How to Audition
Auditions may seem scary, especially if you’re not sure what to do. Here are some tips and information to help you do your best and have fun.
- Get the Information: When is it? Where is it? What is the show? What are the requirements? What ages are invited? Is there a cost? All of this info will be on the program web page and on the audition form.
- Check Your Calendar: Compare your calendar and the rehearsal schedule and performances. Cast members are expected to be available for the entire time for all rehearsals. Any conflicts need to be listed on the audition form and will be considered when casting. No absences are allowed during tech week or performances.
- Sign up for an Audition: Click on the link to sign up for an audition. The time slots are generally 30 minutes each. Auditioners will be called in order of arrival as close to their time slot as possible.
- Choose Your Song (or Monologue): Find a song from a musical that is appropriate for your age and voice. Choose a song that you enjoy singing. This enjoyment will show through in your performance. Choose a song that matches the style of the show you are auditioning for. Your song should be 32 bars. That is about the length of a verse and a chorus or about 1 minute long. Find accompaniment for your song. You can download a karaoke track from iTunes or sometimes from YouTube. (Make sure there are no voices on the track. The directors want to hear YOUR voice.) Or you can record someone playing your song. If there is a piano available (check the audition info), you can bring an accompanist to play for you.
For a play, you will need to choose a monologue, or “speech”. Choose a song that is age-appropriate and that you enjoy performing. The length should be about 1 minute long.
- Practice Practice Practice: Make sure it is memorized. Practice in front of a mirror and stuffed animals and family and friends. The directors will be looking for STAGE PRESENCE (are you comfortable and confident onstage), VOICE (volume, diction, tone, pitch), and CHARACTER (are you telling the audience the “story” of your piece).
- Complete the Audition Form: Download the audition form from the signup page. Fill everything out. Make sure your conflicts are marked. Review the Company Rules online.
- The Night/Day Before: Gather all your materials for the audition. Make sure you have your music on a portable device with a headphone plug and your audition form. Go to bed early and be well-rested for the day ahead. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Avoid acidic or greasy foods, fizzy drinks, chocolate and coffee are not good for your voice and make it harder to be at your best.
- At the Audition: Give yourself time to arrive promptly and not be stressed. Check-in at the table. Make sure your voice is warmed up by singing some scales or reviewing your song. Wait for your name or number to be called. When it’s your turn, don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and the name of your song. Answer any questions with confidence and energy. You will not be using a microphone. Remember STAGE PRESENCE, VOICE, and CHARACTER when you perform.
For the Jr Productions, VPA invites approximately 10 students in to audition at the same time. This allows students to see others auditioning and learn from them and applaud for each other. Parents may sit unobtrusively in the back of the audition room if desired. Anyone not involved in that audition group is asked to wait outside. For Community Productions, auditioners are invited one at a time into the audition room. Parents may sit unobtrusively in the back of the audition room if desired. Anyone not involved in that audition group is asked to wait outside.
- Callbacks: This is an invitation-only extension of the audition. It allows the directors to get more information about some of the auditioners before making the cast list. Not everyone will be invited. This doesn’t mean you did or didn’t get a part. It just means the directors don’t need to see you this time. For a dance callback, the choreographer will teach everyone a short routine and practice it together several times. Then the auditioners will be called up in small groups to perform for the directors. Remember to be confident and have good energy – even if you mess up, it’s okay, keep going! For a reading/singing callback, the directors will assign small sections of the script to be read/performed by the auditioners. You will generally have a few moments to look over the section before it’s your turn. Some will also be asked to sing something from the show. The directors will teach it a few times as a group before it’s your turn. You do not have to memorize anything. Not everyone will read/sing each part. You might not even read/sing for the part that the directors are considering for you. Remember to be confident and show your character – even if you mess up, it’s still okay!
- The Cast List: Great thought will go into casting all roles. The directors are looking at all of the pieces of the audition and callbacks – Stage Presence, Voice, and Character. They also look at things like teamwork, reliability, dedication, and the ability to listen and take direction. Actors will be placed in roles to maximize the opportunities to grow and learn for everyone. Similar to a puzzle, we work to piece together the show matching an actor to a role and carefully balancing the chemistry of the cast. The cast list will be emailed to all auditioners. Please accept or decline your role as soon as possible.
- How to Handle Disappointment: Auditions bring anticipation, excitement, nerves, and disappointment to many of those who audition for any production. With so much talent auditioning and a limited number of roles, decisions are always so difficult. There are three ways one can react to disappointment. One way is to give up and never try again. The second way is to say to yourself, “This is something I really want, and I’m going to work on my skills, so that the next time I audition I will have a better chance of landing the part I hoped for.” The third response could be to say, “Acting and singing aren’t really my thing. I don’t have a driving desire to be on stage, but I would like to be involved in another aspect of the show.” How one reacts to disappointment is a tremendous test of character. Although disappointment is also painful, it can bring about a new understanding of goals. When disappointment comes your way – whether it is in auditioning or another area of life – take a deep breath, open your eyes, and then see what wonderful new doors will open for you.
- Be Committed: Theater productions are very much a cooperative effort. All of the actors in the show are important to its success. Please make sure you are at all rehearsals. Do not schedule other appointments during rehearsal times. There is also a lot going on behind the scenes as well. Participants are asked to volunteer to help throughout the process. Together we become a family, put on an incredible show, and make memories that last a lifetime.