Do you dream of taking the stage in a big musical production? Refine your talent in this rigorous five-day course with professional-level training in voice, dance, acting, and audition techniques. Learn from faculty working in the industry and distinguished visiting musical theater artists from Broadway. The program will culminate in a final performance open to family and friends.
2021 Program Information
|Program dates:||Monday, August 16–Friday, August 20, 2021|
|Payment deadline:||July 1, 2021|
|Move in:||8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 16|
|Move out:||Friday, August 20, 2021, by 7:00 p.m.|
|Age range:||15 years and older|
What is the curriculum like?
Each day, students will participate in several core classes in voice, acting, dance, and audition techniques.
Students will attend three electives as well and will rank their topic preferences before starting the program. The electives for 2021 include:
- Acting Through Song: Practice what William Eastland calls "The Juggling Act"—balancing concentration on your character’s objective without getting distracted by vocal challenges in musical theater, opera, and contemporary styles. This elective is a discussion followed by coaching of several student volunteers. Please bring your own sheet music in the correct key if you would like an opportunity to perform and receive feedback. Note: There is only time for a limited number of students to perform in a master class while the rest learn through observation. This class is taught by Khiyon Hursey and Caitlin Gjerdrum.
- Healthy Belting Workshop: Lori L'Italien will present a workshop addressing the question “What is belting, and how do I do it?” Subtopics will include understanding register, mixing, belting, vocal health, and exercises to help keep your voice healthy and singing for a lifetime. Note: All students will attend a program-wide master class introducing this technique. This elective will provide more practice time and more individual coaching opportunities.
- Contemporary Musical Theater: Prepare your favorite musical theater songs that draw on pop, rock, and hip-hop. All contemporary repertoire is welcome, but in particular, this could be an exciting opportunity to get coached on your rap skills by Khiyon Hursey, music assistant for Broadway’s Hamilton. Please bring your own sheet music of a contemporary theater song in the correct key if you would like an opportunity to perform and receive feedback. You may also choose to learn through observation.
- Choreography Workshop: Get inside the mind of award-winning director, choreographer, and Boston Conservatory at Berklee faculty member Larry Sousa as he offers insights, inspiration, and tricks of the trade for creating effective musical theater choreography.
- From Stage Fright to Stage Presence: Using Your Presence to Overcome the Fear: By defining what stage fright can look like and where it comes from, Lydia Harrell will guide you through visualization and mindset techniques to harness the power of stage presence. This elective will help you find that presence and inspire you to create a practice/rehearsal plan to ensure optimal performance results.
- Master Class with Christy Altomare: The originator and star of Broadway’s Anastasia, Christy Altomare will address the entire program with a career conversation and master class. In this more intimate elective, she will continue to coach volunteers. An accompanist will be provided. Please bring your own sheet music in the correct key if you would like an opportunity to perform and receive feedback. Note: There is only time for a limited number of students to perform in a master class, while the rest learn through observation.
- Moves and Grooves for the Performer: Get comfortable adding fluidity and soul to your movement without the stress of learning a combination. Heather Myers will teach you basic grooves through the decades and create a fun, interactive atmosphere with a funk, soul, and R&B soundtrack from the '60's (Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors), '70's (Motown, Summer) and '80's (Get on Your Feet, Head over Heels). Beginners are welcome.
- Monologue Workshop: Whether on stage or at an audition, performing a monologue demands deep character work and text analysis. Bring in a monologue to perform, ideally memorized, and get pointers on your interpretation. For those without prior material or experience, Angie Jepson will provide a few options.
- Nailing the Dance Audition: Are you ready to tackle the dance audition? Heather Myers will take you through what you need to know to walk into your dance audition with confidence: how to pick up choreography quickly, how to apply corrections on the spot, how to recover from mistakes, and how to make a positive first impression. Information on what to pack for your dance audition and the dos and don'ts of dance auditions will also be explored.
- Stage Combat: Learn the fundamentals of an art that dates back centuries and how to simulate fights onstage while escaping without a scratch. Angie Jepson will get you started on skills that could come in handy for shows from West Side Story to Heathers: The Musical.
- Selfie Dance Video: Heather Myers will teach you a short dance phrase to master and then perform for your own smartphone camera. Learn how to optimize your self-video technique. A camera stabilizer will be provided.
- Social Media for the Musical Theater Vocalist: Find out how Lydia Harrell went from 100 to 4,000 followers in less than a month. Topics include where and how often to post, how to not get discouraged if you don’t go viral, the importance of consistency, how to interact with fans, how to deal with negative comments, and how social media can benefit a musical theater performer in comparison to other types of artists.
- Tap Dancing, Level 1: Tap is a longstanding tradition celebrated in numbers from Mean Girls to Book of Mormon, and a style that continues to thrive on innovation, such as in Savion Glover’s choreography for Shuffle Along. Ian Berg, a Conservatory Dance Division alumnus and director of the tap dance company Subject: Matter, will teach you some basics as well as a short routine. Tap shoes are required, so please only choose this elective if you can bring a pair.
- Tap Dancing, Level 2: This is an opportunity to develop and finesse a more advanced vocabulary of tap dance, taught by Ian Berg, a Conservatory Dance Division alumnus and director of the tap dance company Subject: Matter. Please only choose this elective if you already are able to execute triple-time steps.
- Writing an Original Musical: Have you ever wanted to write a song or a whole musical? Or maybe you already have? Led by Caitlin Gjerdrum, this elective will give you the opportunity to gain some theatrical writing tools and a deeper appreciation for the craft. This elective may be taken independently or in addition to the Original Student-Written Musical Ensemble.
Schedules also include nightly ensemble rehearsals, which will be performed at the final showcase. Students are asked to rank their preference in ensemble choice before starting the program. The ensembles for 2021 include:
- The Greatest Showman Ensemble: This is the greatest show, a medley from the film offering gender-inclusive casting opportunities. This ensemble will be led by director/ choreographer Larry Sousa and music director Ned Rosenblatt.
- Khiyon Hursey Ensemble: Perform contemporary theater songs written and directed by composer/lyricist Khiyon Hursey, whose work in past years has brought audiences to tears. Musical direction will be by Nancy O’Connor.
- LATE Ensemble: Be among the first to workshop the new musical LATE, exploring the impact of a high-school shooting. The book and lyrics are by Kathleen Cahill, with music by Michael Wartofsky. The show is directed by Jackie Davis and music director Julius LaFlamme.
- “Not Another High School Musical” Ensemble: Featuring songs from The Prom, Footloose, and High School Musical, this ensemble will turn the stage into the high school gym on prom night. The show will be led by director/choreographer Heather Myers and music director David Coleman.
- Original Student-Written Musical Ensemble: Collaborate with other students to cowrite and perform a 10-minute musical from scratch, guided by Caitlin Gjerdrum and music director Raban Brunner.
- To Hell and Back (Hadestown) Ensemble: Director Lori L'Italien and music director William Eastland lead you through an evocative medley from the groundbreaking, Tony Award–winning Broadway show by Anais Mitchell.
What is the schedule?
Below is a sample of a typical day in the program.
|8:00 a.m.–8:50 a.m.||Breakfast|
|9:00 a.m.–9:50 a.m.||Choir Rehearsal|
|10:00 a.m.–12:50 p.m.||Core Classes in Dance, Acting, and Voice|
|1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m.||Lunch|
|2:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.||Interview and Master Class with Visiting Artist|
|4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.||Elective or Audition Technique|
|5:10 p.m.–6:50 p.m.||Dinner|
|7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.||Ensemble Rehearsal|
Schedule subject to change
What are the performance opportunities?
The program culminates in a final showcase of student ensembles. Each student will take the stage and participate in at least one ensemble.
Students also have the opportunity to perform in an open mic on the first evening of the program.
What are the requirements to attend?
All students 15 and older with some background in musical theater are welcome to attend.
After completing your registration, you will be prompted to submit a video link of a vocal solo. These links are reviewed by the faculty to place students into the appropriate level classes, help assign roles in ensembles, and recommend participants for master classes with visiting artists. Professional video quality is not required, but your performance should demonstrate your personal best.
Please note: This program has limited capacity. Submission of registration materials alone does not guarantee participation in the program. You will secure your spot by paying in full. When the program capacity has been reached, registrants who have not paid in full will be placed on a waitlist.
What do I need to bring?
As a student in the Musical Theater Intensive, you are expected to wear appropriate attire, bring necessary supplies, and prepare two musical excerpts.
- For classes: Please wear dance or active wear with socks. Bring tennis shoes, Toms, jazz shoes, or any dance shoes—including character heels—that you already own. If you are choosing a tap elective, you must also bring tap shoes. Pack any hair accessories needed to keep your hair secure and away from your face. Consider a towel and deodorant. You will also need a refillable water bottle, notebook, pencil, black sharpie, highlighter, and tape recorder or phone recording app.
- For performances: Bring a variety of black clothing and black socks, tights, and shoes.
- For a practice audition: Pack clothes without rips, holes, or visible logos. Your outfit could be as dressed down as jeans and a nicely fitting tee-shirt with sneakers or boots, or more dressed up with a button-down shirt, dress shoes, or heels. Select two pieces of music demonstrating your ability to act and sing. We ask that you have clearly marked sheet music ready to supply an accompanist, typically 16 bars, but no longer than 32 bars in length. If you are inexperienced in preparing vocal selections, we recommend “Happy Birthday” as a great solution in a pinch. Headshots and résumés are welcome, but not required.
If you intend to stay in the Berklee residence halls while participating in the program, please also review what to bring for your room on the housing page.
Students discuss their experiences in Berklee's Musical Theater Workshop, which culminates in a final showcase where students can share their talents and passion.