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Admission to the JMU Musical Theatre Program

An AUDITION is required for admission to the Musical Theatre Major in the School of Theatre and Dance. 


While you do not need to have applied to the university prior to scheduling an appointment you MUST have applied to the university by the appropriate deadlines listed, AND before attending the audition.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
(for prospective fall 2016 admit freshman, current JMU prospective spring 2016 program admit students, and prospective spring 2016 admit transfer students from other institutions.)

Saturday, January 16, 2016
(for prospective fall 2016 admit freshman)
(for prospective fall 2016 admit freshman)
 Monday, February 15, 2016
(for prospective fall 2016 admit freshman)
Saturday, March 19, 2016
(for current JMU prospective fall 2016 program admit students, and prospective fall 2016 admit transfer students from other institutions. Registration for this date will open in January 2016)
All Shook Up 2014, Richard Finkelstein


Please click on any of the dates above to register for an audition to the theatre program.

Note that the gateway process (audition/ interview) is also used to determine offers of scholarships available to freshmen. We do not currently offer scholarships to transfer or continuing JMU students when admitted to the Theatre or Musical Theatre Majors.  However, students admitted to the majors are able to apply for continuing student scholarships in the spring of each year.

  • Prospective students may elect be considered for BOTH the Musical Theatre and Theatre programs when registering for their audition appointment.

Students who wish to be considered for both programs should select the option “Musical Theatre (Performance) & Theatre (Performance or Technical Theatre)."  You should prepare the audition requirements for both the Musical Theatre program and the Theatre program if auditioning in both areas. Please note that the Musical Theatre program audition is only for students wishing to pursue Musical Theatre performance, not technical theatre.  Students who are only interested in studying design/technology, theatre studies or theatre education should select "Theatre Only (including Technical Theatre).”

VTA Audition Attendees: Although JMU faculty representatives will be in attendance and look forward to seeing your audition at the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA – conference in October, 2015, an onsite audition/ interview is necessary for admission and scholarship consideration. 


Please note: Admission to JMU itself involves online application directly to the undergraduate Office of Admissions.  Although you may schedule your audition/portfolio review/interview before completing the application for academic admission to the University, you must complete the application for academic admission BEFORE your audition/portfolio review/interview.

JMU Application Deadlines are as follows:

Freshman Early Action (non-binding) application deadline: Nov. 1, 2015
Freshman Regular Decision application deadline: January 15, 2016
Transfer Student application deadlines:

                             Spring admit October 15, 2015

                             Fall admit March 1, 2016

Go to: to access the JMU online application. 



  1. Prepare and memorize two one-minute contrasting monologues(comedy and drama) from modern or classical plays. Both may be from modern plays; at least one must be. Choose characters fairly close to your own age and avoid dialect. Material may be either in prose or verse.  Please do not present a monologue from a musical or an unpublished play. You may be asked to present one monologue only, so lead with the piece you feel highlights your current strengths as a performer and showcases your personality most strongly. 
  2. Prepare and memorize two songs of contrasting styles (16-bars for each selection). One of your songs must be from a musical written prior to 1966, the other must be a contemporary song.  Your contemporary song may be either a contemporary musical theatre song or a pop/rock song.  Please bring sheet music in the key in which you will sing.  Please have a third song prepared and have your repertory notebook handy in case we need to hear more. You may be asked to present one song only, so lead with the piece you feel highlights your current strengths as a performer and showcases your personality most strongly. 
  3. Be prepared to participate in a short jazz dance audition in order to demonstrate current proficiency, and potential for growth in dance. While prior dance training is desired, it is not required for acceptance.  Women should wear flat jazz shoes, teacher shoes (a.k.a “pednis”), or ballet slippers, and a leotard or fitted shirt with dance tights, jazz pants, leggings, or jazz shorts.  Men should wear jazz shoes, dance sneakers, or ballet slippers, and a fitted t-shirt or tank with jazz pants, sweat pants or shorts.  (Look for attire that will allow you to move freely. Please do not wear oversized sweat pants or shirts, or gym sneakers.) 
  4. Be prepared to participate in a short interview with faculty following your audition. In the interview be prepared to discuss your work in theatre, your other interests, your career hopes and plans, and your interest in JMU and the JMU musical theatre/ theatre program.

Please bring to your audition the following:

  1. A current resume of performing and theatrical experience and a recent photo.  (click here to download a sample resume template)
  2. A copy of your high school or college (in the case of transfer students) transcript, including courses in which you are currently enrolled. This does not need to be an official transcript, a photocopy is acceptable.
  3. One letter of recommendation from a director or teacher familiar with your work in theatre, dance, or music. Please do not bring, or have sent additional letters of recommendation.
  4. A 1000 word or less, type-written essay discussing why you want to join the Musical Theatre Concentration at JMU and how you think the BA Musical Theatre program at JMU will help you meet your academic and professional goals.  Applicants who wish to be considered for BOTH the Theatre and Musical Theatre programs should be sure to address how both of the programs will help meet academic and professional goals.  In this case, the essay may be up to 1500 words in order to answer the question adequately.  

all shook up 2014 Richard Finkelstein

Important Additional Information

Musical Theatre Major Audition Requirements

Keep the monologue short and to the point.  One minute may not seem like a long time, but you would be surprised how much you can communicate.  Quality not quantity is the key.  Please time your material.  If your monologue runs much over a minute you may be cut off.   Even if you do find a monologue in a monologue book, make-sure to read the entire play and know the context. All material must be memorized.

Please make sure that your music is in the key in which you want to sing, and includes the piano accompaniment line.  The accompanist will not transpose material for you.  You may not have a rehearsal with the accompanist before the audition, so your music should be clearly copied and marked.  You should write in and clearly indicate the cues where you would like the accompanist to start and stop.  When you copy your music make sure that all of the music (including the bottom line of the accompaniment, key signature, and dynamic markings) are on the page.  We suggest that you place your music either in a binder, or attach the pages to file folders.  If your music is in a binder please make sure that your planned audition pieces are placed in the front of your binder in immediate succession.

When cutting music it generally works best if you begin at the end of the song and count backwards.  If a song does not seem to cut logically into 16-bars (some more contemporary pieces will not) it is acceptable to add 2-3 bars in order to be able to begin and end at a logical place in the song in terms of the musical phrase and the lyric.  Please don’t go more than a few bars over the limit.  

You may not perform a cappella, or with recorded accompaniment. All singing must be accompanied by live music.  We will provide an accompanist for you.  You may not bring your own accompanist.

Choose material that will show off the full range of what you do well right now. Avoid songs and monologues that are outside of the scope of your experience. It is suggested that you avoid material from shows that are currently running on Broadway because it has a tendency to be overdone in auditions.

The following material is not recommended:

SONGS – A Way Back to ThenAll That Jazz, Always True to You Darling in My Fashion, Anything Goes, Art is Calling Me, Blue Hair, Defying Gravity, How Many Tears, I Am I Don Quixote, I Enjoy Being A Girl, I Hate Men, I Speak Six Languages, I’m Not At All In Love, If I Can’t Love Her, Impossible Dream, In His Eyes, In My Own Little Corner, Much More, My New Philosophy, On My Own, Popular, Roxie, Shy, Summer in Ohio, Ten Minutes Ago, This is the Moment, When I Look at You, When You’re Good to Mamma, or anything from Spring Awakening.

MONOLOGUES –  Any of the monologues from Promidy, “Peter Pan” from ‘Dentity Crisis, “Mr. Cornell…” from Star Spangled Girl, “Sunbonnet Sue” from Quilters, “Jesus, ham sandwich” from Picasso at Lapine Agile,“Please God, please don’t let me be normal” from The Fantasticks, Rosie and Harold in the attic at his grandmother’s house… from Slow Dance on the Killing Ground, “Well, Tommy proposed to me again…” from An Ideal Husband, All of George and Emily’s monologues from Our Town, “Jack & Jill” from Butterfly’s Are Free.

Choose material suitable for performers of your age.  Avoid material written for a character significantly older or younger than yourself, far outside of your range of experience, and pieces that use dialects.  We want to get a sense of who you are.

With both the song and the monologue we are looking to see how you partner with your imaginary scene partner.  We suggest that you work your song as a monologue to get at the core of the text.  Avoid dance choreography or rigid blocking in your pieces.  We are looking for grounded, truthful work.  

Wear clothing that is neat, comfortable, flattering, and that you feel good wearing.  We suggest that women avoid extremely high heels that may hinder movement.  

Be yourself and have fun.  Remember that we want you to do your best!

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance
Accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre