Theatre: where people express themselves through a character they have developed and worked hard on, that is of course if you get cast.
The number one concern of all people in “the biz’” is whether or not they will “book it.” That’s industry speak meaning the actor in question got the role. So many people have their own way of going about auditions, but here is my foolproof advice on picking material that makes sure you “book it,” feel confident in the audition and want to audition more and more.
Typically, in the professional world, auditionees are required to come prepared with a memorized song and monologue. Theatres will also specify on whether the auditionee must bring sheet music for an accompanist or a device, like a phone, to play a karaoke track off of. Sheet Music for practically anything can be found on a website called Music Notes . ITunes, Spotify, and YouTube are great resources for finding instrumental tracks.
The song is usually a sixteen or 32 bar cut, and the monologue is around 30 seconds to a minute. A “sixteen bar cut” means about thirty seconds. When picking this song, pick a song you enjoy singing. Singing a song you hate makes the audition miserable for everyone. Also, how can one be proud singing a song they hate? If you love Dogfight and hate Wicked, don’t sing from Wicked, sing from Dogfight instead. This goes for all audition material. It is very hard to memorize things you don’t like so pick pieces that are enjoyable to perform. This will make the audition much more entertaining and it’s easier to relax when singing a song you know and enjoy singing.
The monologue is a much trickier feat because people typically know more musicals than plays. Try it right now, list as many musicals you can think of. Now do the same with plays. Not as easy as it looks is it? A good tip is to go online and read plot synopsis’ of plays. When you find one that’s interesting search the title on Google and add “pdf” after. There are lots of plays uploaded online that can be read. Good monologues for auditions can be found with ease this way. One can always just Google “female monologues,” but everyone does that. This means practically everyone will have the same monologue and that does not let you standout.
When in an audition it is important to stand out so the director will remember your audition when casting. That’s why picking material is so important. When you Google “monologues” or “Broadway songs,” the first things that pop up are usually the most overused. Don’t be afraid to listen to some new works or even way older material. Try to listen to a different musical each month to expand the mind and learn new songs. Not only does that create more audition material, it also gives fun new music to jam out to.
Try to have a contrasting monologue and song. Meaning if the song is something happy, like “Life of The Party” from Wild Party, then choose a dramatic monologue, like from The Crucible. By doing contrasting pieces it shows diversity. It’s like going in there and saying, “I can play happy so well, and immediately jump to sad. I am very versatile please cast me!” Anyone can come in and play to their strength, but it shows true talent to play opposites right after each other. If someone is a comedic actor and does two comedic pieces, it shows they are really good at comedy, but nothing else. It’s important to show variety to be considered for things now but also in the future.
After the material is perfected, it’s the most important and crucial part of audition preparation: having fun. So many people don’t get cast solely because they were so nervous in their audition they forgot to have fun. So go in and have a blast. Jam out to that song you love and speak your monologue with confidence. Casting directors want to see people who are confident.
That’s how you book it!