American U Musical Theater

I can’t find anything on the website other than the live audition details. Does AU require a pre-screen with the application?


I am going there for mt this fall! There wasn’t a prescreen for last year’s auditions. Feel free to ask me any more questions about auditions :slight_smile:

Congratulations! Its probably top 3 on my daughter’s list. What kind of feedback did you get that might be helpful for her?

The faculty are extremely nice, they work with you a lot which is an opportunity you don’t always get. My process was basically to sign in at the Katzen Arts Center, where I received a music theory test for placement, then I was given time to warm up in a practice room. I was called into the room and did my songs first and then my monologues. I didn’t do a dance portion but I believe they canceled that for my audition date anyways. Feel free to reach out with any more questions about American or the audition process in general!! Also, American was my last audition, which was really helpful because I had all of the experience from my other auditions. My advice would be to schedule your daughter’s number 1 school last.

My D applied and was accepted to American - but is going off to another MT program. She loved this audition - as mentioned above it was a pretty easy process, she signed in, did a brief music theory test and then into her audition. She was in the room for quite a long time and enjoyed the process. If I remember correctly American only had one audition weekend - we had to travel from Cleveland to DC to make this audition. Also, with her acceptance letter they gave her written feedback on her audition which was nice, you will not see that from any other school. The campus is beautiful. Good Luck!

Does anyone know how many Acting students American accepts?

What is a music theory test? My daughter will be applying next year and this is the first time I’ve heard of this. I thought she just had to do the regular application and an audition.

@overwhelmed2019 does your daughter know music theory? They give a written test at the audition. My daughter has taken music theory in high school and knows it pretty well but still thought the test was challenging at AU. I have heard of other schools giving theory tests, too but this is the only one my daughter was required to take and she applied to 16 schools.

My daughter doesn’t know music theory unless it’s something they teach in her chorus class and they’re not calling it “music theory.” Is this something she can learn on her own? It doesn’t seem to be something offered at her school. I’d hate for her to get rejected on the basis of a music theory test when she’s never had an opportunity to learn it.

@overwhelmed2019 I don’t think it’s something you can teach yourself. I am not sure AU puts a lot of weight into the theory test, I imagine they are more interested in talent. My daughter was accepted in the MT program and is having a lot of trouble finding information about it.

Hi! I graduated as a musical theatre major at AU a couple of years ago, but I think my experience is still relevant! As far as I understand, the music theory tests were really about class placement. Musicianship I and II are required classes for the major, but are grouped based on placement on the theory placement test at auditions. I wouldn’t stress too much about that portion of the audition. As previously mentioned, AU makes it a priority to work with every student at the audition. So my best advice for their auditions is to come in very prepared, but be ready to show how directable and flexible you can be!

@aumtalum can you give me a little bit of information about the MT program at AU? My daughter has pretty much decided to go to Catholic now (even though we are not Catholic) because she cannot find any information on American’s program so is assuming it isn’t as good. I know that must not be true but simple questions we have like, do the students get work at Kennedy Center and Arena like they do at CUA, do they have a senior showcase, etc…all of this seems to be a mystery. Plus we can only find information on one alum working in theatre. Would you be able to share info. with this group? Thanks so much.

Don’t know if this helps, but just saw it posted on the MT page

Thanks @gulf1609 I did see that but it really doesn’t answer the questions we have in terms of how it compares to CUA’s program, which seems to be more well known. I prefer American University for several reasons, but just cannot justify the program if I can’t find information on it an no notable alumni.

@collegemom2000 I’d love to! We have quite a number alums working across various aspects of theatre, especially in the DC theatre scene. I know of a number of people who graduated with, shortly before and after me that have gotten work at Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Keagan Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre, ect. There have also been two alums (that I know of- there could be more), that have been on Broadway in the past couple of years. Additionally, a number of alumni are producing their own work in a variety of ways in DC, LA, Chicago and New York. I can’t really make a fair comparison with Catholic’s students’ success because I don’t know enough about them. In terms of senior showcase, AU does not have one similar to Catholic’s. There is a Capstone class where the seniors work together to create/perform a show, but that looks different every year based on the students’ strengths and needs. I know that for my Capstone, we did invite people from the industry, but it’s not a true showcase.

From what I understand, the two programs are different in terms of the focus of their training. Catholic focuses on musicality while AU focuses on the acting training for musical theatre majors. This is not to say that Catholic doesn’t teach acting and AU doesn’t teach musicality. They both teach both and offer great educations, but the majors are structured differently, and I always thought that was where the difference was. When I was looking at training programs, I felt that the acting training was more important for my development as an artist, therefore I went to AU.

Have you and your daughter visited both schools? If you can, I would recommend asking to sit in on a class in both programs. My personal opinion is that your daughter could get a great education from either school, but she’s going to get the best education at the school where she’s comfortable. She needs to be in a artistic community that she can be a integral part of and feel safe taking risks in. I know when I was looking, my final choices were AU and Muhlenberg and that’s how I made the choice. After sitting in classes at both schools, I felt that AU a the collaborative community of students and professors that I wanted to work with and that would challenge me.

Additionally, I would encourage your daughter to look at the class requirements for the MT major at both schools as well as the theatre class offerings at both schools. Which school looks like it has more classes that interest her? I know I took a number of classes outside of the Musical Theatre major that I found extremely beneficial like Stage Combat, American Women in Theatre, and Fundamentals of Acting III ( which was a styles of acting class- something every MT major needs).

If you have any more specific questions, I’d love to answer them. That being said, I find it difficult to compare those two specific programs because I only attended one :slight_smile:

@aumtalum that is wonderful information, and your feedback is very thoughtful and gives me a lot to consider. My daughter also got into Muhlenberg but decided it isn’t for her based on the size of the school and the distance from any major city. I think AU is more in line with her personality and we are an agnostic family so I worry will be very uncomfortable with the religious aspect of CUA (to be honest, I felt uneasy during our visit there but she seemed fine so maybe it’s just me.) She does insist on a senior showcase, however, which seems to be the line in the sand for her. I am taking her tomorrow night to see the current show which I believe is straight acting and no musical theatre. I am hoping what she sees will either finalize her decision for CUA or make her reconsider AU. I have been trying to set up a class visit as well and hoping I can convince her to sit in on one.

If it’s okay to ask, what are you doing after graduation? Have you continued to pursue MT or gone on to another area?

@collegemom2000 That makes total sense! I will say, I ended up working in the theatre scene with a handful of Catholic students who were far from religious, so she may not have a problem. I know I was super nervous to sit in on a class as a high schooler and my mom forced me and I am still thanking her for it almost 10 years later :slight_smile:

Absolutely! Actually, in my senior year, I took a Master’s level course in Arts Education with the head of our theatre department at the time and fell in love with theatre education and arts integration. Because of the connections I made at American, I was able to land an apprenticeship after graduation at a regional theatre which led to a job there. There I fell in love with teaching theatre to students with disabilities. The original plan was that I was going to be a teaching artist, which would allow me to audition for DC theatre. (Side note: being a teaching artist is a pretty great “civilian” job when you’re an actor- all actors should look into it). But life leads strange places and now I teach at a high school, have my Masters in Education and am planning on starting my doctorate in Arts Integration in the next two years. I actually only hopped on this forum again because one of my juniors was asking me questions about applying to college, and I was showing her this as a resource. As a high school senior, this wasn’t something I even thought I would do, but that’s the beauty of a B.A. program at a Liberal Arts School- you learn and discover things you didn’t know you wanted.

Thanks so much @aumtalum - I’m going to pm you if that’s okay.

@collegemom2000 - if I can add my 2 cents - although it may not be relevant! My D was accepted into AU MT program last year. We toured the school in the fall and we both loved it - and she had a fantastic audition. While she was auditioning I took the opportunity to ask current MT students questions that I had - is there a senior showcase in DC or NYC? (no, they had a showcase on campus) - did they work/partner with some of the great local theatre’s in the city like Signature, Kennedy or the National? (no, but some kids would audition for the programs) and was there good support within the community for the program? (didn’t get a solid answer on this).

As we left the audition my D was very excited about the process, I on the other hand had lost some enthusiasm for the program. Mostly because I felt there were some lost opportunities for the program to utilize DC and all it has to offer. I was also concerned that without some of these partnerships in DC with bigger theatres, opportunities outside of AU could be sparse. Again, this is just MY assessment based on questions I was asking of current students.

What I did love was that it was a BA program and as a parent I liked the fact that D could get a more balanced education.

In the end, my D did end up in a BA Theatre Performance program at Wagner. She absolutely LOVES the program. She is immersed in all that NYC has to offer, taking extra classes in the city and will be in a play staged off broadway this summer. Opportunities and connections are endless and she makes the most of all the opportunities presented!

I don’t think she would have been happy at AU.

@LBSMOM thank you so much and I have to agree, my daughter and I share the same thoughts about lack of partnerships, no DC and NYC showcase, etc. I am the same in thinking the ability to dual major would be the best advantage of the MT program.

We recently went to see one of the shows at AU and we both came away a little disappointed. Almost half the cast was something other than an MT or a theatre major, which makes me question why the those students were not cast. The theatre was virtually empty as well and it was a weekend evening, which I think answers your question about local support for the program. The venue was very nice, however and in a great neighborhood.