Auditioning for Musical Theater: Tips, Rules, and Facts
How to Nail Any Musical Theater Singing Audition
Performing in a musical can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, some singers and actors miss this fun and educational opportunity because they fail the audition process. To make sure you are selected as a cast member you must be prepared. Knowing how to nail a singing audition for musical theater will give you that edge and assure you a “call back”.
Here are four tips to remember:
- Take every opportunity available and audition as often as you can. Even if you are not cast in a show, the experience of auditioning will make each time easier and you will get better and become more professional. You'll also have less fear during the audition.
- Once you have selected a musical that you want to audition for, begin to map out a step-by-step plan following the steps I've provided.
- You will always do better if you warm up your voice before you audition. Use selected vocal exercises designed to limber up the vocal cords and take you through your vocal range.
- Present a good attitude and be a good sport. If you're not selected for a lead role, accept any part you are offered. This is how you learn and grow. Give the cast an opportunity to get to know and like you. This is always a plus for a later audition.
Preparation is the Key to a Successful Audition
Six Tips to Help You Land That Audition
One of the most important steps you must take before you audition for musical theater is:
- Make sure you are familiar with the musical. You'll do a better job at the audition if you study the story or watch it on a DVD. The musical itself may be slightly different than the movie but at least you will be familiar with it. You will also know which part you want to go out for. Also, knowing the musical helps to give you more self-confidence during your audition. Check your local library for CDs or DVDs as well as You tube.com.
- Never sing a song from the musical you audition for unless you are specifically asked to do so. Instead, find a song in a musical that is similar to the one you are auditioning for. This is a standard rule.
- Show confidence. If you don't feel confident then pretend you are. You are in charge. Own the song.
- Make the lyric come alive. What marks the difference between a singer and an artist is the interpretation of a lyric.
- Play to your strengths. Sing songs that you know you’re good at, those that enhance your finest singing qualities. Keep in mind that the songs you like the best may not be right for you
- The more you practice, the stronger your confidence will be. Leave nothing to chance. If you find that you run out of breath too soon then practice diaphragmatic breathing. Work, work, work until you get it right.
An audition is your moment to shine. Don't allow fear to rob you of success.
About The Musical "Wicked"
Seven Professional Rules for Auditioning for Musical Theatre
- When singing, look just above the audience. Find a "spot" near the back wall and focus your eyes on the spot. Avoid looking directly into your audience. Practicing this exercise will help you feel more comfortable when you do go on stage.
- Never glare at the pianist if you make a mistake or if he is not playing it the way you want. This is very unprofessional. Just keep singing and perform your song.
- Sing with expression by using your body, especially your face but don't overdo. Avoid duplicating gestures and refrain from using too many arm movements. It can be distracting to the director and unless gestures are natural you will look as though you are trying too hard.
- Keep your hands and fingers relaxed and don't play with your clothes or put your hands in your pockets while you sing.
- This tip should be obvious. Do not chew gum or have a throat lozenge in your mouth when you sing.
- Try not to ask if you can start over again if you make a mistake or don't like your performance. Your judges are very busy and get tired. If you sing a wrong word or if you forget the words, keep right on going. If you can't do that, just stop.
- After your performance, give a nice smile and confidently walk off stage.
My Favorite Musical Finale Les Miserables
Three Tips to Follow Before You Audition
- Be sure to make your call to schedule your audition date, and to make it at a time when you have little else planned. During the call, make a note of the information you will need such as where, when, the time and what you will need to bring to the audition. Find out if you will be singing, dancing or reading dialogue on the same day. If you need a monologue, be sure and memorize it – and do keep it short.
- The worst thing you can do is to arrive late for an audition. Be at least 30 minutes early before your scheduled time, especially if it is an open audition
- Bring your resume. If it is needed it must be only 1 page with your most recent headshot attached. Also, bring a copy of your music (not the entire music book). Make copies of your music and tape the pages accordion style to give to your pianist.
Broadway Tony Award Winner
4 Important Professional Tips For On Stage Performance
- As you walk on to the stage, look and act confident by smiling and maintaining good posture. Keep the shoulders back and head held high. Be sure to take a good breath of air just before you sing your first word. Absolutely do not tap out the time or click your fingers for the pianist as you begin to sing. This is rude and makes you look ridiculous.
- After you finish singing, smile as you give your bow or a gesture of thanks. It's also nice to include the pianist by extending your hand in his direction. Then, confidently walk off the stage.
- The saying "Technique will set you free" is true. Study with a qualified teacher and learn all you can about vocal training. You will sing much better and your confidence will increase as you practice.
- Finally, present a good attitude and be a good sport. Accept any part you are offered as an opportunity to learn and grow.
15 Suggested Audition Songs
I can't stress hard enough how important your choice of the right song is to your audition. Be sure you select material that compliments your natural singing voice. Always stay within your vocal range and choose a song that's fairly easy to sing.
I've selected a few possible songs for you to consider:
- Matchmaker - Fiddler on the Roof (Female)
- Camelot - Camelot (Male)
- Close Every Door - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Male)
- Ol' Man River - Showboat (Male)
- I Dreamed a Dream - Les Miserables (Female)
- As if We Never Said Goodbye - Sunset Boulevard (Female)
- Memory - Cats (Female)
- Bring Him Home - Les Miserables (Male)
- Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Evita (Female)
- This is The Moment - Jekyll and Hyde (Male)
- All That Jazz - Chicago (Female)
- You'll Never Walk Alone - Carousel (Male or Female)
- Oh, What a Beautiful Morning - Oklahoma (Male)
- I Feel Pretty - West Side Story (Female)
- Put On a Happy Face - Bye, Bye Birdie (Male or Female)
Hundreds of great audition songs are available. Once you’ve picked your perfect musical theatre audition song, remember the typical 16-bar and 32-bar cuts, and make sure your song fits appropriately.
Which of these is your favorite musical?
Some of the happiest times for me have been performing in and directing Broadway musicals. I especially enjoyed working with the little ones; children who are receptive, hard-working performers.
One of the benefits of participating in a musical is the confidence factor. I've witnessed shy, insecure and unconfident people turn into confident, powerful participants through their experiences in performing night-after-night and weekends.
Those involved in musical productions become fast friends as well as a family unit. Support from the entire cast and crew runs high.
The audition process may be a little on the stressful side, however, being prepared and following the rules given in this article will surely help. I also recommend a healthy dose of "believing in yourself."
Questions & Answers
© 2010 Audrey Hunt