A Deep Dive Into LVA Seniors’ MTCA Trip


Mei Aguon

Article graphic. Photo credits: Isabel Cassidy.

Mei Agoun, Reporter

This is the first year that LVA has taken part in the Musical Theater Competitions of America (MTCA). The theater department took all of the senior musical theater majors and a handful of acting theater majors. The people interviewed have shared their experience with the competition.

This is what Billy Hules had to say about the scale of the competition. 

“I wasn’t expecting it to be like a lot of people, and then we got there and it was so packed,” said Hules. “It was full of a lot of really talented people [from other] schools. It was really cool to see all of them.” 

Madelinn Cassell was surprised at the setup of the venue. 

“I didn’t expect it to be in the hotel,” said Cassell. “It had a lot of office rooms, but they were transformed with stages.”

Throughout the weekend different groups performed, with solo groups going Friday or Saturday. LVA students had three options: the singing solo, the ensemble, and the monologue. The group performances were The Drowsy Chaperone and a review of Stephen Sondheim’s repertoire. The students also got to audition to join the whole competition’s final show. The awards ceremony was held at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Ashley Vison recalled, “For the competitions, we had a schedule for our school, so we didn’t know what time [other people] were going if they were from different schools…they were all over the hotel.”

The hotel offered many different rooms for the competitors. 

 “We had a bunch of different ballrooms,” said Vison. “Most of the competitions were either in the ballrooms or the North Tower, and they were all upstairs on the second floor.”

The Process 

Cassell said, “We got to go through [this creepy hallway] and perform. And then once we did our performance, we got to stay on stage and they would give us live feedback. And they would tell us things that they liked and what they didn’t like and how we could change it a little bit.”

There were numerous categories in the MTCA, despite LVA participating in three. Vison recalled some of the other groups being a tech Olympics, 10-minute review numbers, dance, and set and makeup design. She said the event stretched from fourth grade to senior year for other schools, so there were hundreds of people there.

 “From the 20 that went with us [from LVA] for individual solos and monologues, only three of us won,” Vision said.


Hules performed a solo of “What More Can I Say?” from Falsettos and got second place. “I never did a piece that I felt so confident about or that I liked doing so much,” he said.

“I was really scared that whole day watching everyone else’s performances, but then I got up there… and I wasn’t that nervous because we’ve been in that room prior that day to watch other people solo. So I got up there and I felt confident. I just laid it all out there and I tried my hardest.”

Vison performed a monologue and got second place. “It was from the House of Blue Leaves by Josh Greer,” she said. “I did really good.” However, she recalls getting no notes from the judges afterward.

Cassell performed a solo from the musical Bring It On. She recalls she “stopped midway through the song” but did well overall. “You know what, it happens,” she said. 

The Drowsy Chaperone performance won second place in the Advanced Ensemble competition.

 “I think it went really [well],” Vison said. “I was originally the head of costumes for Drowsy when we did it here [at LVA], and I [had] to do their headpieces for this Drowsy. It was very fun.” 

Reception and Improvement

Because of how many people attended the event, the number of performances could be overwhelming, and communication was confusing. “I want to change the communication because sometimes we were like, ‘I have to go do this, but I don’t know where I’m going or why,’” Cassell said. “We were also the first ones here to go. So we [were] just kind of just thrown in.”

Hules reflected on the performance as a whole. “We beat some really really good numbers,” he said. On the topic of improvement, he said, “I regret not doing more pieces because everyone took a solo, and we had our two group numbers, but we could have done duets and a lot more.”

The general consensus of the trip was a fun and exciting one.

“My favorite part of the trip was probably Knott’s Berry Farm and riding on all the crazy roller coasters,” said Hules.

“My favorite part of the trip was probably the open comm number [the competition] had us all do,” said Vison. “They all required us to audition for their big finale show at the end of the night… So we all had to meet up at the Royal Ballroom and [do] a cattle call dance number and then [sing] afterwards. The dancing part was so fun with all [those] people.”

“I think I liked the dance workshops,” said Cassell. She also remembers enjoying the yard games outside of the hotel.


Despite a few setbacks, the MTCA was a great success for first-time attendees. It was a jam-packed event to grow students’ acting skills and confidence on the stage while being judged. It showcased the talent of schools across the country. The MTCA will have a special place for senior theater students, especially at LVA.

Hules advised future seniors attending the event that the judges at the competition are there to “work with you and not against you.” He also advised not to stress about your performance.

“And just don’t take your time for granted, because it’s almost up and you don’t want to do that,” he added.