By Meagan Donovan
I’ve been doing theater since I was eight years old, which means this year will be my ninth consecutive year performing. Until last year I only did the shows that the schools I have attended put on. In September of 2013 I decided at the last minute to audition for Peter Pan with a local youth theater at the encouragement from one of my best friends. I have continued on to do Shrek the Musical with them currently and plan on doing Oklahoma!, Les Miserables, and Into the Woods with them. Since Peter Pan I have absolutely fallen in love with everything about theater. I used to simply love being in shows, but along with that now I love keeping up with Broadway and the West End, I love seeing shows in my area whether professional or not, and crazily enough my favorite thing to do besides actually perform is audition!
I know, I know! Auditions are terrifying sometimes. You never know what the audition is going to hit you with; you always have to be prepared. I’ve noticed, in my experience, that there is a big difference between school show auditions compared to youth theater auditions and an even bigger difference compared to professional theater auditions. But each one is a new experience that every performer can grow from whether the audition goes well or not. Something I’ve learned in the past year is that when auditioning, you have to go beyond the audition room. Sure, knowing your monologue and hitting the notes in your song is going to help. Everyone knows when you walk in to show the directors to smile and introduce yourself and be polite and thank the accompanist; typical audition etiquette. But your audition isn’t just your talents chops!
Think of when you walk into an audition: typically there is someone you check in with, maybe a producer, maybe just a volunteer. Sure, you aren’t auditioning for them, but that doesn’t mean they deserve any less! Always be kind to everyone you meet at your audition (if not in life!). When potential cast members have gone home and the audition hall has closed up shop, the final deciding factor is going to be whoever seems better to work with. The directors ask those working the audition about each performer. If someone was nasty to people who were giving out and collecting forms, the director will know not to cast them! Who wants to work with someone who’s going to be mean?
Theaters are looking for easy-to-work-with, flexible, positive, understanding, and kind people. People who are kind not just for the sake of putting on an act (ha ha…theater…acting…get it?…I’ll move on) but for sake of being nice! This carries out into professional theater too! Being nice isn’t just a tactic to climb your way up the casting ladder. When my friend met Sierra Boggess in San Francisco last month at a small concert, my friend came home with nothing but good things to say about Sierra. She sent me some video clips, and from word-of-mouth and observation, despite the fact that Sierra Boggess is well—Sierra Boggess—she took the time to talk to each and every fan who waited to meet her, and gave them genuinely thought out advice in response to every question asked.
So remember for your next audition! Chin up, smiles on, and be polite. The number one rule to remember is to just be a genuine go-getter. Your audition is more than just the two minutes you get in front of those watching your audition!