Your First Audition (Part I)

This is the first part of an article for the first-time auditioner.

As I was organizing material for this blog, I came across a question from a young person who asked: “What should I expect at an audition?  How should I prepare?”

That made me realize that my blogs so far might be ahead of some of my readers, so let me take a step back and focus on advice for someone who has never auditioned before.  We all have to start somewhere, right?  And many of us started our acting experience by working on plays in school or community theater.

So, even though it’s been many years since I worked in those venues, I will try to remember the set up.  I can give you some idea of what to expect.  Also, I hope to give you some tips on how to prepare.

In general, dress nicely, like you would for church or a business interview.  You may think you want to look cool and nonchalant by wearing grungy clothes.  But that just tells the auditor that you don’t have respect for the audition.  Don’t worry about dressing “in character” but dress appropriately for the style of play.  (No low cut dresses for children’s theater, please!).

Look over the announcement for the auditions.  It should tell you what to prepare.  For a musical you will need to sing and dance.  This means that you should have sheet music for 2 songs that you are prepared to sing.  Pick show songs (not Pop songs) that show your voice off well.  It’s best if you have gone over them with your voice coach so that you know they are in the right key for you and are used to the accompaniment.  (Don’t expect the accompanist to transpose it for you!)

One song should be slow (a ballad) and the other should be something fast (“up tempo”).  Decide which one you can sing the best and bring the second in case they ask for something else.  As you progress as an actor you will develop a repertoire of songs to use at auditions.

Chances are that there will be a big crowd of hopefuls at the audition. The auditors may not have time to hear both songs; perhaps not even one whole song.  So, you can be prepared for that by picking out the best 16-measure section of your song that really shows off your voice and range.  Mark it clearly for the accompanist.  Be prepared to just sing those 16 bars.  BTW, the theater company should provide an accompanist, you don’t need to bring one.

For the dancing section of the audition, there will be a choreographer there who will teach groups of people a short routine.  After you’ve had some time to learn it and practice it, they will probably have you do the whole routine in a group.  Later they may ask you to do it individually.  Make sure you wear clothes you can move in that are not too baggy.  You want to look nice.  It’s okay to bring a change of clothes and shoes with you.

Well, that’s all for today.  In my next blog I will talk about what to expect at the audition and auditioning for straight (non-musical) plays.

Break a leg!

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