in so many respects, too numerous to mention and I have discussed it on this forum in the past. She is at the piano every day in some capacity, either rehearsing, composing, teaching, musically directing, accompanying individuals/classes/productions, or performing on stage herself as a singer at the piano. She is paid to play piano in fact, and who would know that back when she studied classical piano all those years as a kid? In fact, one family pays her $100 for an hour lesson to teach a 13 year old piano. Not bad.

    Piano has been a major force in my D's professional life in music and in musical theater. I highly recommend that those going into musical theater know how to play piano or other instruments. Piano and guitar are also useful for accompanying oneself as a performer, not to mention accompanying others.

    PS, I agree with the point also about being able to read music. Due to playing instruments, my D can sight read any music. This comes in handy, for example, when given a song never seen before that must be sung for an audition on short notice. My kid has an audition in a few days and was given a song to sing from the show which is a new musical. She can look at the music and immediately know the melody.
  • MomCaresMomCares Registered User Posts: 3,148 Senior Member
    >> Piano and guitar are also useful for accompanying oneself as a performer

    So true. D struggles with accompanying herself on the flute. ;-D


    >> ... an audition in a few days and was given a song to sing from the show which is a new musical. She can look at the music and immediately know the melody.

    D has even had composers write a song for her for a new show on the spot and she could sight read it as fast as they wrote it. Sight reading is an invaluable skill for any musician, and MTs are (or should be) musicians.
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