Skip to main content

Musical Theater Songwriting

Audition Info

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

Applications for the 2020/2021 orchestra season are closed. Please check back in June 2021 for the 2021/2022 season application.

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

The health and safety of NYYS students and their families are of the greatest importance to the NYYS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all auditions and activities will be held online in accordance with governmental regulations through March 2021.

We encourage each applicant to review the guidelines on this page to make sure that they can fulfill the commitment to the program before applying. If you have questions, please contact the NYYS staff at info(at)nyys(dot)org.

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 November 1, 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.

Seminars and Performances

The Musical Theater Songwriting Program will meet weekly on Tuesdays between 4:30-7:30 pm. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Fall and Winter sessions will be held online via Zoom

This season will feature guest lecturers including composer and orchestrator Tom Kitt (Next To Normal, If/Then), composer/lyricist and playwright Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Bella: An American Tall Tale), Tony and Grammy Award-winning music director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen), director Leigh Silverman (Violet), producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper (Be More Chill, Broadway Bounty Hunter, Love In Hate Nation), orchestrator Kris Kukul (Beetlejuice), costume designer Amy Clark (A Night with Janice Joplin, Chaplin), and composer Mike Pettry (The Light Princess,  The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes, Vampirina). Guest performers include Austin Scott (Hamilton, Girl From The North Country), Will Roland (Dear Evan Hansen, Be More Chill), Britney Coleman (Tootsie, Sunset Boulevard), and L. Morgan Lee (A Strange Loop).

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 26, 2021.

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. In addition to the application fee, there is a $355 registration fee upon acceptance into the program. 

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 require prior approval. 
Click here to request an application fee waiver
Please wait for a response before beginning your program application. You will receive a response within 48 hours of submitting your request.

Additional financial aid is available 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 September 28 - October 1 via Zoom - please download the Zoom app for free here. Upon completing the online application, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to schedule your interview online. If you are unable to access Zoom for your interview, please contact Shauna Quill at squill(at)nyys(dot)org to make alternate arrangements.

At your interview you will meet virtually with the Director and/or Assistant Director of the Musical Theater Songwriting Program. Each applicant will be asked to share and discuss the materials they submitted as part of their online application.

Apply for the 2020/2021 Season

Applications for the 2020/2021 orchestra season are closed. Please check back in June 2021 for the 2021/2022 season application.