Nebraska Trip!


Nebraska TripThe largest group ever of rising seniors from the HSPVA Theatre Department (27 students) made the annual trek the International Festival Festival at the University of Nebraska, June 23-28, with Ms. Ogden and Mr. Duncan as trip chaperones. HSPVA Theatre seniors began their college theatre admissions process by auditioning for and meeting representatives from more than 50 colleges at the Festival. The trip was very successful with several students receiving more than 30 callbacks from their auditions and some received on-the-spot offers of acceptance and scholarships to audition-based programs. Throughout the fall and spring of their senior year, theatre students will be applying and auditioning for college theatre programs and scholarships, after spending two six week periods in their Junior year preparing for the audition process.

HSPVA will host the Greater Houston Area Auditions again this year on November 23, and the seniors are already making plans for their trip to National Unified Auditions in Chicago, February 2-4.


So you want to major in performing arts?

Brian Wis, former Associate Dean for Enrollment at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University wrote a great article on things to think about if you are considering majoring the performing arts in college.  His article can be found here:

So you want to major in the arts?

Brians covers the following topics in his article, which dovetail nicely with the presentation that you will see by Ms. Ogden at Theatre Department College Night:

  • Majoring in the arts is NOT like high school
  • Choosing potential schools
  • Where to begin
  • Identifying your school “type”
  • Developing your long and short lists
  • Who can you trust?
  • Paring down your long list into your short list
  • Scheduling your visits
  • Preparing Applications and Auditions
  • Financial Aid
  • The Waiting Game
  • Understanding financial aid, scholarships, and “out-of-pocket” costs
  • Asking for more financial assistance
  • How much scholarship can I expect?
  • What younger students should do

While the article is slanted towards music majors, the recommendations apply to theatre majors as well – Roosevelt has a well-known Theatre Department.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

On getting mentally ready for the process:

Keep your ego in check. Remember that–at the very best schools–well over half the applicants are not accepted. Remember too that most applicants are just like you: The very best in their school. Yes, be confident, but remember that you may not be admitted to some schools that you consider a top choice. Remember too that your parents always believe that you are the best (that’s why they are such a great support system for you throughout this process), but you must keep your feet on the ground and know that the competition can be fierce. Sometimes parents can be devastated and even offended when their child is not admitted to a particular music school…

On conservatories:

The modern-day conservatory is one of the most misunderstood college types, and with good reason. Conservatories, in their original form, were little more than businesses for private instruction. They were not originally degree-granting institutions. Conversely, most colleges and universities did not originally offer degrees in the arts. The period around the middle of the 20th century saw a “move to the middle” where both types began to act a little like the other. Furthermore, while there were hundreds of conservatories in the early 20th century, today there are only eight that are independent institutions…

While conservatory training may not be for everyone, one simple fact remains true: Every major orchestra and opera company (and increasingly, Broadway production) in the United States is comprised primarily of alumni from schools that offer conservatory training…

On developing your list of schools:

Develop a list of at least twelve schools, most (not all) of which fall into your “type.” Regardless of type, be sure to include a few schools that your family can afford and you feel confident you will be accepted. Remember to keep your ego and emotions in check! You are not picking a favorite in this phase. First a school must choose you…

The full article is well worth reading.

Dallas College Audition Workshop


Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards in partnership with Texas State University is holding the 1st Annual College Audition Workshop at the Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas on Aug. 17-18.

At this forum, aspiring young high school performers and their parents will have opportunity in one location to meet theater faculty from seven top Texas in-state universities, hear presentations about their programs, participate in a mock dance call and present their audition material and receive valuable feedback and direction from university faculty members. Students will also be able to attend a talk given by Mary Anna Dennard, nationally renowned college audition coach and author of I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting & Musical Theatre.

The following schools are participating:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Baylor University
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas State University
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • University of Texas at Austin

Student participation is on two levels:

$65 Level

  • All college program presentations
  • Mary Anna Dennard presentation, (including free copy of her book, I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting & Musical Theatre)
  • Audit mock dance & vocal/monologue auditions

$125 Level

  • All college program presentations
  • Mary Anna Dennard presentation (including free copy of her book, I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting & Musical Theatre)
  • Participation in mock dance & vocal/monologue auditions including feedback and direction from university faculty upon acceptance – applicants must submit audition video.

For more information and to register, click here.

Space is limited; participation fees are non-refundable. Attendance fee will be charged at time of application. Students wanting to participate in mock audition must submit audition video on line; balance for mock audition participation will be charged upon acceptance.

Parents may attend presentations and auditions free of charge as space allows – you must RSVP to attend (see email below).

For more information email:

HSPVA to Host Greater Houston Area Auditions in 2013

The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) will once again host the Greater Houston Area Auditions on November 24, 2013.  The Greater Houston Area Auditions auditions provide an opportunity for high school theatre students from the Houston area who intend to major in theatre to audition for college admissions and scholarships.  In 2012, more than 27 colleges, universities, and academies attended the auditions including:  Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia College Chicago, CalArts, CAP21, KD College, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Oklahoma City University School of Theatre, Oklahoma University Helmerich School of Drama, Oklahoma University Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre, Penn State University, Pepperdine University A, , Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts, Sante Fe University of Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The University of the Arts, University of Evansville, University of Houston, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Wyoming, Viterbo University, Wake Forest University, and Webster University.

Registration for the auditions will open in September.  For more information, click on the link below:

Greater Area Houston Auditions 2013

Summer Theatre Programs

A long list of summer theatre programs available for high school students at colleges and camps around the country (and beyond) is available under the Special Programs menu or you can click here.  There are more than 30 programs on the list and web links are included.  Many of the programs are very competitive for entry and require live or video auditions.

Top 5 Things I Wish I’d Done Before College

Alexa Dogget, undergrad Musical Theatre Major at Coastal Carolina, listed the “Top 5 Things I’d Wish I’d Done Before Undergrad” in a recent blog on Theatre Mania:

1. Got Unwanted Classes Out of the Way

…I wish I had made more of an effort to take, for example, AP Math or Biology so that there was room in my schedule now for New Works, Opera Scenes, or Forensic Anthropology.

2. Went to the Gym/Ate Healthier

.. I wish that while in high school I had established better eating patterns and had developed a workout schedule. Although body image is important in our careers, I am more invested now not necessarily because of weight, but for overall health and well-being. I’ve made the transition where I am now buying my own groceries and going to the gym 5-6 days a week. Now the goal is to create a lifelong lifestyle and doable routine. A jump start pre-college would have been extremely helpful.

3. Taken Time Off

… I was always dead-set on doing local performances during my high school summers. Now I spend much of the year planning and auditioning for summer jobs- and I know I am not alone on this hunt! … But somewhere deep down I sometimes wish I could spend the summer, I don’t know… touring Europe! If I had just set aside time in high school to get off the stage, I think it would have quenched some of this thirst for the “outside.”

4. Read More Plays

…I wish I would have gotten a leg up and learned more about theatre as a whole…From Shaw to Shepard to Styne… those names roll off of the tongue in typical theatre speak, and a lot of it went over my head until I put forth an effort to research and be informed.

5. Saved Money

…I try and save quite a bit while working during my summers, but bills pile up. And when friends want me to go see a scary movie and I can’t afford it, it’s a bummer. Although I am lucky that my parents help me out when I really need it, I’ve been trying to start being financially responsible as I will be in full-on “adulthood” soon enough. Money saved will begin to be put towards NYC, and if I’d learned this thriftiness earlier, life would be more secure.

To read her entire post, go to: