Mentoring for your college auditions | The MT Project

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

There’s just something about being on stage that I can’t really describe. It’s almost like being transported to this magical place where nothing else in the whole world matters. You know when you see something or hear something, and it just feels like perfection? It’s like that.

All I know is that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Whatever your goal may be, it’s our mission to ensure that you achieve it.

And with us, advice is always free.

University of California – Los Angeles

I am SO happy with my choice to come to UCLA. Originally, I had absolutely no intention of wanting to go to UCLA. I am from Laguna Beach, California, and there was no way that I was going to go to school on the West Coast. I applied to the same 15 schools as every other prospective MT. When I was admitted to “the big name BFA program” with a generous scholarship, I just assumed that was were I should go! I actually ended up committing to this school. Why? Because it’s where I “should” have gone. It had a great reputation, everyone was SO talented, and it was an honor to be admitted to such a competitive program. It was only AFTER I committed that I realized I had made a mistake. Yes, it was a great option…but it wasn’t the right choice for me. I didn’t want to be just another MT student. I wanted to be somewhere where I was viewed as an individual and a future leader.

So…on May 1st, I actually changed my mind. I withdrew my deposit from the school I had committed to, and I accepted my admission to UCLA. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, but it was also the best decision I ever could have made. It was hard not to accept the offer to (what seemed to be) “my dream school.” But, sometimes (as cheezy as it sounds) you just have to follow your heart. Only YOU know what is best for you. Listen to advice from people that know you well…but, at the end of the day, MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.

Just because a school calls itself “the Universtiy-College-Conservatory-of-Wonderful” doesn’t mean that it’s exactly a University. I found that the environment at my “dream school” wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to be in a University where I would grow immensely as an artist, but also as a citizen of the world. I see college as a time to grow in all aspects, and it was import to me that I was in a place where I was treated as a scholar and as the future of the performing arts industry. For me, UCLA is that place.

In the end, I was considering BoCo, Ithaca, Penn State, Elon, NYU, and a few others. Some for MT, some for acting/theatre. I was wait-listed at a few places too. Now those are all GREAT schools, and I know many happy students at each one. I am sure that I would have been happy at each of them. But, they kinda felt like just a training ground for 4 years. Now, of course I wanted training! But, I wanted a little more. It’s not like we’re done training after 4 years. We’re going to be in class the rest of our lives. So I wanted something unique. None of them seemed to care about how I grew as a person and a citizen of the world…but UCLA did. I wanted to be somewhere where I could study MT in a true university environment. Other schools are “universities,” but you are really secluded from the rest of the school. UCLA has so many possibilities and options. I have had the opportunity to accomplish SO much already in 1 year. I’ve been in several musicals/new works with some extremely talented upperclassmen. I’ve performed a bunch. It seems like every week or so I am singing in something. I’ve been working as Lainie Kazan’s assistant for a MT cabaret class she teacher. (the mom from Big Fat Greek Wedding…look up her singing! She was Barbra Streisand’s understudy for years!!). And so much more! What I realized is that UCLA really allows you to tailor your curriculum and classes. I absolutely love my class, but at the end of the day…when I am sick and tired of theater people (trust me, it happens), I can go to a football game (they’re even better when we win), or an a cappella rehearsal, or catch a movie with friends who no nothing about musical theater! It’s actually the best to get away for a little bit.

Another important thing to realize is that because a class/something isn’t required/offered in your freshman year…doesn’t mean you can’t do it! That’s what’s nice about being in a small program. There isn’t a set path for every single person…because we’re not all the same! I have been taking voice lessons with a fabulous teacher all year. A DANCER DANCER in my class takes extra dance classes at UCLA with dance majors, and it’s open to all of us! I go to additional acting workshops and classes often. I take advantage of the guest artists coming to work with “seniors for their showcase.” I just ask the professors if I could come to their classes. I’ve yet to hear a no! It’s actually really cool. There is a class for seniors where a different casting director comes every week to work with them! There is so much stuff here to take advantage of. Just don’t be shy.

I really feel like UCLA is the best of both worlds. We have awesome training along with a solid liberal arts education. I have tailored most of my “academic” courses around things I am interested in and find useful as an artist. Like, you can take Theater History for history, or writing about plays for writing, or even IPA/Linguistics/Diction for Science! (I recently took a class on Science and Food taught by food network chefs…I actually was published in the LA Times for making an apple pie!!) In the winter, I took a class for my GE requirement about 20th and 21st century performance art…it was so weird and SO cool. It wasn’t just a boring lecture. We got to BE in performances for homework, and I learned so much about myself as an artist!

If you want to minor in something, it is difficult with MT, but totally possible of you plan it right! You just make sure your GEs are tailored towards your minor. I also love that the MTs and actors take the same acting/voice & speech/movement /combat classes. We are treated the same. We also have some really cool new things starting up for the MTs and Actors! Plus, the beautiful UCLA campus doesn’t hurt. I love it here! The people are amazing. The program is wonderful. And, I really feel like I am learning and growing SO much. At this point, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. That’s the best part. I don’t regret my decision one bit!

As far as working experience to prepare you for NY…that’s one thing that’s great about UCLA. Since we are in LA there is a LOT of theater and job opportunities for young actors. You’ll have lots of connections with the LA theater community. A lot of our professors direct productions and often cast students. Recently there were 2 sophomores in the La Mirada Equity production of Spring Awakening. One of them actually took a year off and was in the equity national tour of Spring Awakening! 
Lots of students do summer stock throughout the country. There are recent grads on Broadway, in regional shows, and in national tours. One of my really good friends just graduated and booked the equity tour of Sister Act just this past week!! UCLA likes to graduate “Smart Actors.” And lots of them are happily employed!! A year ago, an old UCLA grad won a TONY. It’s not unheard of for students to earn Equity Points while in school. Some students do fly to NY from time to time for auditions. Although, class comes first!! That’s important. That’s why we’re in school. To learn!!

I’ve learned that UCLA really makes sure to admit people that would succeed in their environment/program. So, if you are admitted, I would really consider it. But, make sure you explore all your options! I’m sure you are going to get into some great places! But, I can tell you this. You will not be disappointed if you choose to come to UCLA.

Once you hear back from places, don’t make your decision until you TRULY investigate for yourself. It’s a blessing to have options. I am so fortunate to have had some great options. But, you MUST choose for yourself. It’s not worth it to go to a school based off of it’s name and reputation.

This is a really exciting time, but it can be torturous too. It seemed like EVERYONE was getting in EVERYWHERE, and I was still waiting. It was really hard. But, eventually the good news came!! Towards the end of this whole process, I was admitted to a few really awesome schools, and I had great options! It just took a LOT of patience and waiting. It was VERY frustrating waiting for calls/emails. Don’t worry about it. It will all work out!!

Finally, I just want to reiterate that this stuff makes NO SENSE whatsoever. I was admitted to some fantastic, big name programs…and then I was rejected from some smaller, less-competative schools. Don’t stress about it. It will never make sense.

In 4 years, we all will be in New York together (or maybe Chicago or L.A. or some other wonderful place) and we all will be working and/or taking classes together. It won’t matter “where” we went to college. It will all work out!

You have no idea how happy I am with my choice. I’m sure I would have been happy at my “original choice,” but now I am truly in the PERFECT place for me.

Everyone has a different path. Just because a certain path worked for Kristin Chenoweth or Megan Hilty or Aaron Tveit or Ethel Merman or your friend at “the Universtiy-College-Conservatory-of-Wonderful” doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for you. I know it’s annoying and cliche, but listen to yourself and you WILL end up in the right place!

On May 1st, in the morning, I came to college sweatshirt day at my high school wearing clothing from one school…and by then end of the day; I had changed into a UCLA sweatshirt. If you had told me on April 30th that the next day I would change my mind and enroll at UCLA, I would NEVER have believed you. Now, one year later, I feel incredibly honored to call myself a Bruin. I already have had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities. UCLA truly is a very special place, and in the past year I have learned so much about myself and grown immensely as an artist, leader, and scholar. And the best part is…this is only the beginning!!

To all those applying in this upcoming year: Get ready; an incredible journey is about to start!

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