Program Overview

Musical Theater Pre-college Precollege
Musical Theater Students

This 2-week immersive pre-college program for rising high school juniors and seniors develops the abilities of experienced performers who are serious about musical theater and eager to work hard. Our goal is to have you experience what the first year of training at Syracuse will be like. We wish to help you grow creatively through full-time, college-level theater training under the direction of acclaimed professional performers and teachers.

Dance classes will introduce the technique and pedagogy of Ballet & Jazz with several other genres of dance sampled. Class structure will begin with a warm-up, with specific focus given to alignment and basic understanding of dance principles. Movement sequences will follow, culminating with a class combination that will be accumulative.

Voice classes will include productive warm-ups and practice technique, and postural, breath, resonance, and articulatory work. We will cover the basic tenets of vocal health and protecting the voice from overuse. The various styles of musical theater singing will be taught in small group repertoire work with voice faculty.

Acting classes incorporate basic group and individual exercises and improvisations in: vocal, physical, and emotional relaxation; concentration; and dramatic action. The goal is to develop consistent, thorough and effective use of the basic elements of the actor’s instrument as a whole: breath, body, voice, temperament, memory, mind, and imagination. Students will work on their prepared monologues as well as new material.

Musical theater performance classes synthesize much of the work above, including practice in lyric and song analysis, working within a free and responsive physical life, and developing strong “in the moment” concentration.

My experience at Syracuse this summer truly was life changing for me as an artist and person. I have made lifelong friends that I will treasure forever and got the experience of what it is like to be in college, including being responsible and accountable for myself. I also learned what it takes to be in a BFA program for Musical Theatre and Acting, and it has prepared me for the work I need to do to one day get there, and made my passion grow with teachers that challenged me in ways I have never been challenged before. -Tali P., Summer College Acting and Musical Theater student, 2018.

Program Objectives

Students in the Musical Theater at Syracuse program will:

  • Gain a strong understanding of the work entailed in the rigorous Syracuse BFA program
  • Improve skills for collegiate auditions
  • Grow in creativity and confidence as performers
  • Expand curiosity about and knowledge of the musical theater repertoire
  • Find joy and rewards in the processes and outcome of their work

Learn more about Musical Theater at Syracuse: The Freshmen Experience

Program Dates & Details  Eligibility Requirements  Program Cost  Program Requirements  Typical Day  Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session II: July 11 – July 25, 2020
Duration: 2- weeks


Credit: Noncredit
Grading System: Pass/Fail

Eligibility Requirements

For rising high school juniors and seniors in high school. Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.  For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page.

Audition Requirement

Students are required to submit audition pieces with their Slideroom Application. Auditions should include the following video submissions:

  • Two contrasting songs (each approximately one-minute in length)
  • One age-appropriate monologue
  • One dance segment, 45-60 seconds, any discipline, full body shot please

You should be the only person seen on the video. Submission of high school or other group productions is not admissible. The audition is submitted online with your application via SlideRoom. Instructions are provided in the application.

Each component of the audition should be approximately one minute in length. You should be the only person represented in the audition. Submission of high school or other group productions is not admissible. The audition is submitted online with your application via SlideRoom. Instructions are provided in the application.

Apply Now!

Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential (only): $3,560

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March. Discounts and scholarship are also available.

Program Requirements

What to Pack

  • Loose fitting comfortable clothing (jeans are not permitted in class) and sneakers or other flat shoes with closed toe.
  • Women’s dance attire: pink tights, black tights or leggings, leotards, ballet slippers, flat jazz shoes and/or character shoes
  • Men’s dance attire: black tights, white t-shirts, jazz pants or fitted sweatpants, dance belts, ballet shoes, jazz shoes or sneakers
  • All: Tap shoes if you have them
  • Sheet music for two musical theatre songs that you have memorized, ready to perform
  • Other songs that you have worked on recently
  • Two contrasting monologues (age appropriate) that you have memorized, ready to perform
  • All materials must be securely fastened in a three-ring binder

Student Expectations

Students in the Musical Theater program are expected to:

  • Display a commitment to the ongoing development of the physical instrument
  • Possess the ability to communicate effectively and clearly with teachers, and fellow students in the classroom
  • Come to class with imagination, creativity and a willingness to explore
  • Identify personal physical and aesthetic challenges, habits, tendencies
  • Demonstrate professionalism in attitude and behavior

This is a rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete brief nightly assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all obligations. Free time will be limited.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Photo of student dancing in Acting and Musical Theater
Musical Theater student in class

Classes run from 9:00 to 4:30 with time for lunch and a few short breaks. Classes focus on acting, vocal technique, musical skills, various styles of dance, movement, stage combat, monologue preparation, song analysis and acting through song.

Evening and weekend activities will include seminars, presentations, panel discussions, and visits from guest artists.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

End Event

The program culminates in an Open House on Friday, July 24, 2020 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Parents are encouraged to attend and see some of the work!

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to depart following the final performance.  If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bios

Rebecca J Karpoff

Rebecca is a Professor of Musical Theater Voice and Assistant Program Coordinator for Musical Theater at Syracuse University.  A soprano with a DMA from the Eastman School, she has sung in opera, symphonic concerts, chamber music, recitals, and cabaret around the world.  For the past 15 years, she has specialized in Musical Theater vocal technique as coordinator of Vocal Instruction in the Department of Drama, where she teaches courses on vocal physiology and health, musicianship skills, private voice lessons, and Advanced Musical Theater Repertoire. She has also directed and/or music directed numerous Department projects, from established full-length musicals to new works, devised works, and student cabarets.

Andrea Leigh-Smith

Andrea is a Professor of Dance and Program Coordinator for Musical Theatre in the Department of Drama at Syracuse University. With the Department of Drama, Andrea currently teaches classes in Jazz, Musical Theater Styles, and Musical Theater Repertoire, specific to Jerome Robbins. Beyond the confines of Syracuse, Andrea’s credits include the Broadway companies of SMILE and Jerome Robbins Broadway. She has numerous credits with national tours, Radio City Music Hall, and major regional theaters in both the U.S. and Canada. Andrea is a founding company member of The Building Company Theater, and The Irondale Ensemble Project Canada. Andrea has created numerous choreographic works, inclusive of contemporary concert, jazz, and musical theater repertoire. She is a founding faculty member of The Ballet and Dance Center in Syracuse and a certified Stott/Merrithew Pilates instructor.