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GUEST POST BY THE VOCALIST: On How to “Crash” an Equity Audition When You’re Non-Equity

June 1, 2012

Today we have a very special post to share with you, a contribution by our anonymous actor / guest blogger, “The Vocalist,” all about the specifics of how to “crash” an Equity Principal Audition when you’re Non-Equity. Since this is a question that gets asked a lot and frequently lands google searchers on our blog, it seems especially useful! Thanks so much to The Vocalist for sharing her insights (and cute little drawing below) with us today.

How to “Crash” an Equity Audition when You’re Non-Equity

WARNING: this is not a blog about how TO audition. Learning how to audition takes endless practice, practice, training, practice, practice, and much more practice. People will always tell you how to audition. They will tell you what to wear, what no to wear, what to sing, what to say, how to stand, how to fidget, how to smile, how to say your name, how to pick your nose.

This is not that blog.

This blog is specifically about how to crash an equity audition at the Actors Equity Association Audition Center in New York City. Just as a disclaimer, this is all from my personal experience and I do not speak for the association itself. In other words, anything that may prove false or misguided is completely my fault and not the association’s, so please don’t call them to complain…but feel free to call and ask questions, because I’m sure they can get you on the right track faster than I can!

Step one: Sleep. Sounds like a no brainer, but it’s actually kind of a challenge in the face of intense humidity, stress, and/or insomnia. 

Wake up at stupid o’ clock in the morning. If the numbers on your clock look a little unfamiliar to you and you feel both annoyed and tired, you’re doing it right.

Groggily eat breakfast. Just DO IT. 

Bring your stuff: keys, wallet, phone, Metro card, music, clothes, shoes, makeup, hairbrush, food, a book/music/something to keep you entertained. At stupid o’ clock in the morning, it’s hard to remember these things, so I recommend pre-packing them. 

Drag your self to the subway.

STAY AWAKE on the subway.

Get off the subway. 

Walk through Times Square. This part’s pretty cool. It’s probably the least crowded it will ever be and a person can actually appreciate all the pretty lights and billboards and junk. 

Find the Actors Equity Association Audition Center and get in line. 



I like to read while waiting in line, but it’s also a good time to write, draw, or do other artistic things that keep you sane and happy when you’re not busy being employed.

At 8:00am the doors open. Show the gatekeeper your EMC or Equity Card, or photo ID 

Walk up two flights of stairs. Stay in line.

Show the second gatekeeper your EMC or Equity Card. If you are neither, sign the list in the hallway.

Note: There are EPAs (Equity Principle Auditions) and there are ECCs (Equity Chorus Call). If you are attending an ECC, and you are non-eq, sign the list in the hallway regardless if you are EMC or otherwise. 


9:00am, the monitors will start taking cards and giving Equity members time slots. If you are EMC, you will be put on a separate list with the hopes of being seen. The monitors are very nice, very professional, and are willing/able to answer your silly questions. They do it with a smile and deserve mad props.

Put on makeup.

The monitors announce whether or not EMC/noneq will be seen.

If yes, put on clothes, fix hair. If no, go home or try to crash another audition. 


Wait. Sneakily take a bite of your apple.*

STAY IN LINE! Sometimes when you’re really nervous, like I get, it may be tempting to bail at any given moment. Personally, I have never been so anxious in my life as when I was in a room filled with professional dancers about to go into enter something completely out of my element. My chest was tight and breathing was a chore. But it’s important to stay. Otherwise it raises the question, “Why did you move to New York?” 


Monitors call for headshots. 

Wait. Get put in line! Yay! Exciting! 

Monitor explains who is in the room, what they are looking for, and good luck! Auditioning for the artistic directors is fun because they give energy back—they’re looking for something to fit their personal vision. Auditioning for casting directors can be a little less fun since they’re looking for something to fit someone else’s vision.


And you’re done!

Go see a show! No really! You’re in New York, so you should see a show. There are many ways to get a hold of discounted tickets (I typically pay around $30). Try for tips and tricks. Or drop by Broadway Dance Center for a class. Or visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (It’s FREE). Or visit the library. Or you know…work…I mean, if you like eating. Which I do ( I couldn’t bear to be a starving actor. A homeless actor, sure. A naked actor OK. I’ll be a sunburned actor, or a bruised actor, but a starving actor…no thanks). 

And that’s how you go to an audition!

* Food and drink are not permitted inside the Audition Center

Thanks so much to The Vocalist for shedding some humor and light on this topic. Fellow non-eqs, do you have anything to add?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Claire Swanson permalink
    June 13, 2013 11:56 am

    Im hoping to audition for the Newsies chorus , but is an Equity Chorus call, can I still go without a equity membership card? and also what does it mean that Chorus rules are in effect?

  2. Eric permalink
    December 27, 2013 2:06 am

    Should I show up to an Equity Dance Call and an Equity Singers Call for the same show if they are on different days ?

    • December 27, 2013 12:35 pm

      I’ve always heard that you should pick the call for which you’re best suited and just go to that one. Break a leg!

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