Information for Transfer Students (Musical Theatre)
This information addresses the specific needs of transfer students, who are unique in their experience, transfer credit, and program expectations. Some have researched our program in depth, and as such have a good handle on what we offer. For those who are unfamiliar with our program, please read the below information carefully.
If you are interested in any other Theatre degree emphasis/concentration, please see our catalog or call the Department of Theatre & Dance for appropriate referral: (657) 278-3628.
Important Notice: Even though you have received an A.A. in theatre, this does NOT mean that you are automatically qualified to jury for our BFA program. There are specific courses and skills required before you may jury, and your transfer college might not offer those courses and/or skills. While we apologize for their shortcomings in preparing you for study at CSUF, we cannot make exceptions in jury requirements – you must meet all prerequisites before you may jury.
The first thing you must do is apply to the University – it is impossible to evaluate in depth every student who is interested in our program (these number in the hundreds), and we are reticent to invest the time it takes to evaluate transfer credits without you showing us your serious interest in both the program and attending CSUF. Therefore, until you have applied to the University, all we can offer you is the basic program/curriculum requirements information.
Only one application form is required: the one to the university. If the university accepts you as a transfer, we accept you as a Theatre major – but you are not in the BFA program until you have passed your juries.
Please Note: As of Fall 2010, the CSU system has changed its admission policies concerning transfer students. Students who have taken the majority of their course work at an Orange County community college (and only community college) will be admitted with a GPA of 2.0 and above. Those students transferring from any other institutions, or community colleges outside of Orange County will need a higher GPA (in excess of 3.5 most likely) and will probably be wait listed for admission. Please understand that successfully auditioning for either BFA program does NOT guarantee you a spot in the university or the Department of Theatre and Dance. In other words, you may be wait-listed and be denied admission regardless of the quality or success of your audition. All prospective students will have to meet the university admission requirements and space will need to be available for admittance for all non Orange County community college transfers.
Transfer Credit Evaluation
Once you have applied to the university, email Professor Jim Taulli for a transcript evaluation – this must be done well before jurying. Professor Taulli is the Undergraduate Advisement Coordinator for Theatre and processes all transfer equivalency evaluations for Musical Theatre – only he can evaluate whether your theatre, dance and music credits meet our required curriculum and meet all prerequisites, thus clearing you to jury. It is very important to email him a copy of your unofficial transcripts, and also the catalog descriptions and copies of course syllabi (if available) for courses that you believe to be equal to BFA jury prerequisites, as soon as possible after you have applied to the university.
The following course work must be successfully completed (or nearly completed) before you may jury:
Theatre 200: Art of Theatre (Play Analysis) or equivalent, with a grade of C or better (3 units):
• Study of scripts with emphasis on dramatic analysis and cultural significance. (Having learned script analysis in an acting class(es) is not equivalent to a semester’s study of nothing but script analysis. Similarly, Introduction to Theatre courses (such as THTR 100) are not equivalent to THTR 200.
Theatre 141A and 141B: Voice and Movement for the Stage (or equivalent) with a grade of B- or better (4 units):
• Intensive training in the integral use of the voice and body for the actor; developing skills for vocal and physical relaxation, flexibility and strength. Introduction to basic anatomy and physiology.
Theatre 140: Acting I (or equivalent) with a grade of B- or better (2 units):
• Improvisation, movement, relaxation and characterization techniques for performance.
Theatre 240A and 240B: Acting II (or equivalent) with a grade of B- or better (6 units):
• Improvisations, exercises and techniques of acting for the stage. Motivation and behavior in characterization. Additional course work STRONGLY recommended for Musical Theatre candidates:
Ballet II (DANC 212); Jazz II (DANC 232); Tap II (DANC 242); Fundamentals of Musical Theatre Performance (THTR 236A & 236B); Music Theory for Non-Majors (MUS 101); and Basic Music Reading and Sight Singing (THTR 181).
Please understand that our program is one of the best in the nation – a fact I’m sure you have carefully considered when researching transfer institutions. You are welcome to jury once you meet all the prerequisites, but we accept a very limited number of students (10 to 12) each year – and all must be triple threats. The additional coursework prepares you for the quality and pace of the material and advanced technique expected at the jury level.
Students must jury (audition) in three areas: singing, dancing (tap, ballet and jazz), and acting. Juries occur only in May (coinciding with the beginning of our final exam week) – please contact Professor Mitch Hanlon for confirmation of the May audition dates this year.
If you have met all the above prerequisites, you may jury. The Musical Theatre jury consists of three auditions:
ACTING: Two contrasting contemporary monologues, not to exceed 3 minutes total; OR, one 3- minute scene contemporary realism scene with a partner that you must provide – email Professor Maria Cominis, Acting Division auditions coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for acting jury appointment or information.
SINGING/VOICE: Preparation of 4 musical theatre songs of various styles from the musical theatre repertoire that display both vocal character and range: 2 ballads, and 2 up- tempos. An accompanist will be provided. You will sing one song of your choice first, then the audition committee may select from 1 to 3 more songs (or portions of songs) from your prepared selections. You will likely not sing all the songs on your prepared list. Please limit repeated verses (AABA is standard.) Email Mitch Hanlon, the Musical Theater BFA Coordinator for information.
DANCE: Learning and performing a variety of musical theatre dance routines in styles including jazz, tap and ballet. Email Bill Lett, the Musical Theatre Dance Coordinator for information.
Questions Regarding Juries
Should I Jury?
The answer is really up to you. Have you met (or nearly finished) all of the prerequisite courses with the minimum grades required? Can you spare the expense and time for a three-day jury here on campus? Can you handle potential failure? Do you welcome brutally honest feedback? Do you feel you are truly competitive for advanced studies in this program, nationally recognized for excellence? If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then yes, you should jury. But only you can answer these questions (I suggest that you will get a better idea of what awaits you here by visiting our department with plenty of time to assess and consider before you jury).
Students who feel underprepared at the jury won’t perform at their best, and might be overwhelmed by the whole process. We know that a trip here for a three-day weekend in May can be a dear expense, and want to give you all the information to decide if that trip is right for you at this stage in your training.
What if I Don’t Pass, Don’t Qualify, or Am Not Ready to Jury?
In the event you fail your jury prior to enrolling at CSUF, or if you are not prepared or qualified to jury upon transfer, you may opt to take coursework here at CSUF and then jury in a subsequent May*. You start as either a freshman or sophomore in our program (your choice), taking any jury prerequisite and/or preparatory courses needed to prepare for the jury; this will also afford you the opportunity to see where you are in relation to your peers, and to evaluate your potential for success in our highly demanding program before deciding on whether to jury at the end of your “sophomore” year in the department.
* Only transfer students who fail a jury prior to commencing their studies at CSUF may re-jury in a subsequent May. Once you have commenced studies here, you get only one opportunity to jury. Therefore, it is important to talk about the timing of your jury with a faculty advisor.
You should attend an on-campus Transfer Student Orientation (rather than doing an online orientation) during the summer (see the campus website or your Titan Online account for orientation information and dates). At the orientations on campus, you will meet with an advisor who will assign you a track of courses/sections in which you a permit will be placed, enabling you to enroll. All our performance and jury prerequisite courses are “enrollment by permit” only. Certain performance-based classes are “enrollment by audition” only, so no permit will be issued until after an assessment audition.
What If I Am Not Admitted to the BFA in Musical Theatre When I Jury?
If you don’t pass all three areas of your jury, you cannot pursue the BFA in Musical Theatre. However, if you fail either your voice and/or dance jury but pass your acting jury, you may be considered for the BFA Acting degree track – many of our best actors are/were originally musical theatre candidates. If accepted as an Acting BFA, THTR 241A/B Voice & Movement II (an Acting degree requirement) can be taken in your junior year. Be advised the BFA Acting program is similarly limited in the number of students advanced to the junior level (14 to 16), and students must likewise jury every semester for retention/advancement.
If you aren’t admitted to either performance degree track, you can continue as a B.A. in Theatre - Liberal Arts Concentration degree candidate (all of the theatre courses – not dance – you have taken towards the BFA degree will apply directly to the BA Liberal Arts degree); or you may opt to change your emphasis to one of the other fine Department emphases: Directing, Playwriting and Stage Management are all viable options that you should be able to complete within two years (so you aren’t adding any time on to your degree). Of course, this presumes that you have successfully completed all of your lower division theatre requirements. Switching to a Tech/Design, Dance, or Theatre Education emphasis will likely require more than two years to complete due to fewer shared core curriculum (added drafting, cad lab, and intro design courses; or English and Education coursework; or Choreography, Composition and Modern dance; none of these are required of BFA candidates).
Can I Take Any Performance Class I Want?
Most of our performance (acting, musical theatre, dance, and voice & movement) classes are enrollment by assessment only.
Each fall, the Musical Theatre I (236A) class (enrollment is by audition only) has limited space available for transfers. Show up to the first class meeting of the section you wish to enroll in. At that class meeting, the instructor will give you all the information about the class expectations (syllabus review), and then you will take place in the PLACEMENT ASSESSMENT audition, when you will perform a 32-bar cut it in front of a panel of faculty auditors who will rate your abilities. An accompanist is provided. The most qualified students will be permitted. You may be admitted to another section (other than that which works with your already set schedule) – we will not over-enroll any section, to ensure adequate instruction and performance time for each student. If you can’t accommodate the other section in your schedule, you have the option of not taking the course – you can still jury without 236A/B (but realize that the likelihood of you remaining competitive without this class is diminished).
Students must pass a PLACEMENT AUDITION to be accepted into the second semester of both Acting II (THTR 240B) and Musical Theatre I (THTR 236B). All placement auditions for these two courses sections are held only in December. These auditions are typically held during the last week of classes or during final exam week. Your instructor for 236A/240A will give you the information in class.
All level II (and higher) dance courses require a PLACEMENT AUDITION (usually offered mid- semester, but also the first week of fall classes for transfer students).
Also, be aware that our acting, musical theatre, and voice & movement courses are not repeatable for credit; so you get only one shot at them.
What if I Do Pass My Juries?
If you successfully pass all three jury auditions, you will be given a schedule of classes to which you will be permitted to enroll (with the goal of timely completing the BFA course sequence). That permit guarantees you a seat in the BFA sections of performance (and some other department) courses.
Additionally, you will receive course credit for a stage crew assignment each semester until you have met the department requirement (four semesters total for transfers).
Once in the BFA, you must audition for, and perform as cast in, season productions. Only BFA and graduate students are guaranteed season casting each semester. Also, Musical Theatre BFA students will be cast in a substantial role (lead, supporting lead) in a musical before they complete the senior level performance course sequence.
Other performance opportunities for BFA MT junior and seniors include: the Preeminents , CSUF’s touring musical ambassador ensemble, performing both on and off campus; Front and Center , a major industrial presented at the Honda Center, opening for a world-class musical singer/group; and Vision and Visionaries , a musical tribute to extraordinary alumni and community members.
In the spring of the senior year of BFA MT studies, students are taken to New York City for a Senior Showcase, performed for industry professionals; expenses paid for by the Department include theatre rental, accompanist and drummer fees, airfare, hotel room, advertising, etc. (however, the student must pay for their meals).
Interested in a Tour of Facilities and Observing Classes?
If you would like, we can arrange a facilities tour with a current BFA student, and also see if you might observe some performance classes and/or rehearsals. These visits and tours are available:
1. In the fall, after the first week of the semester, but before Thanksgiving week break; and
2. In the spring after February 1st (when classes are settled in and on course) but before the end of April (when classes are preparing jury scenes and final projects).
It is preferred that students come by when they can observe a few classes. Fridays are not recommended, as few performance classes are offered. For more information, contact Prof. Jim Taulli.