How to Audition for a Youth Musical
Whether you've auditioned for 11 musicals, or you've never set foot on a stage in your life, here are some good tips for acing your next youth musical theater audition!
1Watch the movie and listen to the songs. If you're doing a "junior" version, you might want to consider watching that version on YouTube so that you know exactly what your show will be like.
2Or, think of characters you would do a good job portraying. Remember, not everyone can be the lead, but don't let the fear of getting a small part keep you from making it your goal to get the lead. You never know! Once you've chosen a few characters you could play well, analyze those characters. Take note of their traits, feelings, motivation, etc.
3Many of the junior Disney shows are licensed by MTI Broadway. Go to their website www.mtishows.com/broadway-junior and click on the show you're doing. You'll have access to a sample of the songs, a synopsis, and some audition materials for different characters to get you prepared.
1If they've requested you to sing a specific one, do that one. If you get to choose here are some guidelines for picking an audition song: Choose a song with a similar style to the show you're auditioning for, but the song shouldn't be from that show. Choose a song that shows off your vocal range (how high or low you can sing), but make sure it doesn't go so high or so low that you can't sing it well. Avoid a song that's too commonly used for auditions. You want to stand out! Avoid Amazing Grace, as it is very overused for auditions. Determine the best type of song for you. If you're a younger kid, you might be better off singing a faster, upbeat song. If you're an older kid or a teenager, you'll want to sing a slower song.
2Once you've chosen your song, you need to get to know it really well. Once you really know it, you can start having fun with it! Listen to different versions of the song for ideas, but don't try to mimic exactly another version. Make it your own! Learn the notes! It may seem obvious, but the director wants to hear that you are a strong confident singer, which you can't be if you don't know every note. Read the lyrics a few times. Think about what the character is saying, feeling, and what their motivation is. You might want to consider highlighting lyrics where the feelings are really intense or when the character's emotions seem to change.
3During your song, the directors aren't just looking for how well you can sing. They're also looking to see how well you move onstage and if you have good stage presence. Think of the singing part of your audition as an addition to the acting part of your audition, but with notes and rhythm. Add movement! Remember, movement doesn't mean dancing. The directors don't want a full-on dance number, but feel free to walk around onstage and to use gestures. Make sure any movements you do make sense with the lyrics and the character's emotions. Try not to illustrate every word, though - just do what you think the character would do while singing their song. Act with your voice! Sing loud if the character is angry, soft if the character is sad, and so on. Sometimes you might even want to speak a word or phrase if you think it adds to your performance. Use facial expressions. During your song use your eyes and eyebrows to convey your message. Use your mouth too, for smiling and such, but make sure that your facial expressions don't interfere with your sound.
4During your song, make sure you are always facing out, so the directors can see and hear you. Also, you need to project so they can hear you, because they're usually at the back of the theater. Projecting means to be loud. You can do this by taking big breaths and keeping your throat and mouth really open. Just make sure you don't belt. Belting is basically screaming and singing at the same time and it's not good for young voices.
5That will seem unprofessional and juvenile. Don't sing a song that is way above the appropriate age for you. If you aren't into musicals, research. Find something that you want to do or you can relate to.
1You will probably have to do a monologue or a cold reading at your audition. Prepare for a cold reading. A cold reading is when you receive an excerpt of the script at our audition and are asked to read for a specific role, either with the director or another person auditioning. A monologue is a long line (almost like a paragraph) said by one character. You may have to choose a monologue from another show or you may be given a specific monologue to perform.
2During the cold reading, you may be given a bit of time to prepare. If this is the case, make sure to focus on long words or words that are hard to pronounce. When you perform the cold reading, remember to project and to face out. Use expression in your voice and feel free to use gestures and to move around the stage. Even though you probably won't have the chance to memorize any of the lines, try to look up from the script frequently so that the director can see your face. The cold reading is a good chance to try out a character voice or an accent, as long as it seems to fit the character. You might, however, want to ask the director first.
3If you are asked to perform a monologue, you will probably have the chance to practice it at home. If you have to choose one, choose one said by a character similar to the one you are hoping to get, but don't choose a monologue from the show you're auditioning for. Make sure you project and face out during your monologue! Practice and practice again. Practice the monologue over and over again until it's memorized. This shows professionalism. Use color. Color code your monologue according to the character's different emotions. Including any movement. Add blocking and business (movement and gestures) to your performance.
1Don't worry too much about the dance part of the audition. Just remember to smile and look like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. When you're learning the dance try to be in front, so that you're seeing the choreographer doing the moves - not the person in front of you. If you make a mistake during your dance, don't make a big deal about it. Just keep going and act like it was part of the dance. Also, try not to look at the people dancing around you if you're auditioning in a group because it makes you seem like you don't know what you're doing. It's okay if not every move is perfect - just look like you're having fun!
Part 5Before the audition...
1For your audition, you'll want to wear the appropriate attire. Try not to come in costume! If you want a certain part, you could subtly hint at that role by wearing your hair a similar way or by wearing a similar color, but do not come in costume because that could make you look desperate and it could make for an embarrassing situation if you don't get that role. Wear comfortable clothing, especially if you will have to dance. Wear simple clothing. Try to avoid intricate designs, long text or glitter and sparkles. They will only focus on the designs instead of your performance. Girls - you probably shouldn't wear a dress/skirt to the audition unless you have tights or leggings underneath. Make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Don't wear heels (unless they're character shoes). They can be very tricky to dance in and they won't give the director an accurate view of your height. If you wish, you can bring jazz shoes or character shoes to your audition. Example: jeans/leggings, a blank, solid-colored shirt (Any type could work), comfortable, plain shoes.
2You'll do fine. Take deep breaths before the audition to help calm your nerves. You might also want to chew on gum before your audition to reduce stress, as long as you throw it away before you enter the audition room. Make sure to bring water or tea - and a lot. You need to be really hydrated before your audition. Do not, however, drink coffee because it can damage your voice. Avoid milk as well, as it coats your throat which produces a different voice than your usual one.
Part 6The Audition
1Take a few breaths before you go onstage. Then, just perform your very best and show them what you can do! When you get onstage, tell the directors your name, age, and what you will be performing. Perform loudly and face out. Make everything you do bigger onstage. Small gestures and movements don't read well from the back of the theater. If you mess up, just keep going and pretend it didn't happen. If you don't make a big deal about it, the directors probably won't even notice. After your audition, thank the director for their time before leaving.
2After your audition, don't worry too much - there's nothing you can do now. Try to distract yourself with a book or playing games at home until the call-back list or the cast list is announced.
3Each and every role is essential to telling a story onstage. If you get a small role don't be disappointed and if you get a large role don't be cocky. Also, remember that if you didn't get the role you hoped for, it may not be because you didn't do well - it may be just because you didn't seem to be the right fit for the role. Sometimes, you just have to be persistent and keep auditioning for more shows and learning until you get your dream role!