To The Musical Theater Kid who isn't Pursuing A BFA In College

To The Musical Theater Kid who isn't Pursuing A BFA In College

It's okay to follow a different path.


Even for people who eat, sleep, and breathe performing, the college audition process is grueling and stressful. It is painful, comes with a lot of rejection, and no one should be forced into it. Whether the high school senior is not ready to take the next step in theater quite yet, or he or she is simply uninterested in the major, pursuing a BFA is not always the right decision for everyone.

Unique to this industry, it is possible and common to work professionally at a young age. Because of this, some kids don't realize they can choose to chase other dreams as they become adults. Many people expect young performers to continue performing forever. As someone who no longer auditions on a regular basis, I am constantly questioned on the topic. Adults who have watched me grow up doing shows want to know why I just "gave it up."

The answer is that I didn't "give it up," rather I decided to follow other paths in my life.

When it came time to apply for college, I was approached with the decision whether or not to audition for BFA musical theater programs. Almost all of my friends from the industry were planning to do so, but I needed to decide if it was the right choice for me personally.

After thinking about what I wanted my college career to look like, I determined that I wanted things other than dance studios and voice practice rooms every day for 4 years. I knew I wanted to join a sorority and have free time to enjoy college life, and I knew those activities would be quite difficult if I chose to pursue musical theater.

For once I decided I wanted to be "normal," and being a "musical theater kid" is anything but that. I decided that in college, I didn't want to have to constantly reject invitations to social events due to rehearsals and lessons as I had done throughout my whole life prior. This isn't to say it is absolutely impossible to have a social life while studying performing arts, but it is significantly more difficult to hang out with anyone who is not in your program. There is nothing wrong with that, but I decided I wanted something different.

I strongly support all of my friends who are in BFA programs at their colleges, and I have absolutely nothing against the programs. Studying musical theater can be a dream come true for some, but I knew it wouldn't be for me.

I also know that there are other kids like me who need to know that a BFA in MT isn't the only option; it's a great option, but it's not the only one.

Every day I feel lucky to have had the childhood I did in the vibrant world of musical theater; the experiences prepared me for so much more than just performing, and I carry the lessons with me everywhere I go. I am thankful that theater has played such a large role in my life, but I am also relieved I knew when it was time to take a step back.

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18 Broadway Songs That Will Make You Want To Choreograph Them

Get out your character shoes, it's time to dance

Ever hear a show tune and instantly want to choreograph a number to it? Ever staged an all ensemble dance number? Ever see yourself teaching choreo to the Broadway cast of "A Chorus Line?" Well then this list might be for you.

1. "La Vie Boheme" - Rent

Anyone else want to come up with staging and choreography for one of the most iconic numbers in musical theatre history?

2. "Big Fun" - Heathers the Musical

Though this musical never made it to Broadway, I know you are dancing to it anyway.

3. "Hair" - Hair

Hairography, anyone?

4. "Saturday Night In The City" - The Wedding Singer

High energy and just makes you wanna go out and show off.

5. Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show

6. "Mamma Mia" - Mamma Mia

Don't all theatre kids already know the choreo for this?

7. "Bend and Snap" - Legally Blonde the Musical

"Do it, and we'll go away." Seriously, bend and snap.

8. Staying Alive - Saturday Night Fever

No explanation needed here.

9. "Footloose" - Footloose

10. "Totally F****d" - Spring Awakening

Anyone else want to jump around on stage and curse like a sailor simultaneously?

11. "Brand New Day" - The Wiz

Anyone want to put a flash mob together with this song?!

12. "Do Your Own Thing" - Bring It On: The Musical

Tumbling and musical theatre in one musical is what this show is all about. Can we put every song on this list?

13. "Dancing Through Life" - Wicked

Time for the whole cast to dance together.

14. "Get Ready/Dancing in the Street" - Motown the Musical

This whole show is a throwback but the best blast to the past you could ask for.

15. "Revolting Children" - Matilda the Musical

These kids freaking kick ass in this number. It is insane.

16. "Money" - Cabaret

I can see it now.

17. "Don't Stop Believin'" - Rock of Ages

If New Directions can do it, we can too!

18. "Anything You Can Do" - Annie Get Your Gun

This number is basically a dance off.

Cover Image Credit: Bucks County Playhouse

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I Almost Didn't Do My Senior Show, But To This Day, I'm So Glad I Did

The theatre world can be a crazy place


When I was in high school, I went to a performing arts school for Musical Theatre & Drama. Our last show my senior year was "Big Fish" and I desperately wanted to be the witch. Now in a senior class of 15, our directors knew everybody. At our school, it was very rare that a senior didn't get a callback, but during this show, I was that one senior who didn't get a callback. That really hurt, especially because I had worked so hard to try and get a good role in this last show. I mean it was my senior year, who wouldn't want to be able to get that. But in the end, the cards were not in my favor and I ended up getting other random parts throughout the show.

I was still really hurt by this though, I had poured my heart into this place for four years and I didn't even get the chance to try and show them that I could do that role. I think that was the hardest part. Because of all of this and everything that happened, I felt completely thrown under the bus and I was ready to quit and not do this show. I even went to the first rehearsal where they give you the layout of who is going to be in what scenes and numbers. Especially after this rehearsal, I felt even more devastated because I was in the number for the character that I wanted to be in the first place.

After that first rehearsal, I was ready to quit. I did not want to do this show under any circumstances, but I told my mom about everything and she made me realize that this was my last show and if I chose to quit now, I would probably regret it. And boy was she right. I ended up doing the show, even though some moments of it were still hard. Yet looking back on it now, if I hadn't done the show, I would have been watching all the other seniors and my friends doing a show that I did want to be a part of because I loved the story of it.

I don't know what would have happened if I had not done the show, but I am so happy that I did. I ended up getting to do a lot of really cool things throughout the show and by the end of the closing night, I couldn't have pictured myself not doing this show. It was one of my favorite shows that I had done in my four years there.

No you might be thinking why am I telling this whole story, but to be completely honest with you, I think this is so important because not everyone is going to have that voice saying do it, you will regret it if you don't. Being able to do your senior show is something that is so important because it allows you to have one last big moment at the place where you have spent most of your time. Plus who knows what you will do after you graduate so you may as well enjoy that last show because you don't know if you will get the chance to do another one.

So take that leap of faith and do that last show or performance or whatever it is, even if you get thrown under the bus. Take the time to find fun and joy and remember why you love doing it so much in the first place. Then if your school has a senior showcase, as mine did, take that as your final moment to shine. Because even with all of the auditions and drama, at the end of it all, you really do love theatre and it has a part of your heart.

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