Theatrical majors break legs at college auditions


Jessica Streich

Senior Valerie Maybaum rehearses after school for the upcoming spring musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. Maybaum takes on the female lead as Rosemary, a secretary at a major company hoping to find her executive husband in an eager J. Pierrepont Finch, who quickly climbs the company ladder (without really trying).

Behind the curtains, you take deep breaths as the lyrics continue to replay over and over in your head. You have the weight of your future on your shoulders. While the stress of college applications finally ceases for most seniors, the chaos continues for those pursuing a degree in theater or performing arts as they enter audition time.

“It is different because I have to audition for the school after I academically get accepted, and I have to send audition tapes to my desired colleges along with regular applications,” senior Valerie Maybaum said. “If the quick video is up to par with the schools level of acting, I then have to go through a live audition for my major, which is musical theatre.  It is a lot more stressful because it is another whole application basically, only I am the application.”

Musical theatre as a major entails an audition usually either in Los Angels or New York, where one must sing, dance and act to be considered for the limited educational spot in the academy. Simply the time given up to travel across the country or up the state demonstrates the commitment these future Broadway stars contain. The triple-threat must choose their own songs and monologues. Most of the applicants start memorizing, rehearsing and dramatizing their selected pieces  in the summer of their junior year.

“You get to pick your own songs and monologues to perform,” Maybaum said. “For the dance you have about an hour to get taught two dances and then you have about half an hour to try to do it on your own. Then it is your audition right after and you have to do it in front of everyone. You have about three people dancing with you during the audition and must do it a couple of times so your judge can evaluate you.”

While they sacrifice a prolonged period of stress, it is all for the sake of pursuing their passion. Once the auditions are completed, the nervous energy turns to anxiety as they await acceptance letters.

“I think the audition process is amazing,” senior Alexa Harris said.”The process develops the actor through professional critique from the judges. If you have a dream you should go for it. If you want to be on Broadway then going through the tough process will pay off in the end.”