When I was writing my post about how I miss singing in a choir, I almost got derailed and started talking about auditions. So I decided to make the topic of auditions a separate post.
Growing up, I was always in school choirs and bands. I also performed in community show choirs and musicals. Then of course in college I was a music major. As you can imagine, I have attended A LOT of auditions.
Putting yourself out there to audition for things takes a lot of guts. It teaches you how it feels to be rejected... sometimes over and over again. One thing I have learned from all those auditions is that 99% of the time, there’s always going to be someone better than me, or more fit for the part. I don’t say this to be a debby downer, I say this because I am a realist!
Even if I didn’t always get the part I wanted, my auditions usually went as well as they could have because I prepared. But I do have one audition horror story...
When I was in my late 20s, I decided to audition for a chorus part in the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Allenbury Playhouse. I’m not sure if Allenbury is considered regional theater, but I knew they sometimes cast local performers as chorus members in their shows. My point is, it’s a professional theater but it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to audition there. I prepared a song and a monologue, which I performed for the director and all the other people there to audition. When I was done, the director asked me, “Aren’t there any community theaters around here you could audition for?”
I don’t know if he asked me that question to be helpful or hurtful. My resume was in his hands, so if he had glanced at it, he would have seen all the community theater shows I had already done. If he was trying to be mean, it was uncalled for. Maybe I sucked and had no business being at the audition, but all he had to say was something like, “Thanks, you may be hearing from us in the next few days if we have a part for you.”
I remember my first audition ever. I sang You Are Sixteen Going On Seventeen from The Sound of Music. It was an odd choice for a 9 year old! I auditioned for a part in the show Oliver! and was ecstatic to be cast as a girl and not a boy! (Sometimes community theaters can’t find enough boys to fill all the parts in Oliver! so some girls have to play boys.)
When I was 13, I auditioned for The Will Rogers Follies but didn’t get a part because they thought I was too young to be a Zigfield Girl. But about a week into rehearsals, one of the Zigfield Girls quit so they offered me the part! “They have to wear skimpy clothes,” the director warned my mom. She didn’t care!
Mom, brother Julian, me, and Dad
The oldest Zigfield girl and the youngest!
One summer during college, I auditioned for You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown but didn’t get any part at all. I ended up playing the bass in the pit orchestra... on the keyboard. That was the only time I ever played in a pit, so at least I had a new experience. This was the first summer since I was 13 that I wasn’t in a musical so I was very sad. I don’t remember what I ended up doing with all my spare time that summer.
In college, I auditioned for IUP’s production of Cabaret. I LOVE Cabaret and really wanted to be in it but didn’t get a part. I was very sad, but understood. IUP had a great music and theater department so between the two, there was a lot of talent. I never auditioned for a show at my college again. I just knew that I wouldn’t get in.
Because I have done the choreography for many musicals, I have found myself on the other side of the audition experience- the casting committee. And now as a music teacher, I sometimes audition students to sing solos in my 4th grade chorus. I always make it a point to congratulate every student who auditions because it is very brave of them to put themselves out there and go for it.
The reason I bring this all up is because I am thinking of auditioning for a show this spring! Theater Harrisburg is doing Hairspray. I love that show and would love to be a dancer. We’ll see if I pull the trigger and go for it! I haven’t done a show in a long time because I love to sleep, but lately I can’t sleep anyway, so who cares!?
Have you ever auditioned for anything?
What's your favorite musical?
What's your favorite musical?