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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Get the Part you Deserve -- The Awesome Audition

Preparing for your audition should be fun for you; it's a chance to show how good you really are and remember the people you are auditioning for have been in the same place you are standing.
When entering an audition be in good voice, if you haven’t sung or practiced in a days, you can’t expect to go into an audition and perform well. Singing every day is crucial for a healthy and strong voice. It’s a great idea to look over the score, watch the movie or listen to the music online. In musical theatre, there’s no excuse for not being familiar with the show when you enter an audition.  If you choose to watch the movie of a musical, bear in mind that the stage version is often quite different, however, if you keep that in mind, there’s no reason not to enjoy the movie. It will give you a basic idea of what the show’s all about.

If you’re so sick you have a fever, and can hardly sing, don’t go to your audition, try to reschedule for when you are well if possible. If you just have a cold or allergies, you may decide to audition anyway, If you choose to continue with your audition you may tell the director once that you are sick, don't go about announcing it like it should be on the front cover of People Magazine. Don't use your sickness as an excuse, that is a sure way not to be cast in the show.

It is very important to prepare for your audition. If you are asked to prepare a song and or monologue, and you don't have one currently memorized, find one ASAP.   Don't wait until a week or two before the audition, your audition will only be as good as the effort you put into learning your material. 

The audition song, should not be something from the show you’re auditioning for, unless you’re specifically asked to sing a particular number. Directors don't want to hear the same songs over and over again, and often have very specific ideas about how they want songs from the show sung; if you have a different interpretation, you may never be given the chance to try the directors interpretation. Choose a song that's similar in style and range to the character for whom you’re auditioning.

Rehearse with a pianist; it is important not to  rely on a recording of your song, since that version may be considerably different from the sheet music you have and will make you seem like you are ill-prepared.

Never audition without sheet music!  It is better to bring an original copy if at all possible. You look unprofessional if you are breaking copy-right laws. Do not bring a lead sheet and expect the accompanist to make it up as they go along. If you make a mistake while singing, do not stop, an audition is a performance; do not let your face or body language reveal the fact that you’ve made a mistake. Don't try to blame your mistakes on the pianist, don't give them dirty looks, it’s difficult to sight read, and they are doing the best they can. The musical director will be able to tell if the fault is yours. Don't choose a song that's very difficult for a pianist to play, it will reflect poorly on you, not the accompanist.  It is also important that your song be memorized.  If you can't memorize your audition piece, how can the director trust that you will memorize your material for the show.

Please make sure your sheet music is written out in the right key, it is unfair to expect someone to transpose at sight for you, and that any tempo changes, repeats, codas, etc. are all marked clearly. Never give a pianist sheet music in a plain book, as this make page turns too difficult.  Photocopy your song, and tape the edges together, accordion fashion and tape it carefully to the first page in your original. This takes care of the problem of page turns and doesn't break copy-right law. When you hand the pianist your music, make sure you smile and say hello. You should give the accompanist a good idea of the tempo by singing a few bars quietly for them. If there are tempo changes, codas, or other important things he should know about, point them out before you begin, this way nobody get confused.  Whatever you do, never Snap your fingers or clap your hands at the pianist. Most accompanists would be very offended by this behaviour even if you are just trying to be helpful.

It is important to enter the stage or audition room with confidence. The way you walk on stage can either make a great impression on the director, or a very bad one so keep good posture, your chin at a natural level, and look ahead not down. It is important to look confident, even when you’re scared out of your mind. Never apologize for your performance.  Don't tell them you don't know the song well or that you are sick or you didn't have time to warm-up or your dog died etc etc etc  That really says to the director that you didn't care enough about their show to properly prepare.

Dressing for an audition is like dressing for a nice date. Please avoid jeans and sweatshirts, but don't overdress either. Wear clothing that fits well and is comfortable and make sure your shoes fit well. A clothing malfunction is the last thing you want to worry about when you are already under stress. Please don't come in costume, although it isn't a bad idea to dress the part. If you’re auditioning for the sweet young leading lady, dress modestly, but attractively, and don’t wear a corset and fishnet stockings. Whatever you do, make sure you turn off your cellphone.  If you get 12 text messages and a phone call during your audition, I guarantee you won't get a callback even if you are Johnny Depp.

For the dance audition, make sure you have appropriate shoes and are wearing something in which you can move.  If you’re not sure whether there will be a dance audition, call ahead of time and find out. Also make sure to find out if you will have a chance to change and govern your attire accordingly.

If you get a callback, wear the same outfit you wore the first day, and wear your hair and makeup the same way also.  If they liked what they saw, then show it to them again. Also, if may people are called back, wearing the same outfit also makes it easier for the director to remember you.

 It is important to be friendly, don't talk too much, but you shouldn’t be antisocial, either remember to smile and be personable. The director wants to know the cast will be people that are easy to get along with. Although you want to be friendly with the other people who are auditioning, it is often better to avoid conversation as to not get so engrossed  that you end up having no time to prepare yourself and concentrate before your audition. Plus excess noise can disrupt auditions and anger the director.  You do not want to be associated with an angry moment during auditions.

When you sing, just sing, don't do choreography or blocking  to accompany your song and please don't move around. Only use hand and arm movements if they are natural otherwise they detract from your performance and could be detrimental to your chances of being cast. Sing out like you were performing for a thousand people, feel your character because good acting walks hand in hand with good singing. Remember to be flexible, if the director asks you to try a different song, or asks for changes to your character, take a moment to think about how to effectively accomplish this task and then do it.  They aren't expecting perfection, they are looking for effort.

Audition as often as you can. The more you practice auditioning, the better you will become, and the less stress it will cause.

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