How to Become a Musical Theater Performer

A musical theater performer requires training and experience to develop singing, dancing and acting skills. Aspiring professionals can obtain needed skills through performing arts high schools, drama schools, colleges such as the AMDA College and Conservatory of Fine Arts, music colleges and conservatories. Amateurs who wish to get into musical theater as a hobby can join a community theater group. To improve their skills, aspiring performers should consider private acting, voice and dance instruction. Venturing into the world of musical theater is both challenging and rewarding.

Step 1

Enroll in a university or college program that offers degrees in musical theater. Audition for choir groups, operas and musical theater productions offered by your educational institution or home town. Contact local performers or university theater arts departments and ask for recommendations for singing, dancing and acting coaches. You can also contact and join organizations like the National Association of Teachers of Singing for musical theater auditions and opportunities.

Step 2

Take courses in music theater, dance, singing, acting and stage production at a college or through programs offered by your local community center. Hobbyists can consult with local performing arts institutions or performers for suggestions on instruction/performing opportunities and resources.

Step 3

Prepare a portfolio of songs to sing for your auditions. These songs should showcase your diversity and highlight your singing strengths. Be prepared to act and dance in the style required by any parts you will be auditioning for.

Step 4

Make friends with colleagues in your music theater program or from shows you do. These connections can help you later in life when these friends become professional musicians, producers, directors and actors.

Step 5

Perform as often as possible to gain exposure and experience. Take as many acting, singing and dance lessons as you can afford.

Step 6

Aspiring professionals should go to one of the main centers for musical theater. New York is a great place to gain exposure once you have developed a resume and have performance experience. California, especially Los Angeles, also provides opportunities for musical performers. If you don't want to make a move to the big city, try to get established in a smaller city that provides musical theater opportunities.

A college or conservatory degree increases your chances of a successful professional career. Producers and directors are always looking for new talent and a degree in musical theater lets them know you have a solid foundation and reasonable experience.

Musical theater is an extremely competitive profession. Without extensive training and single-minded dedication, you will have difficulty competing. Unless you are willing to commit to training and practice for several hours per day, every day, and refuse to be discouraged, you should probably look for another career.

Performing in unpaid productions in the city will hone your skills and increase your chances of being seen by an agent. Send your head shot and resume to talent agencies and invite agents to see your work. Persistence is essential.


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