Disclaimer: This post is by no means the way to audition for musical theatre, it's merely a way. There are plenty of folks out there who probably disagree with some, or all, of this, or who have methods of their own that they prefer.
It's an exciting week this week as many of you are likely rounding out your vowels, focusing on that belt, or that high A-flat, while others of you may be playing a game of "Rock-Paper-Scissors" with yourself to see which ballad to choose for your audition. Preparing for an audition is nerve-wracking enough, but later this week you're actually going to have to do this thing, so I thought - as your director - that I would offer some tips and thoughts about the actual audition itself from your arrival to your exit, stage left. :-)
A quick note about my audition philosophy:
I consider what I do to be an absolute privilege. I get to sit and experience 60-80 students taking one of the biggest risks of their lives, bearing their souls, making mistakes, and sharing their voices. Because of that, I also take what I do very seriously. I do not view what you all are doing lightly, primarily because I was there once, in my junior year of high school, auditioning for West Side Story, having no idea I could even sing, or act.
It was petrifying, and exciting, and revelatory, and would eventually lead me down the path that I'm on now, miraculously enough. So setting my sappy nostalgia aside, here are some of my thoughts about how best to handle your audition:
1. Arrive to your audition early.
There is no worse feeling than being late, this is true, but a close second is arriving with about 2-minutes to prepare yourself. Waiting is hard, this is true, but rushing into the building barely having had a chance to steady your nerves and prepare mentally is even harder.
Pro-tip: Arrival time is also an early indicator of your timeliness to your stage manager.
2. Enter your audition calmly & confidently.
It's amazing to me how many people spend hours and hours practicing the songs they'll be singing for their audition and yet they don't spend a minute practicing or even thinking about how they're going to enter and exit the audition space. Do yourself a favor: take 5-minutes to practice your entrance, introduction, and exit without singing your songs. It will do wonders, trust me!
3. Don't ever...EVER...tell us you're sick.
It's a miracle of science how auditioners suddenly get the same cold the week of auditions.
In all seriousness, it's not that we don't care, and it's not that we don't want to know if there's something seriously wrong that is going to inhibit you from giving your best audition. It just plays into another thing you should never do in your audition...
4. Never apologize!
For being sick.
For your appearance.
For your song choice.
For making a mistake.
For who you are.
5. Manners count.
"Please", "Thank you," "Excuse me." Learn these words and learn them well. If you need a starting pitch, "Could I have a G, please?" If you make a mistake, "Oh, excuse me (chuckle, chuckle)." And when you've finished your audition, "Thank you!" Manners count in life and in your audition!
6. Finish Strong.
The first instinct when you finish an audition is to react emotionally, be it exuberance that you actually hit that A-flat, or deflation that you didn't, or disgust, or exasperation, etcetera, etcetera. How you leave an audition says just as much about you as how you entered, so finish strong. Exit the stage with dignity and compassion for yourself and for what you just did, which is a pretty amazing thing!
7. Be yourself.
Be yourself! We want to see your personality because we want to know with whom it is we might be working! "Professionalism" doesn't have to mean walking on stage like a mannequin-come-to-life.
I can't wait to see and hear all of you this week! Keep practicing, be kind to yourselves, and have a great audition week!