Auditions, Community, Theater business

The Audition Process

For those wishing to be cast in a show, there is usually an audition process. Encore (Pirates of Penzance), and J-Town Playhouse (Irena’s Vow, The Tempest) are both theater companies that have recently announced auditions.

Most of the companies in our community hold open auditions. However, each audition process is as unique as the companies are themselves. Here is a break down of the audition processes in our community to help you better navigate the auditions and know what to expect.

Within the audition posting, you may be asked to select an audition time slot.  Other times the auditions will be scheduled on a first-come first served basis.

Different Companies will have different production staff present at your audition depending on the company and what style of show you are auditioning for. Sometimes, the only staff present will be the director. You might also be auditioning for the producer, writer and other production staff. If you are auditioning for a musical, than expect the musical director and choreographer to be at the audition as well.

Some companies hold each audition in a room where it is only you and relevant production staff, while others hold a public audition where everyone is in the room, including other performers, and everyone gets to see your audition. There is also a middleground: Two to three potential performers in the room at once for a simultaneous audition, though this is more common in Callbacks (round two of the audition process) to see if different actors have natural chemistry and can work together.

An important way to make the right impression in an audition is to come prepared. Make sure you read all the information in the audition brief–whether that be the Facebook page or event, or an email or other posting. Often you will be asked to prepare something in advance.

Musicals will often require you to prepare a song to sing at the audition that is relevant to the musical you are auditioning for. Rarely, if ever, do they want you to sing a song from the musical itself, but rather something similar. Research the musical beforehand and find songs that match the mood and genre. For instance, if the musical you are auditioning for is Singing in the Rain, you want to find a song that is jazz (matching music genre) and fairly upbeat (matching the mood.) A quick Google search should head you in the right direction. If you are asked in the audition brief to prepare an song for a specific character, research what kind of songs that character sings in the show (Ballads? Upbeat? Depressing?) and prepare something suitable.

More often than not, you will also be expected to showcase your dancing skill for musical auditions. This can be as simple as filling out a questionnaire asking for relevant experience, or more complex–performing a short dance on the day. If you are asked to perform a dance, here are two common formats to expect:

A. You will be taught a short dance at the audition to present when it’s your turn. To prepare for this, research the musical you wish to audition for. Often, musicals are choreographed based on one or two distinct dance styles (jazz, hip-hop, ballet). Once you know what they are, take the time to polish your skill, or if you are a beginner, consider taking a few classes to bring you up to speed.

B. It is rare that you will be asked to choreograph a dance piece before the audition, but if that is the case make sure to present something relevant to the musical that follows the specifications of the audition brief.

For all auditions, musical or not, you will often be asked to prepare a monologue. The monologue is usually about a minute long, and it is your chance to showcase your dramatic talent. Sometimes you are required to memorize it, but in most cases you can keep a copy nearby in case you need reference. Either way, know it well. Once your monologue is complete, the director may ask you to read lines from various characters in the show. This doesn’t always happen and whether it does or not isn’t necessarily an indicator of the success of your audition. It’s also important to note that reading for a specific role does not guarantee that you will receive that role once the show is cast. You may get another role. Reading prepared lines from the show gives the director an insight into what characters you could play, but is not a guarantee of anything.

None of these audition elements are guaranteed to be a part of your audition. That is why it is crucial to read the audition brief before arriving on the day. It will tell you exactly what to prepare, as well as relevant information about the audition’s location, and whether or not you need to RSVP.

Most importantly, have fun! The companies are rooting for you. They want to find good people to be a part of the community. They want to showcase people’s talents. Enjoy yourself in the room. Give it your all. Let them know who you are and what you bring to the table. We hope this has been helpful and we can’t wait to welcome you with open arms to our community.

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