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Musical Theater: 10 Ways To Nail Your Next Audition

Stephanie Morey-Barry

October 22, 2015

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Nobody really likes it.  Standing in a room competing with your peers for that coveted role in your school play or local theatre is never fun.  But sadly, it’s a reality for those of us who love the craft!  Here are some tips to ace your next audition.

1.    Do your research.

You need to know the plot and the music for the show very well.  Having been on both sides of the audition table, I cannot stress how important this is!  Sometimes, when I’m hosting an audition, I will ask people to sing directly from the show, right on the spot.  If you’re trying out for a specific role and you aren’t familiar with that character’s show-stopping number, I won’t think you want it that bad.  Know the roles backwards and forwards, and know the character dynamics.

2.    Pick your 16-32 bar cut and monologue EARLY.

The sooner you choose your 16-32 bars of music (standard audition swatch) and monologue, the better. That will give you more time to get comfortable with the material and make memorable acting choices.

3.    Dress for the role.

Don’t go as far as to wearing a Victorian dress for your Little Women audition, but do dress subtly in a way that helps the director imagine you in the role.  If you’re going for a younger role, wear brighter colors with a more playful cut.  If you’re going for an older role, definitely wear something more conservative.  Be aware of your hair and make-up choices as well.

4.    Get your body prepared for the dance audition.

If you’re taking dance regularly, you can ignore this step.  However, if you’re more of a mover than a dancer, you’ll want to get your body used to following choreography.  Program your brain that way by attending some Zumba classes, or using the latest edition of Just Dance on your wii.

5.    Drink lots of water long before your audition.

Studies have shown that drinking water minutes before your audition is completely useless.  It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for any water to reach your vocal chords, and hours for it to truly hydrate you.  The best practice is to drink an abundance of water the night before, and then consistently the day of.

6.    The day of auditions, warm up your voice and speak in a higher resonance.

Warm up your voice early in the morning, and speak in a higher resonance.  If you speak in a higher register, you will keep yourself warmed up all day.

7.    Sell it, sell it, sell it!

When you’re in the audition, don’t do anything half way.  You’ve worked hard, so be bold and give them everything you have. Engage them with enthusiasm, passion, and vigor.  When singing, make sure you’re still acting.  When dancing, make sure you’re staying in character.  When giving your monologue, make strong choices.

8.    Be prepared to take direction.

Directors want to see that you take direction well.  Often, they will ask you to redo a monologue with a strange accent, or re-sing a song as if you’re a different character.  Even if you don’t think you can do what they’re asking, ALWAYS try.  Directors are more likely to cast someone who is eager to try new things than someone who isn’t open to taking a risk.

9.    Don’t fawn on the director, choreographer, or music director.

Let your talent speak for itself!  Don’t tell the casting team how much you love the show or enjoyed auditioning for them.  A simple “thank you” at the end of your audition will suffice.  Otherwise, you may come off as not genuine and leave a bad taste in their mouth.

10.  HAVE FUN!

You won’t always get the parts you want, and you may not always get cast.  Since this is the case, you have to learn to enjoy the audition process.  Think of it as another chance to perform and enjoy yourself. Also, the more you enjoy yourself, the more likely you are to get cast.  The director will see you love what you’re doing, and they will want that energy in their show.

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