MFAs that are currently on the top of my list in approximately this order:
• Alabama Shakespeare Festival
• Brown U./Trinity Repertory (recently moved UP the list. I need to know more....)
• The Old Globe
• Southern Methodist U. (no Equity card, which is weird, but plenty of professional opportunities)
• National Theater Center
• ASOLO at Florida State
• U. of Missouri Kansas City/Kansas City Repertory (on the strength of Theodore Swetz, program chair, about whom Michael O'Connell and Saren Nofs-Snyder speak highly)
• Academy of Classical Acting (one-year program for mid-career actors; also no Equity card)
• U. of Tenn Knoxville/Clarence Brown Theater
• U. North Carolina Chapel Hill/Playmakers' Repertory
U/RTA schools that will have faculty in Chicago who will see me and about which I need to learn more:
• Cal Arts (no real interest in this; it looks like a mill to me)
• UC San Diego
• UC Irvine...
(... I don't know about all these California schools. Southern Cal doesn't appeal to me, at this point in the process...)
• Ohio U./Cincinnati Playhouse
• U of Texas Austin (no Equity card)
• U. of Washington (I hesitate to spend three years in Seattle... the f@#k'n rain....)
• Penn State
I'm also auditioning for Yale, but without any serious expectation, of course. I'm doing it for the networking more than anything else; and curiosity about how the top dogs comport themselves with supplicants. I'm NOT auditioning for NYU, The Actors Studio (blech), or Columbia U., because I don't think I could face another three years in NYC (I lived there for nine, over the course of my life). If anyone has any useful tips on any of the programs I AM interested in, I and other readers are all ears.
Finally, a shout out to Sara Falconer, the audition coordinator at U/RTA: You're fantastic. Thank you for the patience and good humor! Bon Bons are on the way.