Alternative Spring Break: NYC Arts and Culture

The application deadline for Alternative Spring Break has been extended!

Apply to participate in Alternative Spring Break. ASB 2024 applications are due by Sunday, 2/04/24 at 11:59 p.m. An optional, in-person audition for student performers will take place on Sunday, 1/21/24 and Friday, 1/26/24. More information can be found within the application.

The Alternative Spring Break: NYC Arts & Culture (ASB) program for 2024 aims to provide undergraduate students in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, General Studies, and Barnard College with an immersive, pre-professional opportunity to work with real-world artists on an intimate workshop of a new musical. This interactive program allows students to connect with each other as well as the greater professional performing arts community in NYC. Students will work alongside professional NYC-based theatremakers and have the opportunity to see how theatrical pieces can grow and change on the ground floor and in early stages.

ASB 2024 will take place from March 10 – March 17 (Spring Break)*. Students will work with award-winning artists Molly Heller, Fernanda Douglas, and Julia Gannon on a workshop of their new musical, Molly McBoone. The workshop will take place in the Lerner Black Box and culminate in a performance. Read more about Molly McBoone and the participating artists.

Students will also have the opportunity to attend a new musical in NYC and an alumni panel of performing arts professionals.

*Dates and times for activities and events are still being solidified. All participants are expected to participate in all ASB activities in their entirety; this is an immersive program and participants should NOT participate in other meetings/events/plans during this period. The program is subject to cancellation or may become virtual at any time due to COVID restrictions.

Program Goals

  • Connect students to the world of New York City theatre, musical composition, and playwriting through work with NYC-based artists.
  • Provide an opportunity to perform on campus.
  • Foster a deeper understanding and knowledge of the origins and process of creating a new musical from multiple perspectives (directing, acting, stage management, and more).
  • Develop knowledge and transferable skills that students can apply to academic and professional careers.
  • Give students an understanding of career paths and opportunities within the performing arts

Student Participation Opportunities

  • Student Performer (8-12 students) - sing, act, and perform in a staged reading of new musical. Learn vocal and acting technique, breath and tone work, and the process of a new musical workshop from the actor's perspective. Receive group and one-on-one coaching from a professional director, writer and composer.
  • Music Director/Music Assistant (1-2) - work alongside a professional composer to teach music to performers for culminating reading. Learn the ins and outs of how a new musical is workshopped. Work one-on-one with the composer to gain skills in composition and vocal coaching.
  • Assistant Director (1) - work alongside a professional director to learn the ins and outs of theatrical directing. Depending on skill level/interest, may have the opportunity to collaborate with the director to direct a scene for the culminating performance, receiving support and feedback from the director.
  • Stage Manager (1) - work alongside the creative team to be the communication and technical point person for the workshop and reading of a new musical. The stage manager will be responsible for collaborating with the creative team to schedule daily calls and giving out information to the cast members, as well as overseeing the attendance and maintaining the schedule throughout each rehearsal and performance day. Depending on interest and experience, the stage manager will be responsible for calling the technical cues during the culminating performance. 
  • Guitarist/Student Musician  (1) - work alongside a professional composer to bring the sound of a new musical to life. Workshop guitar parts, contribute personal musical knowledge to the orchestrations of new songs, and collaborate with the music director on guitar/piano arrangements. Perform guitar and/or other instruments alongside the music director to accompany singers for the culminating reading presentation.


  • 12-17 student participants will be selected to take part in the program.
  • The program will take place over the course of 7 days and culminate in a performance.
  • ASB provides three meals per day during the program. Students will be provided with FLEX points on their CUID for use at establishments on and around campus.

Dates and Eligibility

  • Spring Break 2024: Sunday, March 10 – Sunday, March 17*

  • The ASB program application is open to any undergraduate student in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Barnard College and General Studies in good academic and judicial standing. The program is limited to 12-17 students and is ideal for those with a passion/interest/curiosity for theatre and the performing arts.

Need for Accommodations

  • If you are a student that is registered with Disability Services, are differently abled, or in need of special accommodations to participate in ASB, please email to coordinate accommodations and support.



Student Engagement


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3612

Fax: 212-854-6972

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.