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Musical Theater Songwriting

Audition Info

Thank you for your interest in applying for the New York Youth Symphony's Musical Theater Songwriting Program!

Led by Director Anna K. Jacobs, the New York Youth Symphony's Musical Theater Songwriting Program is specially designed to lead students between the ages of 12 to 22 through a range of musical theater songwriting processes. In weekly seminars, students will learn about key songwriting tools, explore the relationship between music and language, discover the power of writer and performer collaborations, and foster an artistic community. They will discover the world of professional musical theater through visits from Broadway producers, directors, choreographers, designers, composers, librettists, actors, and musicians, as well as field trips to see professional productions and concerts. Sharing of student works will take place throughout the year and culminate in a public performance at one of NYC's iconic cabaret venues, Joe's Pub

Applications for the 2021/22 season are closed. Please check back in June 2022 for the 2022/2023 season application.

Musical Theater Songwriting interviews will be held in person on September 19, 20, and 23 (DOE Arts Office applicants only) at the NYYS offices (110 W 40th Street, Suite 1503, New York, NY 10018).

Applicants should review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying. If you have any questions, please email info(at)nyys(dot)org. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response as staff are working remotely.

Age Eligibility

New York Youth Symphony serves students between the ages of 12 and 22. In order to participate in the 2021/2022 season, the applicant's birth date must be no earlier than May 31, 1999 and no later than August 6, 2009, inclusive. Please do not apply if your birth date falls outside of these dates as you will not be eligible for the program and we are not able to refund your application fee.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

  • The New York Youth Symphony will require all Students to be vaccinated with an FDA emergency use authorized vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) in order to participate in any of our programs during the 2021/22 season. 
  • Proof of completed vaccination must be uploaded within the 2021/22 season application.
  • The reason for our vaccination requirement is to protect the health and safety of our NYYS community to the fullest extent possible.  
  • The NYYS will continue to rely on the most up-to-date medical information available and governmental guidance to make informed decisions about our vaccination requirement.
  • Individuals may request religious or medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements which will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Questions?  For more information, email info[at]nyys[dot]org.

Seminars and Performances

The Musical Theater Songwriting Program will meet weekly on Tuesdays between 5-8pm at The Harlem School of the Arts (Fall Semester) and the New York Youth Symphony offices (Spring Semester).

The 2021/22 season will feature guest lecturers including composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County, Songs for a New World), composer/lyricist team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on this Island, Anastasia, Seussical), composer Helen Park (KPOP, Over The Moon), composer and orchestrator Jamshied Sharifi (The Band's Visit) director and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (A Strange Loop, Lempicka), music director Meg Zervoulis (The Prom, Mean Girls, West Side Story), Dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director Natasha Sinha (Playwrights Horizons), and Dramaturg and Artistic Associate Anika Chapin (Goodspeed Musicals), and guest performers Christiani Pitts, (A Bronx Tale, King Kong), Eric William Morris (King Kong, Mamma Mia!), Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day), Brian Charles Rooney (The Threepenny Opera).

Students' works will be read and workshopped throughout the season, culminating in a final performance at the annual Songwriter Showcase concert at Joe's Pub on May 10, 2022.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the season, students in the Musical Theater Songwriting program will:

  • Learn how to develop musical theater stories and characters
  • Learn how to craft a musical theater song lyric
  • Develop music composition and arranging skills
  • Develop music publishing and music production skills
  • Practice collaboration with other young writers and performers
  • Practice giving and receiving constructive feedback
  • Develop confidence performing and presenting original work
  • Gain an exclusive window into the professional musical theater world
  • Discover how different musical theater artists have carved out a career for themselves
  • Become part of a creative, supportive, and inclusive community of young artists

Fees & Financial Aid

The application fee for the 2020/2021 season is $95. Upon acceptance to the program, there is a $365 registration fee. 

The NYYS recognizes that the cost of application and registration fees may be prohibitive for some students, and that access to technology may be a barrier to participation in online activities. Financial aid, application fee waivers, work-study, and technology funds are available to help offset these expenses. Financial need is the major consideration when awarding assistance. We ask that students seek funding through their personal networks in addition to completing the financial aid application as funds are limited.

Application fee waivers and additional financial aid are available. Apply FOR BOTH within the NYYS program application.

Materials to prepare for your application

As part of your application, you will be asked to attach two (2) original work samples. Your work samples can belong to any of the following categories: an original song (attach mp3 recording), an original composition (attach mp3 recording), an original lyric (attach as PDF), an original poem (attach as PDF), an original scene from a script (attach as PDF). You can include two work samples from the same category. If possible, please select samples that illustrate both your skill and range as a young artist. If you do not have two existing samples you can include, we encourage you to create new ones for your application.

What to Expect at Your Application Interview

Application interviews will be held in person on September 19, 20, and 23 (DOE Arts Office applicants only) at the NYYS offices (110 W 40th Street, Suite 1503, New York, NY 10018). Please wear a mask for your in-person interview.

Upon completing the online application, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to schedule your interview online as well as a supplemental form, which must be completed before your interview.

At your interview you will meet with the Director and/or Assistant Director of the Musical Theater Songwriting Program. Each applicant will be asked about the materials they submitted as part of their supplemental form, and as well as their reasons for applying to the MTS program.

Applications for the 2021/22 season are closed. Please check back in June 2022 for the 2022/2023 season application.

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