by Colleen Cook
At the Renaissance, we frequently have auditions running for upcoming productions. The audition is a critical moment for any performer, because it’s your chance to show your best self and potentially secure the part of your dreams. For our casting teams, auditions are challenging because so many talented individuals show up and perform well, and many factors (age, look, personality, etc.) all go into the final casting decision.
If you’re curious what auditions are upcoming, we keep all of our audition information current on our website, and we also post our cast lists there as well; we also try to keep our social media audience informed on our Facebook page. Each type of production has a slightly different process for auditioning: some register for specific time slots and specify what they’d like to hear and see, others offer an open process where there is more flexibility. When in doubt, follow directions and be flexible in the moment!
Our artistic team has offered up some pro-tips for having a better audition. Here are our top tips, and a few things to avoid:
“Be prepared, flexible, respectful, focused and friendly. The auditors take notice of you the second you walk into the room, so be self-assured but not arrogant. Roll with the punches and do what is ask of you to the best of your ability without apologizing or making excuses. Producers and casting agents know that big egos cause big problems. Act like a professional, don’t tell them you’re a professional.” – Michael Thomas
“Be pleasant throughout the audition process. We watch you, and try to engage with you, from the moment we first meet you. If we sense a challenging attitude, it may not matter how well you audition. As directors, we need to know that you are willing to work WITH us; and that we can successfully communicate with you.” – Dauphne Maloney
“When approaching an audition, and while in the audition process, fully commit to everything you’re asked to do! If you’re asked to read for a role that doesn’t interest you, do it anyway. Still apply yourself; use your training, skills, and experience to show us the best of what you’ve got (don’t try to “throw,” or sway an audition by downplaying your ability to audition well in ANY role.)” – Dauphne Maloney
“If it’s a musical audition, have several varying selections prepared. The auditors may not like your choice and may want to hear something different. Have your music clearly marked and in a three ring binder. No accordion/taped-together mess that flows over both ends of the piano. No loose sheets. If your music is a Xerox copy, make sure the music is printed on both sides, so there are less page turns. Clearly mark where you’re beginning and ending, taking liberties with tempo, pauses, ritards, etc. If there is a coda or you’re going back to a certain part of the music, print that sheet out again so your accompanist doesn’t have to flip through the pages to find the right spot.” – Michael Thomas
“Don’t audition unless you’re willing to accept any role.” – Lori Turner
“Come in the room and make us believe that whatever you do is what you meant to do.” – Kelly Knowlton
“Be familiar with the show and the composer, and select audition material that is aligned with that show/role/composer’s style.” – Lori Turner
“Be clear, concise and friendly to the pianist – even if they mangle the accompaniment to your song. Soldier on as best you can. The auditors know it’s not your fault, you don’t need to point it out.” – Michael Thomas
Pet Peeves/Things to Avoid:
“Worst for me is when someone comes in the room and is apologetic or making excuses for their performance.” – Kelly Knowlton
“Don’t bombard the auditors with excuses – such as: you’ve recently had a bad cold, you’re nervous, you haven’t had time to adequately prepare, etc.” – Michael Thomas
“Starting off your audition by telling me the reason you may not sing your best that day.” – Lori Turner
…sensing a theme here???
“When someone is unprepared or underprepared, without having music explicitly marked for the accompanist, and copping an attitude when things don’t go perfectly.” – Kelly Knowlton
“When a performer auditions with the wrong style of music for the show they’re auditioning for.” – Lori Turner
“Don’t overstay your welcome or try to be hilarious.” – Michael Thomas
“Children choosing to sing songs which are inappropriate for their playable age; for example: “I Dreamed a Dream, ” from Les Miserables–sung by a seven-year-old. A more appropriate choice for/from that show would be “Castle on a Cloud.” – Dauphne Maloney