Why my D chose Western Michigan

I forgot to mention that during the senior there are several workshops with agents and casting directors from New York and d has found these very helpful.

D and her classmates have accrued lots of EMC points and they have gotten lots of great advice about when to take your Equity card from agents, profs, and the WMU New York network of actors who have previously graduated.

At WMU, energetic MTP’s can pack in a lot of training. Here is a list of Theatre, Dance and Music courses that d will have completed by the time she graduates this spring. She was fortunate in having lots of AP credits that freed time in her schedule for extra theatre classes and she overloaded her schedule at times with up to 21 hours:

Intro to Acting
Acting I Action and Personalization
Acting II Character and Action
Acting III Character, Action, Language
Acting IV Advanced Scene Study*
Acting V Contemporary Drama*
Acting for the Camera*
Camera Technique (taught by Patrick Cassidy)*
Voice and Movement I and II*
Voice and Movement Lab Animal Styles*
Void and Movement Chekhov Lab*
Directing I and II*
Professional Preparation and Digital Media*
Theatre Practicum - 2 semesters (stage hand)
Guitar I* and II*
Stagecraft I
Stage Makeup (short course, no credit but required)
Musical Theatre History and Script Analysis I and II
Musical Theatre Ensemble Voice Technique
Applied MTP Voice - 6 semesters
Musical Theatre Musicianship I and II (music theory, aural skills, keyboard)
Musical Theatre Performance Workshop I - Solos and Duets, Auditioning
Musical Theatre Performance Workshop II - Choreographed Scene Work
Musical Theatre Performance Workshop III - Staged readings of full musicals
Musical Theatre Showcase
Performance in Musical Theatre - 2 semesters (credit for shows)
Beginning Ballet
Roots of Jazz
Jazz I - 5 semesters (it is difficult to move to Jazz II or III at WMU unless you are an accomplished dancer)
Advanced Tap*

Electives are shown with an *

@EmsDad - thanks as always for the thorough replies!

Thanks @EmsDad for all the helpful info. We are headed to Kalamazoo next weekend for my son’s tech theatre interview. It’s nice to hear great things about the dept and the school.

@EmsDad Can MT Majors have a Dance Minor? How many kids have left the program from your D’s freshman class?

@mammadubs - MT majors can minor in Dance, although I think that there is usually a waitlist. However, I believe that anyone can take as much dance as they can fit into their schedule. Leveling up is challenging as all dance classes are taken with the BFA Dance majors and your instructor will assess your ability for the next level at the end of each semester compared to the dance majors. However, you can repeat a dance class as many times as desired. For instance, Jazz I (which is the second level of Jazz after Intro to Jazz) is taught at the level of Broadway choreography. My d never progressed past Jazz I but she was a featured dancer in her summer stock company.

None of the kids left the program from my d’s class of 15. One left for a year for a professional opportunity, and then returned.

Senior Showcase in NYC:

The 2015 WMU Senior Showcase was held on March 4, during WMU spring break, in the Theatre Row theatres two blocks off Broadway in Hell’s Kitchen. Ball State was holding their showcase in the same theatre complex but the times were staggered to avoid a conflict. There were two showings, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Oakland U participated with WMU - WMU went first in the afternoon and then they switched for the evening performace. The theatre was nice, it had a proscenium stage and sat around 100 or so people in typical theatre fashion. Parents were able to attend the showcase. Many alums came to the evening show and several current Broadway cast members were in the afternoon audience. Other schools were holding auditions later in the week in the same area.

Lots of agents attended, it was easy to spot them because they picked up full packets with copies of all the headshots and resumes and usually sat with pen at the ready to make notes, usually on a clipboard or a business pad holder of some sort. WMU employed a local theatre consultant who handled inviting the agents, greeting them on arrival, following up with them at the end of the showcase, and briefing the students on how the follow-up would proceed after the showcase. I would estimate that at least two-three dozen agents and casting agency reps attended, probably more.

In addition to the showcase, there were several days of workshops with several types of Broadway directors: casting directors, show directors, commercial and voice-over directors, etc. All-in-all it filled up about a week in NYC.

Prior to the showcase, the WMU students worked with a casting director to do the final polish on the showcase. My d really enjoyed working with the director and thought he really helped her to polish her solo for NY agents.

I thought the show was awesome, the students were extremely well prepared and the material fit each student perfectly. Each student did a solo and a duet with group numbers at the beginning and the end. We liked it so much we went to both performances.

After the show the students stayed through the end of the week in NYC to attend agent callbacks, casting agency callbacks, and invitations to attend auditions for specific shows. For example, several/most of the guys were invited to audition for Book of Mormon and several students were invited to audition for Hamilton. I think all or almost all of the students were invited to meetings with agents and managers, and auditions at major casting agencies. Agents generally won’t extend an offer of representation until you actually move to NYC.

I thought that it was a great way to be introduced to the NYC professional theatre scene and I think that the students got a lot out of it, I know my d did. My d had a friend in the ensemble of a current Broadway show and we got a great backstage tour after the performance, which was icing on the cake.

Note on Broadway tickets: we used TodayTix to purchase tickets to several shows at well below market price (usually 1/2 off) and the seats were really great - but you don’t know exactly where you will sit until you arrive at the theatre (but you will know the section).

@EmsDad Thank you so much for the information regarding Senior Showcase. It sounds like it was an amazing time. Congrats and best wishes to your daughter as she continues her journey. Please keep us updated on her progress. Is she moving to NYC?