The Dr. Susan S. McKinney Department of Theatre provides students with a diverse, holistic theatre education. Participants partake in a rigorous four-year program that provides opportunities to explore the numerous facets of the medium— resulting in well-rounded graduates that are ready to pursue professional or continuing academic endeavors.
Our unique series of courses allow students to experiment with acting, directing, design, and construction through academic analysis and practical application. With topics ranging from acting and career strategies to theatre history and literary interpretation, students graduate with skills that will enable them to find success in the classroom, audition hall, or boardroom.
A participant in the Arts Achieve Grant, a prestigious four-year study of arts education practice, our department strives to continually improve the experiences that we provide our dedicated student body through innovation, collaboration, and ingenuity--both in the classroom and on the stage.
In 2014, our Theatre Department represented Dr. Susan S. McKinney SSA in the prestigious TEENS ON BROADWAY showcase at the Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway (50th St. and 8th Ave.) Six performing arts-focused high schools participated in the second year of this event, and our students were able to bond with students from other schools while attending informational panels and working with professional theatre technicians to better hone their skills.
Our department regularly partners with the Theatre Department from the High School of Leadership and Public Service to create historically-based immersive theatre projects in and around the Trinity Church Graveyard in lower Manhattan. Our students are able to research, write about, and perform various historical figures each year at the annual Halloween celebration.
McKinney Theater Department Curriculum
Acting and Directing
Adapted from the Method Acting technique, students perform and stage numerous classroom scene studies focusing on character, objective, and motivated blocking. As participants’ skill sets expand, they extend their realism-based training to classical and stylized productions.
Students read and analyze prominent works of theatrical literature and complete design portfolios including costume, set, lighting and publicity designs each year.
Theatre History and Criticism
By using a“Play-of-the-Day” approach, students study major works of traditional and musical theatre while connecting theatre practice to social and political events in different eras.
Audition Requirements are centralized through the DOE- please submit through your MySchools account.
For audition information, SEE BELOW or click the link below.
Prepare and submit separate uploads of two contrasting monologues. You are also encouraged to upload a musical theater number if interested. Please note that a musical theater song is required for musical theater programs at the noted (*) musical theater programs.
At the beginning of each video, before performing, briefly introduce yourself by providing the following information.
Your full name
Your OSIS student ID number
Why you chose your monologue or song (30 seconds or less)
Why do you want to study acting? (30 seconds or less)
For MONOLOGUES: State the name of the character portrayed and the full title of the playwright.
FOR SONGS: State the title of the song, the name of the character, full title of the musical, composer and lyricist.
View this Theater Recording Upload Video
for clear steps recording your monologues or musical song.
Video 1 and 2: Monologues
Memorize, perform, and upload two contrasting, one-minute monologues from a published play or the sample monologues library. Examples of this may be dramatic/comedic, classical/contemporary, theater/film, or two contrasting characters that have very different personalities. Choose relatable characters within your natural age range and decide to whom your characters are talking and why. You may choose to play roles of any gender. You may select your own monologues to perform but are welcome to review and choose a monologue(s) from this sample monologues library
For support with creating your video, you may view these helpful tips
Video 3: Musical Theater Song
Perform and upload 16 bars (or approximately one  minute) of a memorized song of any genre. Musical theater songs are encouraged, however pop and R&B songs are acceptable. Songs can be performed with live or recorded accompaniment or without music ‘a cappella.’ Choose a song performed by a relatable character and decide to whom your character is singing and why. You may select your own musical theater song to perform but are welcome to review and select from this sample musical theater song library