We asked our directors, “What advice would you give to a person auditioning?” Here are their suggestions.
Don’t apologize if you are sick, or late, or flustered, or whatever. Directors can tell if you are sick, and they will look past it. They understand that people get nervous and forget the words. Think of the audition just like a performance night. If you were sick or forgot your lyrics, what would you do? You wouldn’t stop and beg pardon of the audience, you would just keep going and do the best you can. Forgetting the words is a great opportunity to show the directors that you can think on your feet, that you can dig yourself out of hole.
Don’t worry if the director stops you, or asks you to re-sing a part, or even asks you to sing something else entirely. Just smile and do it. Show that you can be versatile and “take direction”.
Perform a song that fits your voice, shows off your vocal range and skills, and is in the style of the show. (Note: your favorite song from the radio is probably not in the style of the show.) Directors have heard over and over again songs from Wicked, Les Mis, and Phantom. Surprise and delight them with something else.
Be prepared with photocopies (and mark them) for the accompanist so she doesn’t have to wrestle with a book that won’t stay open. If the piano accompaniment is really hard bring your own pianist … or pick a different song.
Show you are prepared and confident. This is your chance to impress the directors. Plant your feet, take a deep breath, and clearly and slowly announce your name and the song you will be singing. Smile. Dress up and look professional. Be memorized. When you are done thank the directors for their time. All of that tells the directors this audition is important to you, and gives them an idea of what it will be like working closely with you over the next 6-8 weeks of rehearsals and performances.
While performing your song, pick a spot at the back of the room, above the directors’ heads, and perform to that spot. It can get uncomfortable if you are looking the directors right in the eyes, and you might get distracted when they lean over to jot down a note or whisper something among themselves.
Fill out the audition form completely and upload a flattering head shot. Take the time to format your list of experiences so they don’t look like a jumble. The hosts at the welcome table will make you go back and complete the form before they’ll check you in. And they’ll take a picture of you, which could look okay 🤔 but will more likely resemble something from the DMV. 😬 Remember: impress.
The directors really do want to know if you are only interested in a particular role. And they would rather know that up front, than have you finally reveal your preference after they have spent hours painstakingly casting the show.
Good luck! Break a leg!