Music Theatre Performance

  • Stage performance
  • Performers on stage
  • Actors on stage
  • Performance on stage
  • Swing performance

“Actors coming out of the Western Michigan School of Theatre are certainly among the best and most sought-after students I have encountered during my 25 years of recruiting for three nationally ranked graduate programs. They are extremely talented, expertly trained, and fully prepared for the rigors of the next level of training.” —Jim Wise, Professor of Acting/MFA acting program, The Pennsylvania State University

Western Michigan University offers an intensive course of study in musical theatre performance that culminates with a BFA degree and the opportunity to showcase in New York City for significant Agents and Casting Directors.  The program offers extensive professional training in all areas of acting, voice, and dance.  The program endeavors to train actors who sing and dance.  In addition, students will participate in a two-year musical theatre performance workshop series of classes that synthesize the training into a marketable skill that students will utilize for their entire careers.  The focus of the program is preparing emerging talent to enter and compete in the Broadway market.
The course of study provides students the opportunity to receive four years of private vocal instruction, training in jazz, tap and ballet, three years of acting training, musicianship, as well as courses in the history of musical theatre, audition techniques, stagecraft, directing and numerous electives available only to MTP students as the only cross-departmental program in the School of Fine Arts (theatre, music and dance).
The Department of Theatre produces two or three musicals each year in a rotating repertoire that includes contemporary shows, traditional classics, dance-based pieces, and new and original works.  Students are also encouraged to audition for the Theatre Department’s straight shows and the student-directed footlight series, as well as the School of Music’s operas and the Department of Dance’s concert series.

Students should consult the WMU catalog for course requirements.

Video of Music Theatre Performance at WMU


Preparing your audition

Step one is uploading your prescreen video.   This 30-second song cut on serves as a prescreen for the WMU MTP auditions. Once your prescreen is approved, we will proceed to your full audition.

Under current COVID 19 protocols, we do not know at this time if we will be able to schedule you for an in-person audition.  
You may complete your audition entirely online by uploading to two one-minute song cuts, a one-minute contemporary monologue and a dance reel of your choosing.  Or you may elect to have a live audition via ZOOM.

We will be making a decision as to the advisability of holding in-person on campus auditions later this fall.  If it is feasible to do so, at that time we will complete the in person audition schedule.

To complete the application for the BFA Music Theatre Performance Program, you will need to :

  •  Apply for the program on the website:

  •  Upload a current digital photo and an acting resume
  • Provide email addresses for two references (teachers, directors) who know your work
  • Provide current GPA and if you have SAT/ACT scores, you may optionally provide this as well
  • Upload a 30-second vocal audition – this can be a cut from any music theatre repertoire.
  • Once your prescreen is approved, to audition digitally, upload two (2) one-minute contrasting song cuts, one (1) one-minute contemporary monologue and one (1) dance reel of your preference (a performance or short dance combination)

Audition checklist


When preparing your audition, be sure to use material that is within your age range, and understanding. It is always advised that you seek out coaching and work extensively on your audition. Wear clothing that is simple, professional and comfortable. Avoid material that is well beyond your age range or understanding or roles in which you would not feasibly be cast. Do not use costumes, dialects or props. A chair will be provided for you. Arrive early for auditions but be prepared to wait.

A monologue should show off who you are. Look for contemporary pieces with roles in your age range that you could be cast in today. We suggest that you avoid Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Neil Simon. Look for contemporary playwrights. Novels and unpublished plays often have good monologues. It is also possible to find good monologues in movie scripts, but be careful, you don’t want to do something recognizable. Choosing the perfect monologue is no place to take shortcuts. This is your calling card and should be done with diligence and care. 



The Department of Theatre makes annual awards of scholarships in several categories and for varying amounts. These are made in recognition of the variety of talents necessary for success in the performance, design, technical, stage management, and arts management areas of the theatre.

Explore Scholarships


Alumni from the WMU Music Theatre Department have been seen on Broadway in West Side Story, Jersey Boys, Chicago, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Shrek the Musical, Spamalot, The Wedding Singer, Wicked and Gypsy. Alumni have also been seen on national tours of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hairspray, MAMMA MIA!, Rent, Seussical the Musical, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Our graduates can also be found at Cedar Point, Walt Disney World and on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. 

For further information on Department of Theatre majors or the minor, email Debra Gambino, academic advisor.