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Behind the Table — Do’s and Don’t’s of Auditioning

June 22, 2012

Imagine you attended an EPA in the city. Regardless of how well your personal audition went, is there not some part of you that wishes you could have seen what everyone else did in the room? Do we not ponder over whether we should have introduced our song, whether we could have chosen a better outfit, spent longer with the accompanist or stood closer to the table?

I always jump at the opportunity to sit behind the casting table, whether it be as a legitimate casting associate or just as company for the artistic director. There is so much you can learn from watching what is essentially, the competition….both good and bad! As auditionees, we plan our whole day/ week around preparing, traveling and waiting for audition slots and yet we have such a short amount of time to make an impression in the room.

Having recently sat in on an EPA in Chicago, I can share a few of my personal thoughts on the Do’s and Don’t’s of auditioning and making the most of your 3 minutes:
DO your research. Know exactly which role/s you are suitable for. When choosing a song in your book, use your attitude and style to make it relevant. The easiest decisions for callbacks were those who were obviously singing with a specific role in mind that was relevant to their age, height, build and voice.
DON’T wander off if your appointment slot is approaching. The casting panel does not want to be kept waiting.
DON’T wear heels that stop you from walking like a normal human being. My college vocal coach would not let us into class unless we were wearing make-up and a pair of heels. However, unless you are Tyra Banks, I would rather you wear your La Duca’s than hobble precariously in 6 inch heels, nearly falling into the piano.
DON’T dress like your granny just because the musical is set in 1942. I swear I don’t know where they even make some of the dresses I saw. Unless you want to be known as ‘carpet-dress girl’, find a flattering silhouette that highlights YOUR assets and doesn’t look like it needs a dry clean and a steam iron….yes, even if you’re auditioning for Oliver.
Men, DO wear a pair of pants that FIT YOU NOW. Ankle swingers are highly unflattering.
DON’T enter the room with your back to the table. The impression starts as soon as you enter the room. SMILE!
DO pretend you’re having a great day even if you’re not. You may have been sitting on a holding room floor for the last 6 hours but there is nothing worse than someone with a dull, fed-up attitude….especially when the casting panel have had to sit through 80 girls singing the same song and still manage to appear friendly!
DO have your music ready, in a folder and in the correct key. Set the tempo with the accompanist and ask for your first note if you are worried. The director wants you to do well and the pianist wants to help (most of the time).
DO remember that your body is attached to your head. I’m not saying you should even have to move your feet or make grand gestures but so many singers stand rigid with their arms stuck levitating in an unnatural stiffness. Relax!
DON’T stare at us when you sing or stand too close, it’s kinda freaky.
DO make yourself available and DON’T make excuses. Read the casting notice and make sure that you can attend callbacks. We’re trying to get you a job!

Audition procedures and etiquette differ between cities but a casting director is ultimately looking for a cast of talented professionals. There are parts of the process that are completely out of our hands. However, it is all too easy to sabotage your own audition before you’ve even begun to sing. Are there any bad habits that you have had to change when auditioning? Or even better, are there any good ones that have raised your callback count?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    June 22, 2012 4:37 pm

    These are great!

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  1. Flashback Friday: Behind the Table | The Green Room

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