Audition Day is Here!
By Nate Paul
In our last entry, we discussed the specifics of how to prepare a song for a musical theatre audition. Before we dig into audition day logistics, if you haven’t read that post yet, go back and read here to learn how to prepare before audition day. We will be hitting the “ins and outs” of a standard musical theatre audition from before you walk in to when you leave.
Before Going to Your Audition
Now, you’ve made it through the preparation stage, and the big day is here! You’ve carefully looked at the audition information, and you have all materials needed. This may include but is not limited to headshots, resumes, sheet music, a karaoke/accompaniment track, clothes for a dance audition, and water. Hydrate well in the days leading up to your audition and get good rest the night before. The day of the audition, dress in what makes you feel confident. Exceptions are clothes that are ripped, have holes, or are especially worn. Double (and triple) check your audition time, and make sure to still allot time to avoid issues with traffic and to arrive early. In the performing arts world, the old saying goes “on time is late and late is fired”. Show punctuality before they even hear you.
This is also important to note: eat before your audition! Nervousness will only be worse if you have low blood sugar or an empty stomach. It doesn’t have to be a full meal, but a pack of peanut butter crackers, a banana, or some almonds 1-2 hours before your audition can really level out the body. Taking that time to eat can also be suitable for meditation, focusing on mindful breathing, and letting go of residual tension.
Then, it is important that you stretch and warm-up before you arrive because there may be no space available in the building for you to do so. Some light abdominal, leg, and neck stretches will suffice. I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT over warm your voice! I have heard so many people come in with a voice that is already worn out to the point of fatigue, and it’s obvious; save your money notes for the people who are going to cast you! Use the time beforehand to eat, warm-up, stretch, and to help you find control and centeredness. Do not dwell on the high notes. We all only have so many in a day.
You’re warmed up and ready to go! There will likely be a table where you sign in and you may be given a number. They might also take your picture and have you fill out an audition form. Be honest on your resume and audition form. If you are only interested in certain roles, only list that you will accept those parts. If you list that you will accept any part in a production you are not genuinely interested in and you do not accept that part, that exudes a lack of honesty and integrity.
Also, the age old axiom goes, if you can choose to be anything, be kind. Your audition begins the moment you enter the building. Stage managers and other artistic team members tend to be the eyes and ears in the hallways and lobbies while auditions are taking place, and they report any misconduct they see or hear to the panel. Panels will often take someone who is a good team player over someone who is potentially difficult to work with or is unkind to others. We look for people who show not only great performance skills, but great people skills! The process of putting a production together is always more enjoyable when everyone on board is kind, proactive, and collaborative.
Next: THE AUDITION! We’ll solely focus on what is ubiquitous amongst all musical theater auditions which is a singing audition. First and foremost, understand that the audition panelists have the same nerves you do as an auditionee. The moment you go up to sing, they are invested in seeing you do your best. NO artistic team I have ever worked with roots against the person auditioning, so walk in knowing the audition panel wants you to succeed.
Keep your hair pulled back so we can see your lovely facial expressions and storytelling! When you introduce yourself, be clear, enthusiastic, and articulate. This is a great first impression to show them you want to be there! If there is a pianist who is playing live, you have the ability to determine how well they play by being scrupulous in your markings regarding tempos, special markings, or unwritten discrepancies. Changes or happenings in a song that are important to acknowledge to a pianist are slowing down, speeding up, holding a note longer than it’s written for, cold cuts from one part of a song to another, and so on. Note: I would try to prevent the last one by marking everything.
After the audition, they may invite you to what is known as a “callback”. They may notify you via email, text, phone call, or they may even let you know in-person before you leave the audition. This invitation is for another audition day dedicated to singing and speaking dialogue from the show, and may even include more dancing. This helps them get a better look at those they’re interested in considering for specific roles. They will almost always tell you which role(s) for which you are being called back. Follow the same preemptive steps as the initial audition. If you do not get a callback, this does not mean you haven’t been cast. Sometimes, they know from the first round of auditions who they want for certain roles, or if you are auditioning for an ensemble role, they often do not call those auditionees back either. I hope you find these audition tips palatable towards your first or next musical audition! With theater doors opening again, we look forward to seeing you at auditions!
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