Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical TheatreHow to Apply

Degree offered by the USC School of Dramatic Arts in partnership with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and the USC Thornton School of Music.

The deadline to apply is December 1, 2021.

  • The following application instructions are for: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre

All first-year and transfer candidates for undergraduate admission must complete the following:

Submit The Common Application

You may apply to the USC School of Dramatic Arts using the Common Application, which includes some USC-specific questions. In addition to the online application, you will be asked to submit additional materials, including the USC Supplemental Application. For specific information about the items you will need to submit, please visit USC Admission’s First-Year Application Checklist.

Note: Applicants who wish to be considered for the BFA in Musical Theatre must list it as their first-choice major on the Common Application. Given the limited number of spots for this program, we encourage you to add the BA in Theatre as your second-choice major. If you have listed the BFA and BA as your major choice options, you only need to submit the BFA Supplemental via SlideRoom.

Submit a SDA SlideRoom Application

The following materials are also required in order to be considered for admission into the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Please be sure to upload all materials via SlideRoom. The supplemental application in SlideRoom will go live early September.

  • Current picture or headshot
  • Resume: Your resume should include any and all performance activities (including drama, dance and vocal performance). If you would like, you may also add any other non-performance work or volunteer experience.
  • “Take Three”: Provide three images that will give us some insight into who you are and what is important to you. Each image will need a corresponding caption to provide some context.
  • Letter of Recommendation from your drama teacher/coach
  • Essay Questions: Your responses should address the prompts outlined in SlideRoom.
  • Pre-Screen Audition: All applicants to the BFA in Musical Theatre will need to upload the prescreen package outlined below to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

    • Acting
      What to Prepare: Applicants should prepare one classical monologue (written before 1900) and one contemporary monologue (written after 1900). Each piece should be no longer than 90 seconds in length, memorized and performed in the context of the entire play.

      Picking your Material: When choosing your material, you want to pick something that resonates with you and can provide some insight about you. Your monologues should correspond to characters suitable to your natural age range, but you are not limited to characters that match your personal gender identity. Both monologues should come from published plays, and we strongly encourage that you have a deep familiarity with the text so you can convey your understanding of the character and their circumstances in your audition. 

      Filming your Monologues: Your audition videos do not need to be professional filmed, but they should provide a clear picture and audio. We understand that it may be difficult to find an ideal space to film your auditions and want to reassure you that where you film your pieces will have no bearing on your candidacy to this program. Below are some things we’d like you to keep in mind when you film: 

      • Each monologue should be filmed separately.
      • Make sure that you are in a well-lit area with minimal background distractions and that your audio is clear and understandable. 
      • Your contemporary monologue should be filmed as a “close-up”.  The frame should be sized to include the top of your head down to your chest.
      • Your classical monologue should be filmed as a “full body” shot where the frame includes the entirety of your body.
      • Each monologue should begin with a slate that includes: Your name, the title of the play, and the playwright’s name. 
      • Please do not add an accent or dialect when performing your monologues. We are much more interested in listening to your natural voice.
      • Dress as you would for an in-person audition. Costumes are not permitted.
    • Dance
      What to Prepare: Applicants should prepare two separately filmed dances. Each piece should be no longer than 60 seconds in length and should only feature the applicant.

      Picking you Material: When choosing your material, please select two different styles/forms from the following: ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, ballroom, freestyle, traditional dance, or musical theatre choreography. While any two styles/forms are valid, keep in mind that one of your videos should demonstrate your technique, strength, flexibility, and accuracy. The other video should demonstrate your artistry, musicality, and individual movement quality.

      Filming your Dances: Your dance videos do not need to be professional filmed, but they should provide a clear picture and audio. We understand that it may be difficult to find an ideal space to film your auditions and want to reassure you that where you film your pieces will have no bearing on your candidacy to this program. Below are some things we’d like you to keep in mind when you film: 

      • Each dance should be filmed separately.
      • Make sure that you are in a well-lit area with minimal background distractions and that your audio is clear and understandable. 
      • Your full body should be in view at all times.
      • Your videos should be current and original recording.
      • You should wear appropriate dance attire and footwear representing the chosen dance style demonstrated in each video.
    • Music
      What to Prepare: Applicants should prepare two selections from the musical theatre repertoire that contrast in style and decade of composition. Each cut may be up to 32 bars each but should not exceed 60 seconds in length and must be memorized.

      One 32-bar cut must be from the published musical theatre canon. Standard Broadway repertoire includes Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Jules Styne, Bock and Harnick, Kander and Ebb, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, etc. 

      The second 32-bar cut may also come from the musical theatre cannon or be a published contemporary piece from any genre. Examples of the contemporary Broadway repertoire include Stephen Schwartz, Jonathan Larson, Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, Andrew Lippa, Adam Guettel, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Menken, etc.

      Picking your Material: When choosing your material, you want to pick musical moments/songs that comfortably fit within your vocal range to best represent your abilities. Please do not feel the need to impress us with vocal range. Volume and range can be explored separately if the faculty have questions at a later point. Your 32-bar cuts should have an emotional arch with a clear objective. Be sure to make the situation in each song specific, honest, and meaningful to you.

      Filming your Vocal Performances: Your vocal performance videos do not need to be professional filmed, but they should provide a clear picture and audio. We understand that it may be difficult to find an ideal space to film your auditions and want to reassure you that where you film your pieces will have no bearing on your candidacy to this program. Below are some things we’d like you to keep in mind when you film: 

      • Each vocal performance should be filmed separately.
      • Make sure that you are in a well-lit area with minimal background distractions and that your audio is clear and understandable. 
      • When possible, work with a skilled accompanist. Digital tracks are also acceptable.
  • Self-Intro Video: Please upload a one- to two-minute video where you share with us who you are. We kindly ask that you not submit any monologues, cover songs or dancing.
  • Non-refundable audition fee of $40

After the Admissions Review Committee has reviewed all pre-screen submissions, the Office of Admissions & Student Services will email all applicants to the BFA in Musical Theatre an update on their application in early January. This update will indicate if an applicant has been invited to attend our Callback Weekend. In January 2022, we will be able to decide if callbacks will be offered in-person or virtually.