Prepare For Your Audition
Image courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress
You’ve contacted your local theater group and found out when their next auditions are. They’re putting on a show you like, and there’s a part you’re interested in. What can you do between now and the audition date to help you get into the show?
Being well prepared for the audition will help calm your nerves (a little! ) and will go a long way toward helping you give your best possible performance in the audition room. Most organizations will have scripts available for you to borrow prior to auditions. They may provide scripts for the whole show, or just for the scenes the director will have people reading from for auditions. One way or the other, you should pick up any available materials and read through them a couple of times prior to audition time.
The next, best step you can take toward being ready is to carefully review the audition announcement that the director created. If there are special instructions there, be sure you follow them.
Different directors or organizations have different expectations for auditions. But if the audition posting says, for instance, to be prepared with a song and bring sheet music, the minimum you should do is to have a song prepared and bring the sheet music. Having a song "prepared" means that you’ve familiarized yourself with the piece and will be ready to perform it, probably with an accompanist. Memorizing the song isn’t necessary. Just be sufficiently comfortable with it to give a strong vocal performance.
The same holds true if a monologue is requested. Find a speech from a play, and get yourself comfortable performing the emotional range of the piece. Again, don’t worry about memorization. Just put on a good show.
Pay special attention to whether the director is looking for songs or monologues from the show that you’re auditioning for or not. If the show is ANNIE, for instance, the director may not want to hear "Tomorrow" 114 times during auditions and may specifically ask that songs from the show not be used for auditions. On the other hand, they may want to be sure you can master the music or the language in the show. If they don’t specify, you can decide on your own, but if you’re not using material from the actual show, try to select something with a similar feel.
On a pragmatic note, take a look at your calendar and at the rehearsal schedule for the show. Note any conflicts you might have. When you get to auditions, they’ll ask you to list conflicts and it will be much less stressful for you if you know them ahead of time.
Start well in advance, follow the director’s instructions if they’ve given you any, and be comfortable with the audition materials before the day of the audition comes around. It may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be any more than an hour or two of preparation and doing it will make all the difference when your name is called to stand up and perform!
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