Monday, March 16, 2009

The joys of general auditions

In an effort to make this blog more well rounded (and not just talk about events that happen in my life) I want to talk more about my philosophies as an actor, and how I use what I’ve learned to seek success in this business. Most of you know that as my “day job” I founded a business/career coaching service for actors, and as a part of that I blog about business related things at my blog: Bite-Size Business with The Actors’ Enterprise.

So, there will be times that I borrow ideas from my other blog and express them here as well, because it will give my readers here a very good sense of who I am as an individual. So, I am copying over bits of a blog post called, “Auditioning for a Season of Shows” so you can get glimpse of some of the things we run up against as actors:

We are in the season of summer stock, festivals, and general season auditions which forces actors to communicate several different facets of their skill set, often using only one audition piece (be it a monologue or song.) This can leave actors perplexed as the best way to present themselves, particularly if they are right for more than one show but the shows are completely different in style.

For example, here is the season from a theater currently auditioning in New York:

My Fair Lady
Little Shop of Horrors
High School Musical
The Wedding Singer
Fiddler on the Roof

Um, so whatcha gonna do for this audition?

Take me as an example: I am a youthful leading lady with pop/legit soprano range, which means I am perfect for shows like My Fair Lady and The Wedding Singer. But with these shows having such different scores, how do I choose a song that can show that I am right for both roles?

The magic answer is that you tailor your audition pieces to fit your storytelling strengths, as opposed to fitting them to the season of shows. I’ll say that again, in another way: Do what you do best and the appropriate project will draw itself to you.

So, how do you do this? Well, start by asking yourself this question: What is it about you that makes YOU perfect for the projects listed? Most likely, there is something they have in common which resonates with you, and THAT is what you should be expressing in the audition room. Using me as an example again: I am someone who is constantly on a quest to better myself and the world around me. “Idealistic” is one of the main words I used to describe me. So, I took this information and looked at the season of shows. The roles of Eliza in “My Fair Lady,” Julia in “The Wedding Singer” and Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors” have a similarity of spirit. All three girls dream of a better life but find themselves in circumstances difficult to overcome. But that doesn’t stop them from trying, and in the end they not only find what they were looking for, but they find it in the least likely of places.

So, you know what your unique point of view is, and you have found that kind of spirit in several of the season’s shows. The next step is to go back to your repertoire of audition pieces, and find something that allows you to express your viewpoint in the audition room. To continue the example: perhaps I would sing something like, “Part of Your World” or “The Sound of Music” which are both about wanting and loving things that are bigger than yourself. Sure, by choosing one song you only get to express your vocals in one style (legit or pop) but you are expressing your own viewpoint, which is perfect for both roles and will ultimately allow you to be seen for all relevant roles, regardless of show format.

By using this example, hopefully you can see that you’d be going into the audition room AS YOURSELF and letting the shows/characters attach themselves to YOU instead of you changing yourself to fit THEM. It’s a subtle distinction, but a powerful one!

Hope you enjoyed this blog post- expect more like this in the future!


  1. Thanks for this!! I really appreciate your advice for this confusing type of audition.

  2. You're welcome! These auditions are kind of crazy, aren't they??? =)


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