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.

Webster University

Your name: Bernell Lassai

School you attend: Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts

Major and degree type: Musical Theatre, BFA

Expected graduation date: May 2016

What initially drew you to your school? What made it your final choice?: What initially drew me to Webster was the fact that it was a conservatory. I nnew for certain that I wanted an education that was strictly theatre training. I loved the fact that Webster has an affiliation with both the St. Louis Repertory Theatre (Housed on the Webster campus) and The MUNY, which are two theatres that I have A LOT of respect for.  The faculty are the warmest and most nurturing people I have ever met! They gave this welcoming feeling from the start in my audition.

What was your audition experience like with this school? Was it different than other schools you auditioned for?: My Webster audition was a blast. The faculty was just SO engaging! Just waiting in the lounge before my audition, Peter Sargent (the dean made it a point to talk to ever student waiting and his personality is the absolute best! I auditioned at the Chicago Unifieds with Lara Teeter (head of the Musical Theatre Dept. at Webster) and Neal Richardson. These two were great, they gave great advice on auditioning and they allowed me to get know them and the school.  After singing my two songs and presenting my monologue they had me stay awhile and do my monologues again for the two teachers who were doing the acting audition. Again, the experience was pretty much the same; Kat Singleton is the most nurturing woman I’ve ever met! She ran a few acting exercises with me during my audition, which I believe really got me to loosen up.  Leaving that audition I felt awesome! I obviously didn’t know whether I got in or not, but I really felt like I learned something regardless. I know I did my best.

What do you feel your program’s strengths are?: The relationship with the professional theatres, the amazing faculty,  The small class sizes,  The AWESOME study abroad opportunities, and the AMAZING shows that are produced each season.

What do you like best about the faculty?: All of the professors are working professionals. Lara Teeter is a fabulous director and Tony nominated actor. Kat Singleton is just so gentle, witty, and a GENUIS acting teacher. I never thought I could make the amount of discoveries I’ve made in these 13 weeks, Neal Richardson is a Musical Theatre GENIUS! He knows how to play EVERY SONG in the MT canon and probably have all the sheet music too! He’s great with teaching you how to find the magic in your performance! My dance teachers focuses on technique A LOT, they are great with discovering your strengths and weaknesses and teaching you how to enhance them. All of my professors make time for US! If you ever need to talk about ANYTHING they are always there! They are honest with us and constantly pushing us to our “leading edge”.

What is your campus like?: Webster’s campus is medium size. It’s not too big and not too small. The longest it takes me to get to my furthest class is about 8 minutes tops! It’s in a beautiful suburb of St. Louis, Webster Groves. The people are friendly and you feel safe.

Do you feel your program places any particular emphasis on acting, dancing or singing, or is each area completely equal?:  Definitely a huge emphasis in acting! We take acting 4 times a week, along with voice & speech, and movement. Those three classes combined are synced together perfectly in our conservatory block which is Monday through Friday from 1pm – 5:20pm. I will say the vocal coaches here are some of the best and provide a solid and healthy technique to our actors and MT’s.

What types of techniques do you study? How do these techniques influence your program as a whole?: In acting we are studying mostly Stanislavsky, with a bit of Boleslavsky and Meisner in there. In voice we are studying Fitzmaurice. Movement is mostly Andrei Droznin, Lacoq, and now Viewpoints! Commedia Dell’Arte, Pilates. Shakespeare, and Restoration comes in later years. Our ballet technique is mostly Cecchetti.

What are the performance opportunities at your school?: Freshman are not allowed to perform during the school year, but you can audition and perform in summer stock during the summer! You are placed in the casting pool during your sophomore year. Usually the season consist of two musicals and the six plays. As an MT you are eligible to be in either play or musical. During the auditions on the first day of classes; casting directors from the St. Louis Rep are in attendance to cast students in roles that need to be filled at the Rep. Students are often chosen for productions there which allows them to gain equity points!

What are your tech requirements as a student?:  Every year you are required to work on a crew. Freshmen must complete three credits of crew and as you progress it gets lowered to one credit.

Does your school encourage arts related work outside of your program? If so, do they have someone to help you coordinate this work?: YES YES and YES. Almost every year students are employed at the Muny and other summer stock theatres, and students are ALWAY employed at the Rep throughout the year. Webster has an AMAZING study abroad program; the most popular for theatre students is the trip to London. I am auditioning for Midwest this year, which is an unified audition for summer stock theatres in the Midwest hosted by Webster. My teachers are coaching us to fully prepare us for the auditions!

How many men and how many women are in your class? Is this typical of other current classes in your program?: There are 8 men and 10 women.  This is actually a big class this year! Typically the MT class is around 10

Does your program have a cut system?:  NOPE.

Are you aware of anyone who has been offered professional work while studying? Were they encouraged to leave or stay? Is their spot in the program held?: You are allowed to take a leave of absence If that situation occurs.

Does your program do a senior showcase? What cities do you showcase in? Is every student invited to perform? If not, how are the students chosen?: Every student is a part of a showcase in New York and LA.

How many classes (or credit hours) do you take based in the arts? How many gen eds?:  We only need 12 credit hours in Gen eds and 113 required credit hours and 3 elective credit hours.

Please share your class schedule with descriptions of your classes:

Mondays:
Ballet I – 8:30- 9:50
Jazz I – 10:00- 11:20

CONSERVATORY BLOCK
Movement – 1:00 – 2:20
Acting – 2:30- 3:50
Text Analysis – 4:00- 5:20

Tuesdays:
Musicianship I – 9:00- 9:50
Beginning Piano – 10:00 – 10:50

CONSERVATORY BLOCK
Voice – 1:00 – 2:20
Movement – 2:30- 3:50
E.T’s (These are 30 min scenes performed by the sophomores that is directed by either a Junior directing major or Senior performance major in a directing class. THEY’RE AMAZING!) – 4:00 – 5:20

Wednesday
Ballet I – 8:30- 9:50
Jazz I – 10:00- 11:20
Musical Theatre coaching (This is once every two weeks for MT majors only) 11:25 – 11:45
Private Voice – 12:00 – 12: 50

CONSERVATORY BLOCK
Intro to Musical Theatre – 1:00 – 2:20
Voice – 2:30- 3:50
Acting – 4:00 – 5:20

Thursday
(Same Morning classes as Tuesday)

CONSERVATORY BLOCK
Acting – 1:00 – 2:20
BREAK!
Voice – 4:00 – 5:20

Friday
NO MORNING CLASSES FOR ME!

CONSERVATORY BLOCK
Acting – 1:00 – 2:20
Movement – 4:00 – 5:20

Feel free to share anything else about your program that you think is relevant for us to know, or what makes it great!: Webster is definitely home to me. I feel safe and loved here. The students are wonderful and the faculty is unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever made a better decision in my life! They teach us how to be the best artist that we can possibly be in this industry. They make sure we learn about all parts of the wonderful world of theatre and most importantly they teach us how to build a career that will LAST! Webster is FAR from the typical cookie cutter program!

Ready for the next step?

Get in touch with us

6 + 7 =

Don’t want to use the form?

Drop us an email | adriane@themtproject.org

Give us a ring | (734) 277.6611

Our place in the world | we’re located in Allen Park, Michigan, a suburb just south of Detroit. If you’re local or going to be in the area, we’d be happy to meet with you in person!

.