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Testimonials

Industry Professionals

Parents

Students

 


 

Industry Professionals

About Senior Showcase

“I’ve been going to senior showcases for 30 years. Texas State’s was one of the best produced, directed and performed showcases I have ever seen.” 

–Phil Adelman
senior agent BRS/Gage

“Your senior showcase was BRILLIANT. Such fun, just the right tone, clever as hell, and it showed off your talented students beautifully. “      

-Lisa Brescia
Broadway Actress , New York audition coach

“What I LOVE about Texas State University’s musical theatre program is the holistic, caring environment that has been cultivated towards empowering the students to be well trained and active participants in a fast paced industry.  The students are selected for their ability by the professionally vetted keen eyes of Kaitlin and Jim.  That ability is honed into a marketable craft by a caring faculty and enhanced by an expansive roster of industry professionals. Their showcase honors their 4 years of training and presents the talent in a way that is both entertaining and informative.”

- Scott Wojcik
 Wojcik/Seay Casting

“I have been visiting college campuses, working with senior classes and attending senior class showcases for more that 20 years and this class that Texas State is sending out into the world is one of and quite possibly the best, most talented and well-prepared senior classes I have ever seen. They are more than poised to go out into the professional world and take it squarely by the horns. I expect big things to come.”

-Dave Clemmons
Broadway Producer and Casting Director

“Texas State has solid industry contacts with agents and casting directors and composers. They use those connections to help their students upon graduation, and even before with four years of master classes and workshops”

- Mary Anna Dennard
New York Times

About Working With Texas State Students

“Just wanted to say how thoroughly impressed with your students I was. They were serious, and prepared, and tireless. You are doing wonderful things down there obviously. To get to know these artists, and see their passion, and collaborate with them was gratifying. You and Jim are doing such meaningful work with this group. Congratulations! “

- Broadway Actor Adam Heller
(after working with TXST students at Connecticut Repertory)

“Your students are just wonderful in this production of MERMAID. Incredibly hard workers, talented...and truly nice people. You should be so proud of them.”

- Tony Award nominee actress Emily Skinner
(after working with TXST students at Lyric of Oklahoma)

“By the way, I remain impressed with the high level of communication and maturity your students show- you are doing it right at Texas State”

- Paige Price
(actress/director/Artistic Director Theatre Aspen)

“I have choreographed, directed, and taught residencies for multiple college theater programs across North America. Each program has its own vision and method of training that a prospective student must take into account when choosing a school. One element that sets the Texas State musical theatre program apart from others is its ability to prepare students beyond the learning of advanced technical and performance skills. The students I worked with in my production at TSU had something bigger in common-- they came to rehearsals with an ingrained work ethic that defines the difference between a professional and amateur performer. I was impressed.  Not every college program accomplishes this to the level I witnessed here. Every student (without having to be asked or prompted, mind you) showed up each day with a level of professionalism equal in caliber to the performers I work with on Broadway and in Equity regional theater. Every student had done his or her homework, was memorized, reviewed in their off-time, incorporated notes, displayed rehearsal room etiquette, was fully focused (i.e. not on their phones or talking), contributed creatively, and displayed professional courtesy at all times. I never had to ask the group to quiet down.  I never had to reteach a section of choreography for lack of practice. I never had to worry that someone wasn't pulling his or her own weight.  This is not usually the case in my experience...  Though acting abilities and dance technique did vary between upper and lower classmen (as should be expected), the level of professionalism did not. This speaks highly to the type of training TSU students receive. While learning the artistic skills that will allow them to pursue a career, the students also learn the professional skills that will allow them to sustain a career.  As TSU graduates enter the field, I know that I will never have to question these individuals' ability to handle professional situations when I consider hiring them or recommending them to colleagues who wish to hire them.”

-Adam Cates
(associate choreographer A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, author The Business of Show)

“It's a very special thing to be running a program in the way that you are. And it's very lucky for you students that it isn't a dry academic program, but a hands-on and artistic laboratory in which they can experiment and grow, rather than internalizing dead dogma. “

-Carson Elrod
Broadway/film/tv actor

“There are hundreds of training programs at schools throughout the country, but only, sadly, a very few that get the rapt attention of the NY business professionals, schools whose graduates command our attention, just by the fact of their having been accepted to, and trained by those schools. From the level of the work I saw by TXST students, I firmly believe Texas State is well on its way to being one of the elite, one of the 'hotbeds' of future talent. I believe in very short order, this program will have eclipsed the reputation of schools who have been on the A-list for generations.”

-Phil Adelman
Senior Agent BRS/Gage (following visit 2010)

“This was the best group I have worked with in a workshop in 30 years. They were a great class and really represented Texas State with pride.”

-Michael Corbridge
Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford, England

 

Broadway Producer and Casting Director

“Texas State has solid industry contacts with agents and casting directors and composers. They use those connections to help their students upon graduation, and even before with four years of master classes and workshops”

- Mary Anna Dennard
New York Times

 


 

From Parents

“Our daughter's time at Texas State has been transformative. The training is top-notch and connection to the industry cannot be beat. But, for her, the true value of the program is its emphasis on each individual's place in the community of artists. It's a value she will carry with her throughout her career and her life.”

“I can say many wonderful things about the BFA program at Texas State but the most profound thing that comes to mind is the impact it had on my daughter as a whole person. As I reflect back on her 4 years at Texas State, under the guidance of Kaitlin Hopkins, she acquired all of the training she needed to become a skilled performer but most importantly she learned how critical it is to create a balance in life. This skill is what I believe will provide her with the tools needed to go the distance in a very challenging career. The faculty was able to zero in on my daughter's specific needs as a person not just as a performer. The word that comes to mind is gratitude. The individual attention to each student as a whole person is the difference that Texas State has made in my daughter's journey thus far.”

“What I never expected in the college years, was to be a part of my daughter's learning process thru the enormous treasure trove of shared intimate knowledge and experiences in this industry that can be told only by one who has lived and breathed it, and who is willing to create the teaching environment to support that.  Kaitlin Hopkins, with her team of department professionals and hand-picked industry professional brought to campus to teach master classes, offers an invaluable and life-practical world for our MT kids, empowering them with confidence to trust themselves and their work as she gives them the tools to be self-sufficient in the world outside academia. We are all reaping the benefits of her vision and hard work. This experience is beyond amazing, beyond words. Hope you feel my love, respect, and appreciation.”  

“I am so grateful that my daughter, Alexandra, graduated from Texas State's Musical Theatre program! It was a wonderful 4 years for her as a student and me as a parent. Her education in all areas of MT was excellent, she had countless opportunities to work with professionals in the industry and was taught how to live the life of an actor after college. Kaitlin was concerned they were emotionally and physically healthy and nurtured their individual gifts. The students became incredibly close with each other and the faculty, which continues today. I cannot imagine a better college experience.”

“I continue to be impressed with the remarkable program that you have created at Texas State. There is something very special and unique about what you are doing among the top musical theatre schools. I know that I used the word "practical" during our recent visit, but it is much more than that.”

“From what a fabulous 'hands on' Dean John Fleming has been over the years, to the overwhelming attendance of industry professionals at Showcase, to the kids getting vocally video scoped Freshman year so that a baseline could be obtained for future reference, to the parents who were all so helpful and supportive and fun! And the KIDS!! What talent, what compassion, what fun!!  Oh my, what great years!”    

“The growth experienced is exhilarating. The relationships formed with staff and peers are priceless. They are her second family.”

“When your soul is being fed, you radiate joy. My kid has never been happier. Thank you, Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance!” 

“Artistic integrity, work ethic, focused ambition – these are all learned attributes at Texas State. Without them, my child is just another talented artist with no plan.”

“The training is unsurpassed. We’ve never felt more confident that our son is going to survive and thrive in an artistic career.”

“Our kids are getting hired onto shows! There are contracts to sign, agents, managers, terms and negotiations to understand – it’s a huge relief they are being taught about the business of the business.”

“ I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your posts to your students. It is so reassuring for a parent to know how deeply you care for your students and that we certainly made the right decision by entrusting you with our daughters education.”

“I really think these facebook postings should be required reading for every MT student and parent. For me, it reveals so much insight that I would never know or experience...except vicariously through your thoughtful and heartfelt words.”

 


 

From Students

Before coming to Texas State, I was lost in my own world. I didn't put others before myself, I wanted fame and nothing more, and I was pretty ignorant when it came to building my own life outside of theater. I fully believe that if I had not attended Texas State University's musical theater program, I would still be this way today. Not only is this program one of the top training programs for theater, but it truly it reigns as the best school for developing a sense of compassion, maturity, and a peaceful mentality. Kaitlin encouraged us to reach outside of our comfort zone and choose other passions besides our work, so that we understood the importance of balance. She gave me the right tools to become an artist in life, not just my craft. I am utterly grateful for my training and experience at Texas State. I owe my growth as a human being to this incredible program and I wouldn't change my path if I could.”

-graduate

"I graduated from Texas State with a degree in Musical Theatre, and I write fiction. Novels, short stories, plays occasionally—I'm writing a novella currently. I graduated in 2014. While I was at Texas State, I only studied  Musical Theatre. And now I write. I don’t think I would be writing now if I had majored in anything else, even if I had been a Creative Writing major. When I was eighteen, I made one of the best decisions I've ever made: going to Texas State for Musical Theatre. I should be clear that musical theatre was something I loved and still do love. If it wasn’t, I don’t think it would have led me to writing. As sophomores in the Musical Theatre program, there is a semester-long assignment that the BFA class does together called, Sophomore Project. What it boils down to is an experimental theatre piece that the class brainstorms on for half of the semester, writes for most of the second half of that semester, and then rushes to rehearse at the last second. It always turns out to be, in my opinion, one of the most rewarding shows that happens at Texas State, both for the audience and those who wrote it. Sophomore Project, my sophomore year, was when that tiny seed planted itself in me that I might write. That seed grew and grew in to what it is now: a fruit-bearing tree that I choose to water daily.

There are not many theatre programs at many universities that would support a student’s sudden decision to change from being an actor to being a fiction writer—can you imagine a Dance major deciding to do photography, or a Business major deciding to study geology, and their departments supporting it? But support is only half of what I was given from Kaitlin Hopkins and Jim Price and the rest of the Musical Theatre faculty. They also facilitated opportunities. They introduced me to people. Other writers, playwrights. I remember Jim signed up and subscribed me to a fee-based playwriting website that cataloged everywhere you could submit plays to, to get them produced, or published. I didn’t ask him to do that.

There was a lot of homework I groaned about doing in the musical theatre classes at Texas State. Extensive homework on industry professionals and various reputable theaters, iconic shows, famous actors, singers, dancers. This is the homework I do now, outside of school and college, but with writers and their novels, publishers, and literary agents. There’s no coincidence there. I learned it while I was a Musical Theatre major at Texas State."

- graduate 

“I couldn't even put into words how much the program at Texas State means to me. As someone with no prior training in theatre, the program taught me everything I know. They made this program with individual artistry in mind and it has become the cornerstone in an unbreakable foundation. You will not be a carbon copy of anyone else---you will (without a doubt) find your own true voice as an artist. As an alum, my training has helped me tremendously. It comes into play not only as an actor, but in my life as an artist living authentically in the world whether I'm working or not.

So, it's simple.

  • The training is impeccable
  • I've made friends who are my family
  • I have mentors for a lifetime

I got amazingly lucky to be apart of the Texas State musical theatre family and as Curly would say "If there's anyone out around this yard who can hear my voice, I jist want fer you to know...." that I love Texas State! Go Bobcats.”

-graduate

 “ I love any chance that I get to talk about my school, so know that this is an honest view at Texas State and that no one is telling me what to say here. Deciding to go to Texas State for musical theatre was the best decision I've made in my entire life. Not only did I become a better performer in every aspect, I became a better human being. Every program claims to have a "family" atmosphere, but that is exactly was the TXMT program is, a huge family all learning and helping each other out. It is such a safe environment that I felt like I could try so many things during master classes and workshops. I never realized how much of my college experience would be determined by my classmates and how much we could support each other through no longer living at home, dealing with rejection, and everything you will experience in this industry/college. Trust that you will be entering into a safe place.

Ok, now that that's out of the way let's talk about training! The faculty is made up of creative geniuses that still work in the industry and want nothing more than to see you succeed. Cassie (head of dance) takes the time to have private lessons and talks with every student to address their dance goals throughout the semester to make sure you stay on track. Unlike other MT programs, you can come is as a freshman and take an advanced dance class. I loved taking those classes freshman year with seniors so that I could push myself to their level. If dance isn't your thing, Cassie is extremely patient and just the kindest woman I've ever met. She knows everything that has ever happened throughout the history of musical theater and geeks out about different choreographers' styles. I have never learned so much during dance class. Michael Maresca is head of voice and such a sweetheart. He meets you where you are and focuses on expanding your voice to its maximum potential while keeping vocal health and stamina at the forefront of his training. What I also love about him is that he doesn't just train a "musical theatre" style sound, or a "legit" sound, he emphasizes on enhancing the natural voice of each student and gives you the tools to easily transition from style to style (even screamo Rock...oh yeah). Then there are Kaitlin and Jim, the people I consider my second mom and dad. Their BFA class every week taught me pretty much everything I know today. The class sizes are small so you get a lot of individual attention.  The fondest memories I have from school are from performing on the main stage. I got SO many more performance opportunities there than I would have anywhere else. I was cast in a show every single semester of school except for the semester I decided to not perform and focus on getting a "real job" waiting tables. It's not like most schools where you get your one or two glory roles of your college career and that's it.  

I was torn between a school in New York and Texas State when making my final decision. I really wanted to be in New York and live the city life and audition. I'm so glad that I went to TXST and had a real college experience instead of trying to jump into a career while going to class. Those four years of going to football games and going to the river and dancing in Austin will stay with me forever and I have the rest of my life to live and audition in New York. 

I'm currently on a national tour and several of my cast mates went to school in New York. 95% of them do not have he kind of connections that I have in the industry coming out of school because of all of the guest artists TXST brings in from New York and Los Angeles. Not only do I know important industry professionals, but we have great relationships since they come multiple times throughout the four years. 

Texas State made me a better person. Hands down. That sounds so corny and stupid, but the competitive vibes really don't exist and if they do they're not the norm. This business is tough, and TXST focuses on mental health and how to manage the disappointments and personal setbacks bound to happen from time to time. 

 I have heard from several casting directors that the Texas State kids are so unique, hard-working, and just good people. That's the kind of person they want to hire. Also, the faculty don’t drop you like hot cakes as soon as you graduate. We still text and email all the time and they will be my mentors for life. It's good to know that I will always have someone to turn to in this industry.”

- graduate

“I just feel the need to share about what an amazing program I am lucky to be a part of. Today marked the 2-year Anniversary of my acceptance into the Musical Theatre Program at Texas State University. I had no idea what kind of journey I would go on when I signed up for this, but I am unbelievably glad I get to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me later. Over the past couple weeks, I have had the privilege of getting to show some perspective students around on tours of campus and taking them to classes and I have to say that I have fallen in love with this program all over again.”

-current student

“My time at Texas State University in the BFA Musical Theatre program has been above and beyond my expectations, and my expectations were high. The faculty puts so much trust in their students, and this has helped all of us grow so much. Every one of my classes challenges me. It’s an incredibly supportive environment.”

- current student