January 18, 2023

Musical Theatre student Bailey Pierce (BM ’23) shares tips for auditioning at MSM and talks about her time as at MSM

MSM student Bailey Pierce (BM ’23) has helpful audition advice for those who aspire to join the School’s respected Musical Theatre program. She also talks about her upcoming final months at MSM and what she would tell her freshman-year self.

Bailey Pierce (BM ’23) was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and her family moved to the Nashville area in Tennessee in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. She was a competitive figure skater until the age of 10 when she started studying musical theatre and jazz dance, and, in her words, she “hasn’t looked back since.”

Bailey studies at MSM with faculty member Bob Stillman and is performing in the new musical Paperboy taking place at MSM from March 24 to 26, playing the role of a dinner guest and understudy for the mother character. Along with giving helpful audition tips, Bailey talks about how she’s enjoying her final semester at MSM, including this final onstage appearance at MSM.

Bailey Pierce (Left) in Sunday in the Park with George at MSM in March 2022

What are you looking forward to this year?

Bailey: I’m really looking forward to my final months of my senior year! I’ve been really enjoying it so far, and I’m excited to see where all it goes from here. I get to perform on the Neidorff-Karpati stage again this semester, which is always incredible. I’ll be performing in Paperboy, a new musical that’s been in development for the last few years. I’ve been a part of the production since its inception, so I’m really excited to see it all come together as a fully realized musical after dozens of readings. As for this summer, that’s when audition season begins, so fingers crossed! I’m sending out things nearly every day, so I’m looking forward to seeing what sticks. I’m also weirdly excited for graduation, although that’s another can of worms entirely. I still can’t believe it’s so soon – it almost feels like the end of an era!

Do you have any advice for people auditioning to attend MSM?

Bailey: Relax and be yourself! Easier said than done, of course, but I’d say the one thing our faculty care about the most is authenticity. Choose material that feels like you, and on the big day just trust in the work that you’ve done and enjoy the process. See the audition as an opportunity to inhabit that character for a little while. Everyone here at school really wants you to succeed! They truly are rooting for you, and they love to see artists who truly embrace the material and make it their own. Breathe, and be yourself!

Bailey and her tap class taught by MSM faculty member Marshall L. Davis, Jr.

Do you have any audition-day rituals?

Bailey: For some reason, shoes are always an important piece of the puzzle for me – I always feel like I can better inhabit a character if I’m living “in their shoes,” in a sense. So, I always get ready first before I warm up vocally or anything, and then I start to run my materials at home before I leave. I also triple-check my audition time slot and bag to make sure I’ve not forgotten anything. Then, after filling up my emotional support water bottle, I’m out the door!

What are the top three things you always have in your audition bag?

Bailey: I always have spare hair ties and phone chargers, for one. Those always seem to just disappear into the ether, and it’s always when you need one most that you can’t find one. I also keep a pack of safety pins in my bag just in case – you never know when you’re going to have to wear a number on your clothes during an audition and the sticker keeps peeling off your leotard. Also, extra headshots and resumes, just in case!

“I was absolutely astounded by the student-teacher relationships I saw when I came to visit MSM. All of the teachers had such a genuine care and connection with all their students. You couldn’t help but feel a sense of community in it all: it almost felt like a family.”

MSM Musical Theatre student

Why did you choose MSM?

Bailey: I chose MSM primarily because of the faculty. After I got my acceptance letter during my senior year of high school, I came and visited MSM and audited some classes for the day. I was absolutely astounded by the student-teacher relationships I was seeing. All of the teachers had such a genuine care and connection with all their students. You couldn’t help but feel a sense of community in it all: it almost felt like a family. Not to mention so many of them are either currently working or have spent a good portion of their careers on Broadway – I was a little starstruck by a few of them. I was also really impressed by the relationships I was seeing between students as well – there was such a lovely sense of camaraderie between everyone that I hadn’t really seen much of at other colleges. Everyone was really passionate about the art form and also genuinely seemed to really love each other, as both friends and as artists as well. After seeing all that, my choice was easy.

What is your favorite MSM Memory?

Bailey: My favorite MSM memory by far would have to be working on Sunday in the Park with George last spring semester, when I played Nurse/Harriet Pawling. The entire process was just so heartwarming and wonderful, and the show itself is one of my all-time favorites. I would probably say it has been the most artistically fulfilling show I’ve ever been a part of by far, and I got to work with some really incredible people too. Sunday was one of the shows that really got me through the pandemic – it has some really relatable content geared towards artists, and I’m definitely not alone in saying that it’s super special to a lot of people. That was probably my favorite show I’ve ever gotten the privilege to be a part of, and I can only hope to one day be a part of something so rewarding again.

Bailey (center), Freshman Hello at MSM, Fall 2019

What would Senior Bailey say to Freshman Bailey?

Bailey: First of all, I would probably sit her down and give her a big hug. I would let her know that everything would be all right. I’d tell her that she’d find her people, and that they will be some of the most amazing people she’ll ever meet. I would tell her that the teachers just keep getting better and better and that she’ll really love living in the city. I would also tell her to just slow down and enjoy college while it happens, to savor every moment. Breathe and don’t worry, everything works out in the end. Because it really, really did. While I didn’t anticipate my college experience to be interrupted by a global pandemic, I’m still really happy about how things turned out in the end, and I’m glad I stuck with it through it all. Freshman Bailey shouldn’t worry – she’s got this.

Bailey (left) in Sunday in the Park with George at MSM, Spring 2022

“During auditions, everyone at MSM was really passionate about the art form; after seeing all that, choosing MSM was easy.”

Musical Theatre student

    Email This Page

    Email Message

    Page Reference
    (will be sent in email)