School of Drama Audition/Portfolio FAQ

How long will my audition or portfolio review last?

Please allow for at least four hours for an audition and one hour for a portfolio review.

How should I prepare for my School of Drama audition or portfolio review?

Review the audition and portfolio review requirements by major webpage for more information.

Is dance no longer part of the music theater audition?

Yes, the School of Drama no longer requires a dance portion for music theater auditions. Every student who enrolls in music theater at Carnegie Mellon will be evaluated on their dance skills by the dance faculty at the beginning of the fall semester and will be placed at the appropriate level in classes.

Why did you decide to remove dance from the music theater audition?

Dance continues to be an essential part of our music theater training and we're making this decision due to trends in the profession. We've often accepted students who show something unique in the acting and singing auditions even when those candidates have had very limited dance experience. The dance curriculum is required of all students enrolled into the music theater option, and we know we can shape students as a music theater performer. We pride ourselves on our ability to train dancers of all levels as they progress through our music theater curriculum and graduate after four years of conservatory training.

Are you changing the music theater curriculum at Carnegie Mellon?

No changes will be made to the dance portion of the music theater curriculum. Dance has and always will continue to be a vital part of our training. Music theater students will continue to receive a focused, rigorous four-year progression of training in ballet, jazz, tap and Broadway dance styles. The curriculum allows the dance faculty the ability to divide or group students, depending on previous dance background or experience. The focus is dedicated to developing a well-rounded and facile student who understands the origins, theories and technique of dance. The goal of this dance training is to enable the student to emerge in the profession as a viable candidate to handle the demands for Broadway, regional theater and national touring companies.

What will I study in these dance classes as a music theater student?

In ballet class, the student studies classical technique, which is the foundation of: “how to” in dance vocabulary. This technique develops muscular strength, endurance, control of body placement and alignment, a sense of aesthetics and variety of movement dynamics.

Jazz classes incorporate the strength of classical dance technique while exploring a variety of body isolations, music styles, rhythmic patterns and vocabulary not covered in ballet. The student will study a variety of contemporary styles i.e. (latin, blues, African, lyrical, hip-hop).

Tap class teaches the student to use the feet to execute a variety of percussive rhythmic patterns and become adept with the precision and dynamics of sound.

Broadway Dance Styles class provides the student opportunity to learn, and execute original choreography from noted Broadway choreographers sampling a wide range of styles from classic and current Broadway repertoire.

Can a School of Drama student complete a double major or minor?

In short, yes (with the exception of music theater students). However, completing a double major would likely take longer than four years. If a student wishes to pursue a double major, the School of Drama major would need to be his/her primary major, and drama courses would need to be taken in sequence with no substitutions or exceptions.

Completing a minor is possible within four years, provided the minor requirements don’t conflict with drama classes. In the last two years, students have graduated with minors in creative writing, english, political science, business management, gender studies and french and francophone studies. For music theater students, it’s more of a challenge to complete a minor as you don’t have as many opportunities to fit electives into your schedule. It’s possible, but it’d greatly depend on the minor requirements.

How many students apply to the School of Drama? How many are admitted?

In 2016, the School of Drama received over 2,900 applications. This number varies from year to year. Approximately 80 students are admitted to the School of Drama every year and 60 students enroll. On average, 12-14 students are admitted into music theater, 14-18 in acting, 20-25 in design/production, 5-7 in directing and 5-7 in dramaturgy.

Are transfer students accepted into the School of Drama?

Yes. The admission process is identical for transfer students and incoming freshmen. For acting, music theater, directing, design, and production technology and management, transfer students are classified as freshmen in the program. For dramaturgy, if you’re transferring from another university or from one of Carnegie Mellon’s other colleges, you’ll be classified as a freshman unless you can demonstrate that you’ve completed a program equivalent to dramaturgy’s freshman year. Transfer credit will be evaluated on an individual basis.

How much of my admission to Carnegie Mellon is based on the pre-screening, audition or portfolio review?

The pre-screening, audition or portfolio review is the primary basis for admission consideration into the School of Drama. The Office of Admission also reviews the student’s standardized testing, high school performance, extracurricular activities and demonstrated interest, keeping in mind that these students are applying to a conservatory theater program. Admission to the School of Drama and Carnegie Mellon as a whole, is highly selective.

Will I receive an admission decision on the day of my audition or portfolio review?

No. The drama faculty committees meet to make decisions only after seeing all students audition or interview. Once decisions are made, the committees send their recommendations to the Office of Admission for further review. Students will receive an official admission decision from the Office of Admission between March 15 and April 15.

Can I take a tour of the School of Drama?

Can I take a tour of the School of Drama?

Yes. Please visit the School of Drama website to sign up for a tour.

Who are your alumni and where are they working?

As the oldest conservatory training program within a university in the United States, the School of Drama has had the privilege of training the next generation of innovators and leaders in the theater, film, television and diverse performing arts industries for nearly one hundred years. From composers and actors to engineers and lighting designers, School of Drama alumni have worked in film, television and theater all over the world and many have been recognized with prestigious awards, including Academy Awards, Emmy Awards and Tony Awards.

Do the pre-screening audition monologues/songs need to be different than the live audition monologues/songs?

No (other than the live audition pieces are slightly longer in length, which is highlighted in the email notification students receive if they’re granted a live audition). Students can use the same materials for both the pre-screening and live audition, or can present different pieces at each. The School of Drama advises that for each audition students use pieces they’re most comfortable with and prepared to present – and pieces that presents the student best.

Is it possible to cancel or change my audition?

If you need to reschedule or cancel your audition, please log back into your Acceptd account and use their scheduling function to search for and reserve another open slot. If an audition/review time or date is not available when you log in, we’ve already reached capacity and we’re unable to accommodate any additional students at that time. You can find more information scheduling an audition in Acceptd here.