When You're the First One to Audition...

Jennifer Butler

Auditions are scary, we all know it.  No matter how experienced we are, there is always some level of nervousness when you pull up, park, and enter the audition.

For some, auditioning is the most nerve-wracking thing, for others, it doesn’t affect them at all and they use it as an opportunity to perform.  For me, I am a bit in the middle; auditions are scary/nerve-wracking but it’s not the audition that scares me, but the fear of what order we will be auditioning in.  Since I am still new to the audition experience and don’t know what to expect, I like to have at least one person go ahead of me so that I have the chance to get some idea of how the afternoon/evening might go.

Over the past two years I have come to learn that once you have figured out how auditions are done, a curveball will certainly be thrown your way.  I learned very quickly that auditions will run differently for each show, even within the same theater company.  Not until I was a producer of a show myself and could sit in on auditions from the other side of the table did I see how the director wanted to run the auditions.

I had curve balls thrown at me during my first ever community theater audition.  I was the first person to arrive and the first person to audition, which really did not help my nerves.  For my next audition, different show, same theatre company, I was determined not to be first in line again.  In my mind, I had convinced myself that if you showed up first, they audition you first, and I didn't want that to happen. So although I arrived early to the theater, I sat in my car until I saw a number of other people enter the theater, easing my mind that I would not be picked to go first.  Well, I learned shortly after that your arrival time does not place you in any particular order for the auditions.  After all the auditioners arrived, we entered the theater and found out that we were to audition in the order that we signed for up in advance.  Lo and behold, thanks to my eagerness to sign up, my name was first on the list.

It was at that moment I learned that, just like in life, you should learn to expect the unexpected.  For some auditions, it is just you and the casting committee (which is my preference) and for others, you sing to the casting committee and all the other actors who are in your time slot.

However, I recently discovered that attending auditions with friends puts me at ease.

For my latest audition, I was signed up for the same time slot as my friend and we drove in together because she had previously worked with the theater company and I had not.  We arrived approximately 30 minutes prior to our audition time.  I said to her, “Are you sure you want to go inside now?”  And she said, “Yes, it’s warm in there and there are plenty of places to sit”. I quickly realized as we were signing in that we were going to have to sing in front of the entire group.  As were entered the audition room where the casting committee was waiting for us, we were told that we were going to sing in the order that we arrived in.

I bet you can tell where this is headed.

My friend and I auditioned in the first and second spots, something that neither of us wanted.  But we made the best of the situation.  Lucky for me, they took her paperwork first which meant that although I was one of the first few people to audition, I was not the first one.

I think overall, that I have learned it doesn’t matter if your first to audition.  What matters is when you go, give it your best shot.  Because your audition won't matter if you are what the director wants.

Photo:  Children's Theatre of Annapolis