Northwestern University Theatre

@MomCares Hi, I’m a senior who is trying to decide between NU’s Theatre Program and Boston University BFA Theatre Program. Can you tell me about NUEA? You sent information before, and I was wondering if you could send it to me?

@MomCares Hi, can you explain the networking, and how the showcases work at NU in terms of when you are at the showcase? How does the process work? Does NU give the agents your number? How helpful are the showcases? How many students get hooked with an agent? Is the NY showcase very helpful? On a side note, does Chicago theatre welcoming towards People of Color from your experience and what others have said?

Greetings, @theatreconfused ! Forgive my slow response as our D graduated several years ago and I no longer visit CC regularly.

Congratulations on some great admissions results!! I’m afraid I’m not ideally suited to answer your questions, in part due to my outdated information and in part because our D didn’t apply to Boston University so I can’t offer any comparisons, but obviously both Chicago and Boston are great cities! I really hope some others can chime in (@connections or others?) with more current information.

Our D chose to miss her senior Showcases as she was in the middle of a contract at the time and already had a solid Agent who signed her after seeing a professional show she did her Junior year, so I have no firsthand knowledge of the specifics. My impression is that the kids perform, then Agents indicate which students they would like to meet with in the days following the Showcase (I think this is true in NY, Chicago and LA showcases). All of the kids I know personally who attended the Showcase signed with agents, some in NY and some in Chicago. My impression is that the people of color who graduated have been quite successful - I know one from D’s year has been steadily employed on Broadway, another is currently working on a Disney cruise and I know several others who work in Chicago, but I can’t speak directly to how welcome they have felt in the Chicago market. I’d guess that individual experiences vary, but I do know that Chicago is a huge theatre market which offers a wide range of performing options - ranging from small non-Equity storefronts to some of the largest and most prestigious theatres in the country.

If you have other specific questions please ask them and hopefully some other NU folks will see them as well!

Thank you for your response @MomCares! Can you elaborate more on which showcase your daughter did and on the professional show she booked? Did she audition for the show in Chicago or NY? Did she do the show during her summer? Were NU alumni or NU professors involved in the process of her audition? In addition, for her auditions in NU productions, did she have her professors help her?

Sorry I’m just seeing this! D has had many professional contracts, both before and since graduating. Most she auditioned for in Chicago, where she has lived for the past 6 years, but some by flying to NYC or other markets. And sometimes the casting was done from NYC but her agency recorded submissions in Chicago, so it’s been a mix. The original pro show where her agent saw her was during the late summer and into the fall Q, as I recall. She did several contracts while still taking classes which is possible both at downtown Chicago Theatres and at some of the big suburban theatres depending on transit, carpools and class schedules. The ability to work professionally while in school is among the many advantages of NU in my opinion.

All and none of these things have been true for various contracts over the past 3 years! Some shows have involved NU alumni and/or professors as actors, directors, designers and even as writers. In preparing for various auditions she has sometimes gotten help from former professors and coaches. It varies according to the specific audition, but I think she will always view her NU network as an integral part of her professional life.

I hope this and the post above answer your questions, @theatreconfused, and that the info is useful. Best of luck to you!