Audition Advice

SLSC Uncle Shakes by Ina Centaur, used by Creative Commons license

I’ve been teaching a Musical Theatre Master Class at Hedgerow Theatre (with my brother-in-law Jeff, who is the Music Director there) for the past 5 weeks. We still have 5 weeks to go. Each week, we’ve focused on a skill of Musical Theatre- singing, dancing, acting, and character development so far. This week- auditions. And, as an audition coach, it’s my turn to teach! Here’s some of what I’m planning to share with my class:

Auditions. A terrifying, yet absolutely necessary part of a performer’s life. As an audition coach, it’s my job to demystify the process and help the performer prepare for each audition.

I think there are 2 very important things to remember going into each audition:

1. The auditors want you to do well. Really. Honest. They do. You see, their job is to cast the show, fill their program, create a company, etc. They want you to do well, so they can do their job. I get excited at auditions, to hear or see something new, unexpected, fun. I’m excited to do my part, and I can’t wait to meet the people I’ll be working with!
2. An audition is a performance. Auditions are not a test. Auditions are a solo performance.  They are a show- your show. Knock ‘em dead. You’ve selected material that you feel confident in, so perform it! You most often have control over your song and monologue, and you play a character in those. So why not in the dance, too?
I have a student who had to do a ballet audition. He had never taken a ballet class in his life! So, he came to me. We did ballet class for a few weeks. Then, we had a mock audition. He was making it through the combinations, but they were simply a series of steps to him. There was no emotion, and no confidence. So, I told him that he had to play a danseur (The male term for ballet dancer. Not ballerinO, despite popular opinion); his character was good at ballet.  It completely changed his thought process. It was a revelation for me as a coach as well. Auditions are a performance. Those who are ready to perform will do well.

I have a feeling I will return to this topic next week, after I teach the class and get feedback on these points from the students. But first, what is your feedback? And, what are your biggest audition concerns that you would love for a coach to address?