Theatre Arts

Cupola atop a building on the Molloy University campus

Prepare for a career in musical theatre, theatre, and on-camera work

Molloy/CAP21 Musical Theatre Conservatory offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts. You will study at both the Molloy University Rockville Center Campus and at the University's state-of-the-art studios in downtown Manhattan. An integrated training program is taught by an expert faculty of seasoned professionals, many of whom are currently working in the industry.

You will engage in a comprehensive, rigorous and challenging course of study that involves academic coursework, intensive conservatory training, and a variety of performance opportunities, all designed to support students in the development and refinement of their musical theatre performance skills.

The academic component of this training includes general education and elective courses. The conservatory courses focus on the practical application of musical theatre performance techniques, including singing, voice and speech, movement, acting, dance, script analysis, music theory and private voice.

Our comprehensive training also provides a solid foundation in audition technique, as well as training in the business aspects of the professional theatre to assist you in launching a professional career and achieving life-long success as a theatre artist.

Transfer students are welcome into this program. Learn more about transferring to Molloy, including transfer guidelines, articulation agreements and funding opportunities. Please note that all Theatre Arts transfers will begin as first- year students and will need to complete the full 4-year BFA training sequence, regardless of previous college experience.

Application Process

  • How to Apply

    Interested students should apply academically via Common App or on our website and submit their official high school transcripts. Official SAT/ACT scores may also be submitted, if desired (Molloy University is TEST OPTIONAL).


    1) We WILL be requiring prescreen videos for 2023-2024 and will follow the Common Prescreen Guidelines (OPTION A for both songs/monologue; dance prescreen required; wild card video optional) which can be viewed here:

    2) Prescreen videos should be uploaded to the Molloy/CAP21 Accept'd page (opens September 15th). While there is no firm deadline (Molloy University offers rolling admissions), we STRONGLY recommend that BFA students apply academically to the college AND submit their prescreen videos by DECEMBER 15th for priority consideration:

    3) Our auditions will be run both IN-PERSON and VIRTUALLY this year. Audition slots will be offered on several dates beginning in mid-December and running through the end of February.

     **Upon academic AND prescreen clearance, selected students will receive a link to set up their departmental audition. We plan to notify all complete applicants of their prescreen decision by November 15th.**


    For questions or information contact:

    Rebecca Overton

    Theatre Arts Recruitment Coordinator

    516-323-4405 or

  • Auditions

    Molloy University/CAP21 2023-2024 AUDITIONS

    Upon academic AND prescreen clearance, selected students will receive a link to set up their departmental audition. Both in-person and virtual audition slots will be offered on several dates beginning in mid-December and running through the end of February.

    In addition to our on-campus Manhattan Center auditions, we will also be attending Drewnifieds, Pittsburgh Unifieds, CAP United, Moonifieds, Colorado Thespians, Florida Combined Auditions and Chicago Unifieds.

    We plan to notify all complete applicants of their prescreen decision by November 15th.

  • Contact our Recruitment Coordinator

    Rebecca Overton

    CAP21/Theatre Arts Recruitment Coordinator


CAP 21 Spring '24 Productions

Cap 21 poster for Carrie the Musical

Our Faculty

  • Chris O'Connor (Department Chair; Acting, Directing, and Playwriting)


    Chris O'Connor

    Chair, Molloy University Theatre Arts

    Associate Professor

    Chris is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Molloy University/CAP21 BFA program. Recent professional directing projects include Billy Bishop Goes to War and Two Gentlemen of Verona at Franklin Stage Company. As Founding Artistic Director of the New Jersey regional theatre Mile Square Theatre, he received an Award of Excellence from the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Chris produced 19 seasons for MST, including the Off-Broadway transfer of Erin Mallon’s The Net Will Appear. He directed over 30 plays at MST and has directed at theatres and universities across the country.

    As an actor he has performed Off-Broadway and regionally in such theatres as Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre, The Culture Project, Soho Rep, The Ahmanson, Gloucester Stage, Provisional Theatre of Los Angeles, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Bathhouse Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, and at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. TV credits include Magic City and Burn Notice, and he appears in the indie thriller Depraved. Upcoming projects; He will direct Yuppies Invade My House at Dinnertime at MST and Good People at FSC. He will also perform in the solo physical comedy piece Balloonacy at MST this April and May.

    Chris holds a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MFA from Rutgers University.

  • James Bulleri (Director of the Manhattan Center; Dance)

    Choreographer: Can-Can, Bye, Bye Birdie, Oklahoma!, Oliver!, Bawdy: Off-Broadway's Biggest Little Vaudeville (Triad Theatre, NYC – 10 year run), The Boys from Syracuse, 1776, Annie, Kiss Me Kate, Fiddler on the Roof, The Pajama Game, the ballet Prelude A L'apres-Midi D'un Faune .

    Assistant Director/Choreographer: Hello, Dolly!, Evita, West Side Story, The New York Idea (Off-Broadway, Lucille Lortel Theatre; Atlantic Theatre Company), Working (Atlas Theater, NYC), the Bulova Birthday Celebration (Macy's 34th Street, NYC), Evita, City of Angels, The Golden Books National Tour & Read-In, The Save the Children Benefit (Bellagio, Las Vegas), Tisch Gala’s (Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Broadway-St. James Theatre, NYC's Town Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Plaza Hotel).

    Performance: National/International Tours: Hello, Dolly!; Crazy for You; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Regional (over 60, including): A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Cats, Cinderella (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Music Man, Anything Goes, Chicago, The Fantastics, Peter Pan, Mame, Gypsy, She Loves Me, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma!, The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, The Secret Garden, Will Rogers Follies, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Footloose, Guys and Dolls, Joseph..., South Pacific, Jaques Briel..., A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Mousetrap. Ballets: Little Women, The Nutcracker.

    TV: The Quest; and various voice-overs;  National Public Radio.

    Dance Faculty: New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Undergraduate Drama; Molloy University; New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting Program; Pittsburgh Musical Theater.

    Education: Interlochen Arts Academy; B.F.A., NYU, Tisch School of the Arts.

    Proud member of AEA.

  • Aimee Francis (Director of Curriculum and Conservatory Affairs; Acting)

    Director of Curriculum and Conservatory Affairs for the Molloy/CAP21 BFA Program. She has been with CAP21 since 1998. She is also a Co-Founder and Artistic Director for Dirty Minds Theatre Company, a not-for-profit theatre dedicated to raising funds for NYC based LGBTQ charitable organizations. ( 

    Aimee hails from Michigan and is an alum of Western Michigan University where she studied Directing and Theatre Administration. Aimée has worn a variety of hats including Director, Teacher, Actress, Tour Manager and Administrator with such companies as The Augusta Barn Theatre (MI), Top Hat Productions (MI), Kidstuff Touring Musical Theatre (MI), Pennsylvania Stage Company (PA) and Jean Cocteau Repertory (NYC).

    As a teacher for CAP21, courses have included Musical Scene Study, Acting Scene Study, Vocal Performance and Script Analysis. Some favorite past directing experiences include Head Over Heels, Andrew Lippa's, The Wild Party, Cry-Baby, CABARET, Into the Woods, Children of Eden, A Quiet End, The Frog Prince and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Aimée also directed and co-authored an original musical piece entitled Hardback Fantasies and Paperback Secrets.

  • Chris Citera (Head of Voice and Music)

    NYC-based actor, singer, and voice teacher. As a performer, he has appeared in concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below, (le) poisson rouge, The Metropolitan Room, and The Astor Room. He received his graduate degree in vocal pedagogy and music education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He graduated from Ithaca College, summa cum laude with a bachelors of music degree in voice and acting, a specialized degree requiring advanced coursework in acting technique, literature, and movement in addition to the complete curriculum required to receive a vocal performance degree. He has also trained extensively in theater, film, and tv techniques at the Michael Howard Studios and The Barrow Group. Additionally, he holds a Distinguished Voice Professional Certificate through the New York Singing Teachers Association (NYSTA) for the successful completion of their Professional Development Program. He is currently pursuing an advanced Masters of Education (Ed.M) from Teachers College, Columbia University in music and music education, focusing on adult education and educational leadership. He is also on the Board of Directors for the NYC Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  

    In addition to maintaining a private studio of professional singers, Chris currently serves as the Head of Voice and Music in the BFA Theatre Arts program at Molloy University/CAP21 and is an Adjunct Professor of Voice in the BFA Musical Theater program at Pace University and in the Vocal Performance program at NYU, teaching musical theater, contemporary music, and graduate vocal pedagogy students. He was an associate teacher for Mike Ruckles Voice Studio from 2016-2021.  

    As a passionate advocate for training voices of developmental age, from 2018-2021 Chris also served as the Assistant Director of the Singers’ Workshops @ Teachers College, a group designed to help young singers build confidence and vocal technique as they navigate their developing voices to prepare for a lifetime of singing. He is also part of the core faculty teaching private voice and vocal pedagogy at BroadwayEvolved, a training intensive for college-bound students, founded by Broadway star, Betsy Wolfe.  

    A lifelong learner and self-professed voice “nerd,” Chris continues to be mentored and supervised by singing voice specialists, Dr. Jeanne Goffi-Fynn and Richard Lissemore at Columbia University. He has also participated in the NATS NYC Mentor Teacher Program, where he had the opportunity to work with and learn from notable musical theater pedagogues, such as Mary Saunders-Barton. He has continued his education at the Singing Voice Science and Pedagogy Workshop, The Vocal Pedagogy Professional Workshop (Boston Conservatory), and The New CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute (Shenandoah University). His research interests include comparative vocal pedagogy, voice teacher preparation and mentorship, assessment in the applied voice studio, and perception of aesthetics and vocal quality.  

    As an educator, Chris believes in a student-centered approach to teaching and strives to honor the diversity that each student brings into the voice studio by prioritizing critical thinking, student agency, and creativity and problem-solving in the voice studio. Above all, Chris strives to learn something new about the voice every day.  

    Additional details:

  • Helen Farmer (Head of Acting)

    Helen Farmer (she/her) regional credits include: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Stratford Festival, Crossroads Theater, The Classical Theatre Lab, Shakespeare in the Rough, Theatre and Co, Dorset Theatre, and Co-Lab Arts. New York theatre includes work with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Project Y Theatre, Boundless Theatre Project. Recent projects include: the US premiere of Kotryna Gesait’s Cocoon and the audio pod cast series "The Lovely Dark". Originally Canadian, Helen was trained as an improviser at Keith Johnstone’s Loose Moose Theater, worked at Toronto’s Second City and is a veteran of several Fringe Festival shows. A Meisner trained actor Helen received an MFA in acting from Rutgers University’s MGSA.  Helen is also a trained Meisner teacher. Helen comes to CAP after 9 years at Rutgers teaching in both the BFA and MFA programs. In addition to teaching acting Helen is a certified Alexander technique teacher and has taught privately as well as at NYU and MGSA.

  • Melissa Firlit (Acting, Directing)

    Melissa Firlit (director) is a director, actor, producer and educator. Previous performance projects for Molloy/Cap21 are the Devising Project, Cabaret, 9 to 5, An Axemas Story and others. In 2022, she directed and produced Marrow, with her theatre company Resolve Productions. Marrow ran at 59E59 in NYC, followed by a month-long engagement at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received many rave reviews and accolades. 

    In 2019 her production of Jekyll & Hyde was nominated for 3 Henry Awards by the Colorado Theatre Guild. She directed the Ireland National Tour of Misterman by Enda Walsh. Melissa’s work has been seen nationally at 59East59, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Mile Square Theater, New Light Theatre Project, The Princeton Festival, Creede Repertory Theatre, Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts and more.

    As part of her personal commitment to collaboration with playwrights, Melissa is the Artistic Director for the Thingamajig Playwrights Festival which provides a workshop residency to two playwrights. Melissa’s work is strongly influenced by Uta Hagen and Frantic Method.

    She is currently on faculty at Molloy University/Cap 21 Theatre Arts Program. Training: MFA Directing Rutgers University, BA Theater The University of Hartford and National Theater Institute. Member SDC. At Molloy/Cap21 she teaches Devising, Directing, Comedy and mainstage.

  • Michelle Beck (Acting)

    Michelle is an actress, director, writer, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a proud summa cum laude graduate of the SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory as well as the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Acting Conservatory program.

    As an actress, she has worked on Broadway in the Tony award-winning production of A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington, off-Broadway in Hurricane Diane (New York Theater Workshop); Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Public Theater); A Kid Like Jake (LCT3); Richard and Jane and Dick and Sally (Playwright’s Realm/Baltimore Center Stage); Much Ado About Nothing (Theater for a New Audience); Measure for Measure (Epic Theatre Ensemble); Uncle Vanya (Pearl Theater); The Changeling (Red Bull Theater); The Sentinels (59E59), and many more. She also performed in As You Like It and The Tempest for The Bridge Project, directed by Sam Mendes. The company performed at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in NYC before an international tour, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Madrid, Germany, Amsterdam, Aviles, and concluding with a run at The Old Vic Theater in London.

    Regionally, she has performed in Top Girls (ACT); The Wanderers (The Old Globe); King Charles III (ACT, Seattle Rep, Shakespeare Theatre DC); Tartuffe (McCarter/ Yale Rep); Hamlet (Shakespeare Theatre); Proof (TheatreWorks Palo Alto - BATCC award); Winter’s Tale, Cyrano de Bergerac (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).

    On screen, she has had recurring roles on Starz’s Power, Book II: Ghost and Marvel’s Luke Cage. She can also be seen on Fleischman is in Trouble; The Good Fight; Manifest; Homeland; Claws; and Madam Secretary. Film credits include the award-winning sci-fi film Ovum; American Black Film Festival’s Best Narrative Ambition’s Debt; Sam & Julia; Death of a Prince; Spinning Into Butter.

    Her film, THE SNAKES, which she wrote, directed, and produced, is currently streaming on HBO and HBO Max. It is set in a parallel future where an isolated, young Black woman responds to a culture of fear with violent fantasies that spiral out of control. THE SNAKES played at the Pan African Film Festival, Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, and the American Black Film Festival where it was a finalist in the HBO Film Competition. It was also nominated for a Black Reel Award.  She is currently in pre-production for her next project, DISPATCHMENT. 

    As a teacher, Michelle is the Director of Film at Epic Theater Ensemble, a professional theater company generating original content focused on social justice issues with students from Title 1 schools. She has taught in-school residencies, lead after school Shakespeare Remix programs, mentored in the Epic Next Summer Intensive, and runs the Virtual Epic Film School. She has taught Shakespeare, Acting, and Devised Theater with The Public Theater, DreamYard, Hunt’s Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble, Shakespeare Theater in DC, American Conservatory Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Shakespeare Theater, and TheatreWorks Palo Alto. She also coaches professional actors’ auditions through her business, An Actor Tapes.

  • Mike Wamser (Professor of Practice; Movement, Acting)

    Shannon Michael Wamser is a New York City based Actor/Writer/Fight Director. As an actor he
    has been seen on some exceptional stages around the US including The Public Theatre,
    Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Playhouse on Park, Northern Stage
    and several Shakespeare festivals. Recent credits include Fight Directing and playing the role of
    Thomas Collymore in The Play That Goes Wrong at Theatre Raleigh (Nominated for best
    choreography and best supporting performer, Broadway World Raleigh Awards). Film/TV
    credits include "Interior," CBS's "Blue Bloods," "The Thing Before the Thing" (co-writer/actor/executive producer) available on Amazon Prime, and several award-winning short

    As a producer/director he co-founded two theatre companies in the New York City area,
    Stages on the Sound and tax-deductible theatre, and in Los Angeles he founded an
    independent media production company, Some Assembly Required. His work as a director and
    writer has been seen in New York City, the Edinburgh Fringe and with Teatre Polski in Poznan,
    Poland. He is a recognized stage combat instructor and Advanced Actor Combatant with
    Dueling Arts, International. Fight directing credits include Theatre Raleigh, The Secret Theatre,
    59E59, Playhouse on Park, Laguna Playhouse, Flux Theatre Ensemble, New York Theatre

    As an arts educator he has worked Center Theatre Group, A Noise Within, Laguna
    Playhouse, The Pasadena Playhouse, BAM, The Shakespeare Society, The Professional
    Performing Arts School, Stevens College, University of Hartford and The University of Miami. He
    holds a B.A. from DeSales University and MFA from Ohio University. He has continued his
    training with Padova Arts in Padua, Italy, with Movement Theatre Studio (NYC), Upright Citizens
    Brigade, the SITI Company, and with Grotowski experts Erica Fae and David Prete. He is a
    member of The National Alliance of Acting Teachers, SAG-AFTRA, and AEA

  • Raife Baker (Head of Voice and Speech)

    Raife is the head of voice and speech at Molloy/CAP 21.  He also teaches voice, speech, and dialects at NYU Tisch, as well as doing extensive private coaching and instruction. Raife has an MFA in acting from The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, as well as a BA in Theater Studies and Philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta. He has been teaching, performing, directing, producing, and LIVING in New York since 2008.

Department Chair

Chris O'Connor

Wllbur Arts Building
1000 Hempstead Ave.
Rockville Centre, New York 11570