The lights! The audience! The music! For some actors, there is simply nothing better than performing on stage in musical theatre. But before the show can begin, and even before rehearsals, you have to focus on the first step to landing the role: the audition process. Below are a few tips that can help you make the most of your next musical theatre audition.
1. Find Out What’s Expected
Before you begin preparing for your audition, find out if there are any specific expectations, requirements or restrictions for what you should prepare or bring. For instance, a particular audition might limit your audition song to 16 bars, while another might expect 32. While one audition might require you to bring accompanying sheet music for your audition song, another might allow the music on CD. Will a monologue be required? Should you expect a dance component of the audition? These are all things you need to know ahead of time so that when you show up to the audition you are ready and prepared with exactly what they want. If this information isn’t readily available, don’t be afraid to call and ask for these details.
2. Dress Appropriately
Musical theatre audition outfits require the perfect blend of professionalism and comfort. Beat up sweatpants may be comfortable, but are unlikely to make a good impression regarding your professionalism – and will do nothing to flatter your body. On the other hand, slacks and dress shoes or a pencil skirt and heels could make dance or expression through movement difficult. Choose a casual but presentable outfit that will both look nice and allow you to move freely. Also, take into consideration any dance components of the audition, and be sure to bring appropriate dance shoes if necessary.
3. Choose the Right Song
The right audition song, quite simply, is the one that best showcases your voice and displays your talent. This should be your top consideration in choosing an audition song. However, there are a few other guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a song. First, look for a song somewhere in the middle of the road in regards to popularity; you don’t want a song that’s completely cliché and overdone, but you also don’t want something so obscure that no one will be familiar with it. Also, choose a song that makes sense for you – no matter how well you can nail Wicked’s “Popular”, it might not be a good choice for an adult man’s audition song.
4. Truly Know Your Material
It should go without saying that you should have your audition songs and monologues memorized. But simply knowing the words and the notes isn’t everything. Take the time to critically examine your material as you’re preparing – what’s the motivation behind the lines? What’s the emotion portrayed? Is there any subtext? This also includes knowing what every word and phrase means, and looking it up if you don’t. If you’re presented with new material at the audition, take a moment to read it over with these questions in mind. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask; it’s better than guessing and missing the mark.
5. Go With the Flow
At a musical theatre audition, it’s always wise to expect the unexpected and remember that things can change at the drop of a hat. The audition may run later than you’d expected – or run faster, giving you less warm up time than anticipated. The casting director could cut your song short, or ask you to read a new piece that you’re unfamiliar with. Or you may make a mistake, missing a mark or forgetting a line. The key is to be flexible, taking changes and the unpredicted in stride. Don’t panic, don’t get flustered, and don’t make excuses. Simply collect yourself, keep a positive attitude, and embrace the situation to the best of your ability. If you slip up, don’t get visibly flustered ask to start over. The show must go on!
Still Have More Questions?
KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!