The 5 Perils of Open Auditions

The 5 Perils of Open Auditions

Frantically searching for sheet music online? Planning to leave your house at 5 am just in case? Fantasising about stepping into the room and the casting director immediately offering you the leading role? Sounds like you’re planning on attending an open audition.

Welcome to the cutthroat world of open auditions; a minute glimpse into the world of theatre and, for the lucky few, a step in the right direction. You could be discovering delights around the world on cruise ships, sweating your way through 5 second costume changes at overseas resorts, or even find yourself gracing the big stages of Broadway. The most recent announcement in the UK was that the long awaited West End production of Frozen are holding open auditions across the country. Now let’s just imagine how many Elsa’s and Anna’s are practising in their bedrooms right now…

But it’s not all glitz and glamour. First you have to make it through the sea of eager performers all looking for their big break. It’s time to take on the 5 perils of open auditions.

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Saying No to a Role: Does That Make Me a Diva?

Saying No to a Role: Does That Make Me a Diva?

Saying no to roles and jobs can be really difficult sometimes, especially in this overcrowded industry where such opportunities can be infrequent. It might feel like you have no choice - you need the money, the credits, the production team will be left in the lurch if you drop out. There’s always a reason to talk yourself into saying yes, even when you don’t want to. But saying no to something doesn’t make you a bad person, or make you ungrateful in any way. You’re allowed to say no - it’s just saying it out loud that can be hard sometimes.

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Pre-Casting: Why It Happens and How You Can Survive It

Pre-Casting: Why It Happens and How You Can Survive It

Pre-Casting sticks in the craws of every unprofessional theatre artist, and probably in a lot of professional ones, too. Spawning drama that makes every stage manager worth their kit roll their eyes into next weekend, pre-casting somehow manages to worm its way into any given conversation about theater.

High school and undergraduate university productions, regional theatres, children’s theatres alike, all seem to struggle with this one concept that actors all loathe somewhat equally. Of course, being pre-cast is flattering, but no actor is happy knowing someone else got a part we were right for, too just because somebody knew somebody else; our egos are too big to allow it. But how do we survive pre-casting and all the evil that comes with it?

By calming down for two seconds, and thinking critically about why it happens.

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Auditioning: Why Wasn’t I Cast?

Auditioning:  Why Wasn’t I Cast?

Auditions.  We’ve all been there.   Trying to channel your nervous energy into a productive adrenaline.   Hoping to put your best foot forward.   Wanting to make a great first impression.    Anxiously waiting until your number is called.   Finally, taking the stage for a minute or two, and giving it your best shot.   Maybe you get another chance to read.  Maybe even a callback.  And then waiting … and waiting … and hoping and praying.   Hopefully, you got the part, but more often than not, you didn’t.   So, what went wrong?  What, if anything, can you learn from this experience?

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That’s Why They Call It “Casting”

That’s Why They Call It “Casting”

As Casting Chair of my local community theater, I think a lot about the process of casting our shows.  While the goal is always to find the ideal fit between auditioners and available roles, the reality is that we often have to compromise.   Unlike Broadway, we usually don’t have the luxury of picking people who perfectly look the part, fit the age range, and have the exact vocal range suggested by the script or score.  So, we make do with what we have.   In a sense, casting is like fishing.   We cast our line into the water by posting a carefully crafted audition notice.   First, we get some “nibbles”; expressions of interest on Facebook.   Then we see who we catch on audition day.  Many are not “keepers,” and often we have to throw them back (gently) into the pond.  But if we keep an open mind, we’ll often be pleasantly surprised by the talent we land.

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My Five Tips for Community Theatre Auditions

My Five Tips for Community Theatre Auditions

A number of years ago, I decided to try my hand at directing.  I had been involved in community theater for several years as an actor and felt I wanted to experience the dramatic arts from another angle.  I expected there to be learning curve (which there was).  What I didn’t expect was how directing changed my perspective as an actor, especially when it came to auditioning.

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I need an audition song!

I need an audition song!

We’ve all had that thought come in our head, right? An audition comes up and our standard “go-to” songs aren’t going to work, or they’re asking for something specific that you just don’t have. Time to freak out and cancel your audition...just kidding.

Hopefully this blog will help. As I’m thinking about auditioning for a few things and trying to figure out audition material, I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts.  These are things I’ve learned over the years through success and more importantly, failure in picking songs. Hope it helps!

A piece of general advice: make sure you’re prepared First step in that is to make sure you've practiced it with an accompanist/voice teacher etc. You need to know if it’s really difficult to play, if what you have in your mind as the intro actually matches what’s on the page, how to explain the tempo to the accompanist so you sound like you know what you’re talking about. If you don’t know, ask someone who accompanies auditions, and ask them if anything needs to be written on the page that would be helpful for a sight reader. Preparation is the key to doing well and not sweating the small details.

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Tips to Help Your Audition at Unifieds

Tips to Help Your Audition at Unifieds

Unifieds. For those who have endured through these audition sessions, I tip my hat to you. It’s a stressful and hectic process which proves to be more fruitless than successful. But there are those times when the stars align that a unified audition goes so well, an offer of admission is made.

These are rare but I’ve seen them happen. More often, a student will come in, give a strong audition and that will at the very least, put them on our radar as a strong candidate for admission later on. Then there’s the flip side, when we see a student give a lackluster audition that disqualifies them from consideration. It doesn’t happen in the majority, but it does happen.

While there isn’t a sure-fire blueprint for success to get into every school you audition for, there are definitely things you can do to help your chances in that room.

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Sometimes Your Accompanist Sucks (and what to do if that happens)

Sometimes Your Accompanist Sucks (and what to do if that happens)

Recently, I attended a college audition session where there was constant issues with the accompanist. While they were certainly trying their best, they just weren’t skilled enough to be able to play an audition session at this level. And because of this, it had a negative impact on the students auditioning that day. Each person after the next had some issues; whether it was rhythms, key signature, every student seemed to be off when singing their selections.

Over the course of your performing career, this is going to happen to you. While the majority of accompanists are fantastic, talented and helpful, there will be some who can torpedo your audition with their lack of skill.

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BFA Auditions: Do You Have Another Monologue? You'd Better

BFA Auditions: Do You Have Another Monologue? You'd Better

Whenever someone asks me for audition advice, there are two things I mention first:

  1. Know the character and context of your audition material.

  2. Have multiple pieces ready to go.

The first is pretty obvious. It doesn’t matter what monologue or song you’re auditioning with. Know exactly who that character is and what is going on in that moment of the text.

But the second is something you might be surprised more auditionees, especially college bound students, don’t know about.

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