Course Overview

This unique pre-college program for high school students develops the abilities of experienced performers who are serious about musical theater and eager to work hard. Focusing on process more than product, we will focus on developing the technique and skills needed for singing, acting, and dancing in Musical Theater. Faculty members from the renowned Syracuse University Department of Drama will engage with students in varying online formats, with an eye toward helping students choose appropriate material for college admission auditions.

Course Topics

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

“When I initially began the Syracuse Summer College Musical Theater Program, I wondered whether the renowned M.T. department would be able to reach and inspire students through an online format. Over the course of three extremely rewarding weeks this past July, I received a resoundingly positive answer to my question: yes. The faculty’s balancing of their impressive skill set with genuine enthusiasm and determination to help students improve made the program so rewarding that I no longer questioned learning through an online platform. The professors were understanding and encouraging, creating a safe and fun environment where each student learned how to be the best performer (and person) possible. The faculty meticulously dove into our artistic material with specific analysis and helpful one-on-one feedback. In short, I fell in love with Syracuse and everything it stands for, especially individuality, commitment, community, and school pride. Through the program, I gained confidence in my craft. I am very proud to have been a part of such a challenging, balanced, friendly, and meaningful program, which fit perfectly into the University that shared the same values.”

— Margo S., Summer College Online Musical Theater student, 2020.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 035

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school junior, or senior status – or a 2021 high school graduate. 

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

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.

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail

Cost: $2,500
Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.


Program Information

Summer College Online: Explore college life before stepping foot on campus! High school students can enroll in a college-level course, pursue their academic interests, and meet likeminded students in daily virtual events and activities.


Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College Online3-Week Session I:
 July 19 – August 6, 2021
MTWThF
12PM – 6PM
(3 to 5 hours per day)
NoncreditClosed

Course Requirements

Technology Requirements

  • Laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and mouse
  • Reliable internet access
  • A space conducive to taking an online class (without distractions)
  • A smartphone or tablet for playing audio tracks
  • We recommend inexpensive open-back headphones, and a USB speaker for the best sound experience

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
  • Come to synchronous class with imagination, creativity and a willingness to explore
  • Identify personal physical and aesthetic challenges, habits, tendencies
  • Demonstrate professionalism in attitude and behavior

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students will be required to attend a virtual synchronous class Monday – Friday from 12(noon) – 6:00pm Eastern Time. A number of evening workshops will also be included. Click here to view the 2020 schedule as a sample. All classes are taught by current faculty of the Department of Drama. Several current Drama students will be on staff for extra help and fun evening activities.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College virtual activities to meet and connect with other students across the world. Check out our Virtual Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Rebecca Karpoff, director

Department of Drama

Associate Chair for Academic Administration

Associate Teaching Professor, Musical Theater
Coordinator of Vocal Instruction

rjkarpof@syr.edu Rebecca Karpoff teaches Musical Theater Voice and serves as the Associate Chair for the Department of Drama at Syracuse University.  A soprano with a DMA from the Eastman School of Music, 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 has taught 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.

Richard Crawley

Department of Drama

Instructor, Musical Theater

Tenor Richard Crawley has performed leading roles with opera houses and symphony orchestras all over the world. Opera companies include the Metropolitan, New York City, San Francisco, Houston, and Santa Fe Operas, Lyric Opera of Chicago Staatstheater Stuttgart, Opéra de Québec, the Savonlinna Festival in Finland, the Marinsky Theater in Russia, and the Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires, among others. Symphony engagements include the Tokyo Philharmonic, the American, Baltimore, and Hong Kong Symphonies, and appearances in New York City at Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall. As an educator, Crawley has presented master classes across the United States and also served on the faculties of Loyola College (Baltimore); the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Binghamton University. Professor Crawley teaches voice, ear training and music theory at Syracuse.

Stephen Cross

Department of Drama

Associate Professor, Acting Celia and Issac Heiman Chair

Stephen Cross is the founder and artistic director of the Irondale Ensemble Project in Canada, where he initiated the Irondale School for Ensemble Theatre. He has worked as an actor and director in regional theaters in Canada and the United States, off-Broadway, and at the Stratford Festival in Canada. Cross has an extensive background in ensemble theater and community-based arts practice. He is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Andrea Leigh-Smith

Department of Drama

Professor of Practice, Musical Theater, Program Coordinator

Andrea Leigh-Smith has worked as a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher for more than 30 years in the U.S. and Canada. Broadway credits include “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway” and “SMILE.” She also has numerous credits with national tours, Radio City Music Hall, and major regional theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Leigh-Smith is co-founder and resident choreographer for the Irondale Ensemble Project Canada and the Building Company. Her repertoire consists of more than 40 choreographic works, including contemporary modern, jazz, and musical theater. She is a former faculty member of the Ballet and Dance Center and a certified Pilates instructor. With the Department of Drama, Andrea currently teaches classes in Jazz, Musical Theater Styles, and Musical Theater Repertoire, specific to Jerome Robbins. Department of Drama choreographic credits include Arabian Nights, Lysistrata, A New Brain, The Cradle Will Rock, Merrily We Roll Along, Violet, Seussical, Avenue Q, and The Wild Party.

David Lowenstein

Department of Drama

Professor of Practice, Musical Theater

An alumnus of the drama department, David Lowenstein has worked professionally for the past 30 years. After graduating he started his performing career touring the country in several national tours, including “On Your Toes” and “42nd St.” He made his Broadway debut in the multi-Tony Award-winning “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.” His other Broadway credits include “1776,” “On the Town,” “Seussical!,” and “The Frogs,” among others. During his successful performing career Lowenstein honed his teaching skills at New York University’s musical theater program CAP 21 and directed and choreographed many regional, stock, and off-Broadway productions. He choreographed the Drama Desk Award-winning off-Broadway review Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-Dee-Doo! and co-created and choreographed Shoutthe Mod Musical, which was produced in London, and had an off-Broadway run. He is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association.


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