A queasy feeling settles into your stomach. You’re surrounded by a group of softly (or boisterously loud) talking group of men and women sipping waters and coffees while asking each other which role they’re gunning for. Suddenly, the stage manager calls your name. “Break a leg in there!” they say, ushering you into a room where it’s you, the director, and the artistic director. *Gulp*
Auditions. It’s a word that can get you brimming with excitement or send you scurrying for the nearest hiding place. Auditions for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Guys & Dolls’ are almost here. Are you ready? It can be a nerve wracking process. If you’ve never auditioned before, you probably have a lot of questions. We want you to have the absolute best audition, and hopefully, the answers we have below will help calm your nerves and focused on your audition performance.
Q: What should I prepare?
A: What you’ll perform will vary from to audition to audition, but it will be clearly stated on the audition packet what is expected of you. One or two monologues and/or a song is required. For example, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ auditions ask each person to prepare 16-32 bars of a rock ballad or song of similar style to the show. For Guys & Dolls, it’s 16-32 bars of a standard Broadway tune.
It is our practice to ask for 16-32 bars. However, on occasion a director wants to hear more, so you might want to know the song in case this is true. You must provide sheet music- you cannot sing acapella (without the piano). We will provide an accompanist for you.
Always check the audition notice first. If you still have questions, give us a call at 218.733.7555.
Q: How should I prepare?
A: Always, always, always be familiar with the show you’re auditioning for. The best way to do that? Read the play! (Scripts are available in the Playhouse office for a 3-day check-out with a $5 fee you’ll get back when you return the script.)
Once you have your auditioning material selected, practice makes perfect! Memorize the lines and lyrics, perform in front of the mirror, and then perform for a small group of friends. The more you do it in front of actual people, the more comfortable you’ll be with the material. If a song is required, bring sheet music to give the accompanist.
Q: What if I don’t have professional headshots?
A: Something new for Playhouse auditions this year is bringing a headshot and acting resume along with your audition form. Don’t have a professional headshot in your arsenal? Not to worry! Any nice photo of yourself will work perfectly. You could even snap a photo of yourself on your phone. With so many people and faces coming and going, it’s nice to have something the director can refer to after the initial auditions are complete. Examples can be found below.
Q: What should I wear?
A: The rules of what to wear for an audition vary depending on the type of audition you’re going to, but it’s always a great idea to wear what makes you feel confident. As a simple guide, jewel tones are fantastic for both men and women. Try to avoid busy patterns, flashy jewelry and showing off too much skin.
If there’a s dance call scheduled before your audition time, dress comfortably and in form-fitting clothing you can easily move in.
Q: Speaking of a dance call…what does that mean?
A: A dance call can be intimidating, especially if you feel like you don’t have a ton of dance experience to back you up.
Simply, a dance call allows the show’s choreographer and director to see how you move. A short routine is taught to all auditioners, and you’ll have a few rounds to get the moves down with and without music. Dance calls can move quickly, so it’s important to focus on the instructor instead of goofing off with your friends. Usually after a few rounds, the director will be invited into the room and what you perform what you just learned.
What is taught to you will depend on the show and the director expectations. Some will look for exact execution of moves. Some will be looking to see how well you keep time and learn a new routine in a short amount of time.
Remember, you’ll be with a group of people who have a wide range of dance experience. If you miss a move or step here, don’t let that hold you back. Get the general feel and movement, and then focus on the details from there.
Q: Any last minute advice?
A: Always! Have a strong physical presence. Show you can ground yourself and energize a 300-seat theatre. Sing what you do best so you can perform with confidence. Be prepared. Believe in yourself.
Auditions for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘ will be held at The Underground and over at the Playhouse Conservatory (located in the Wells Fargo Building | 230 W Superior Street | Entrance on 3rd Avenue West). Please check audition packet for specifics.
Auditions for ‘Guys & Dolls‘ will also be at the Playhouse Conservatory. Audition packet can be downloaded here.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments!
See you at auditions!