11 Important Audition Tips from Directors and Musical Theatre Stars
Auditioning for plays and musicals can be an exciting time in a performer’s life. But unfortunately, it takes quite a while to master the art of it. Major audition mistakes are being made every day. And often times, you will never even find out if you have been making the mistake in the first place! But that’s exactly why we are collecting some great audition tips from both casting directors and Broadway/West End musical theatre stars.
So bookmark this page. Keep it handy. And skim through these audition tips the next time you’re preparing for a major audition. In doing so, you might just be able to avoid some costly mistakes!
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1. Come Prepared
It should go without saying that you should do your research before stepping into the audition room. Learn about the show. Research a bit about the theatre. Double check the casting call and prepare appropriate audition material. It is essential to “arrive in good time as well prepared as possible,” Jo Hawes, Children’s Casting Director➝, tells Theatre Trip.
2. Stay focused
“Tune out any showing off from other children or parents in the waiting room which might make you ‘more nervous’,” Hawes continues. In her experience with casting children, it is better to reflect inward and focus on your own personal task at hand.
The last tip that Jo Hawes shares is to simply breathe. “In the room we look for focus, confidence and good storytelling. Afterwards put any outcome down to experience and move on.”
There is no such thing as a failed audition! Every audition you go to gives you extra experience to take to the next one! Jo Hawes actually has a lot more to share on the topic in her book Children in Theatre➝. It’s an especially great read if you are supporting an actively auditioning child.
4. Enter the room with confidence
“My advice would be for performers to enter the room with confidence, and to stay true to themselves,” Lisa Klages, Off-Broadway Associate Director and Production Manager➝ shares with Theatre Trip. “I think it’s understandable that performers are nervous, but it’s important to remember that creative team is nervous too; they also need the audition to work out for them so they can fill the role they’re looking for!”
“Generally, the folks behind the table are rooting for the actors to be the best versions of themselves. Auditions should be mutually beneficial for both the actor and the director/casting. Hopefully the actor gets work, and hopefully the creative team is able to fill the role they need to cast!”
5. Be your honest self
“When you go into the audition room, the casting team behind the table wants you to succeed,” says Broadway/West End star Christie Prades. “So go in there with all your unique tools in your craft toolbox and give it all you’ve got. Organically and honestly. If it’s for you, you’ll get the job. TRUST ME.”
6. Know your worth
“The audition room will either be your best friend or your worst enemy; but it is important to put your best self forward,” Cameron Bernard Jones, West End actor, tells Theatre Trip.
“Try not to get into the heads of those at the table watching you. As long as you know who you are as an artist and performer, are honest in what you put forth, have pride in your work, and respect the craft, you can make it far. So when you are in that room, sell it to ’em without apology and walk out of that room with your head held high!”
7. Get professional headshots taken
“Unless you know a thing or two about photography, go to a professional for your acting headshots,” Adam Jacobs, Managing Director of Bubblegum Casting➝, tells Theatre Trip. “These pictures are a career investment for your future in the industry. Poorly shot photos may look unprofessional to casting directors.”
8. Be yourself in your photoshoot
“Casting directors want to see who you are as a person before they envision you in a role, so your headshot should convey your personality, heart, and character,” continues Jacobs. “You don’t want your headshot to look too overdone. The casting director or anyone looking at your pictures should see you as a blank canvas who can turn into anyone they want you to be.”
9. Always show up early
Skye Pagon, NYC-based actor, writer and director➝ also has some great pointers for your future auditions: “In the theater business, on time is late, and early is on time. If you can, always show up 10-15 minutes before your slated audition time– you never know when the casting directors might be running early, and nothing is worse than missing your slot. Plus, having those few extra minutes to breathe, prepare, and do those last minute mirror checks will allow you to feel much more prepared when you walk in that room.”
10. Choose material that you love
“This may seem obvious, but pick audition material that you love doing,” Skye adds. “If you enjoy the work you do, you’ll automatically appear more engaging, present, and confident– all definite pluses in the audition room. Additionally, whether you book the job or not, you’ll have had the joy of performing material you believe in.”
11. Be polite to everyone, not just the people in the room
“While it’s obviously important to be pleasant and friendly in the room, it is equally important to be kind to everyone else you encounter as well. Bad reputations stick in this business, and you never know when the audition monitor or the actor sitting next to you in the green room will be on the other side of the next audition table. Be the person everyone wants to work with– and that includes the people who may not be directly involved in hiring you.”
This final tip from Skye Pagon is probably THE most important thing to remember when going on auditions! But don’t stop this practice after getting (or not getting) the part. Make sure to continue being polite to everyone around you as your theatrical journey continues. This can make or break your entire career!
Which of these audition tips was your favorite?
Or have you learned any other great audition tips or lessons along the way that you’d like to share with us? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! And in the meantime, you can check out our huge database of great audition songs for specific musicals.
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Author: Stacy Karyn
Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.