SPECIFICS: AUDITION REQUIREMENTS FOR MUSICALS
For Mainstage Musical and Footlight Fanatics Productions:
64 bars of contemporary musical theatre, uptempo or ballad
Sheet music in correct key with piano accompaniment
No lead sheets
Resume (include your contact information and clothing sizes, height and experience and training)
Headshot (need not be professionally done)
SPECIFICS: AUDITION REQUIREMENTS FOR PLAYS
For Play Production and Young Thespians Productions:
1-2 minute modern comedic monologue memorized
Resume (include your contact information, clothing sizes, height and experience and training)
Headshot (need not be professionally done
NOTE: Mainstage Musicals in Winter and Fall are the only “audition only” things we do, meaning there is a chance you will audition but not be cast.
For ALL other productions (Play Production, Footlight Fanatics, Young Thespians) while we require an audition, you will be cast if you have enrolled in the production. Enrollments are limited to cast size so please also enroll in the production you intend to audition for (with the exception of the Mainstage Musical).
Preparing for the Audition
The day’s activities should be appropriately scheduled on the day of your audition. Be well rested and fed.
Pre-read the play for which the audition is being held if possible. Some publishers allow you to order a script. Find the publisher’s name listed with the play name above.
Rehearse your monologue for the audition.
Be aware of your needs for script, music and musical accompaniment in singing auditions.
Dress appropriately for dance auditions: comfortable clothing and proper dance shoes.
Call backs are sometimes held after auditions for the director to check voice, look, interaction or other factors that will help in casting. Callbacks do not mean that you are going to get a part and not getting called back does not mean you are not going to get the part. It is just an opportunity for the director to check something that might not have been apparent the first time around or to check dynamics of a group or pairing.
SSPA’s Audition Tips
Before your audition:
Research the play or musical and check the requirements for your audition. Each company will ask for something different.
Ask yourself: What kind of show is it? Who are the character? What kind of songs do they sing (if they sing)? What are your particular strengths as an actor that could contribute to this play? What do you want to show the directors?
Choose a monologue and song (if applicable). Look for a monologue that has similar character traits or emotions to the characters you are interested in playing. Find a song that is in a range that is both similar to the characters you are interested in and flattering to your voice. Look for songs similar in style to the show you are auditioning for. Here is a site with many choices! There are many other resources for monologues. MONOLOGUES
Memorize and finesse your performance. Use your body, face and voice to tell your story.
Practice, practice, practice!
During your audition:
Introduce yourself and your monologue or song loudly, clearly and with confidence
Take a beat or a breath before starting your song or monologue- get in character.
Ask any questions you have and thank your directors. We’re not scary, promise!
Cold read/ audition sides: Remember that these are not a test of your reading skills. We want to see you create a character and show expression, so use your voice, body and face to show us what you got! Make big choices. It helps to be familiar with the script if you can find it online.
Dance audition: usually the choreographer will teach you a dance so you don’t need to prepare anything. Stay focused, ask questions and try to have a little fun.
We are looking for how you perform, not how perfectly you get the steps. Start with getting the footwork, then worry about arms or embellishments. Make sure you smile or otherwise use your facial expressions even if you don’t know the steps. If you mess up, pretend it was on purpose!
Recorded Submission: Make sure you review the requirements of your audition before creating your videos
Unless otherwise noted, slate (or introduce yourself and your audition material) at the beginning of each video and end by saying “Thank You.”
Choose a space where you have room to move and you can see most of your body in the camera*. If you can, use a blank wall or plain sheet as your background so your director can focus on you and not your Star Wars collection.
Make sure you can be heard loud and clear. You may need to project your voice or use headphones in order to be heard in your video. Make sure you have a quiet space to record.
Try to do each video in one take and don’t try to edit together multiple takes.
Make sure you watch your videos before sending them in. Can you hear yourself? See yourself? Are you showing your best work for your directors?
Live Online Auditions:
Even though you are on zoom, treat it like an in-person audition. Show up early, dress sharp, set up your camera and speaker ahead of time, check your internet connection, and make sure you are in a quiet space.
If you can, find a blank wall or use a sheet and give yourself space to move around.
Your directors want to see more than just your face, so make sure your device is in a place where you can stand up and still be seen. This is important for monologues, songs and dance auditions.
If you have technical difficulties during the audition, we all understand. Do your best to troubleshoot, ask for help, or sign off and come back. We may move on to the next person, but will make time to finish your audition when you are back!
Introduce yourself confidently, speak loudly and clearly and make sure you thank your directors before leaving.
If you are playing music for a singing audition, make sure you test it out ahead of time. There are a few ways to do it, so make sure you find one that works for you and check the volume with the directors before you start.
What Is A Monologue?
Monologues are usually drawn from scripts. Many characters may be part of the scene that you are using, but you (the person auditioning) are the only one in that scene talking at the moment. Your chosen monologue should not be from the production you are auditioning for, and so it may represent a rare moment in acting when you supply your own direction. Monologues have certain characteristics and rules of thumb that make them suitable for use:
Many times, a monologue is optional. Should you do one in this case? Yes, it shows the director that you are prepared, committed and interested as well as allowing the actor to show what they can do with a character.
A monologue should have a beginning, middle and end, and that may require joining dialogue that has been separated by the dialogue of other characters or even stage direction. The idea is to come up with a short, stand-alone playlet.
Good monologues happen when a character speaks directly to another character. Monologues in which the actor speaks to the audience can also be used, but there is a danger that the piece might appear to be a stand-up comedy routine or sermon, which might not translate into a test of acting capability.
Just like in a regular length production, understand the given circumstances of what you will be performing. What is the character’s immediate goal within this playlet? Obstacles, which can be people, disabilities, psychological, etc., are a key to revealing what a character is doing. What year, what country, what strata of society does the character occupy? The given circumstances of the play can help determine the carriage of the character during monologue performance, as well as the amount of movement and pace of delivery.
Identify the relationships the character has and how the character relates to the other characters in the world of the playlet.
You can find many monologue books in the public libraries or search online for “children’s monologues”. You can also use a favorite passage from a book or a poem as well as a script. Should you do something from a play you were just in for the same company? While that is okay, it is a missed opportunity for the actor to show another dimension of their acting abilities.
Choosing a monologue and/or song
You can find monologues online, in monologue books, or from books, plays or movies. Look for one that has similar character traits or emotions to the characters you are interested in playing.
Find a song that is in a range that is both similar to the characters you are interested in and in your vocal range (not too high or low for you to hit the notes). Also consider that the style of the song should be related to the show you are auditioning for.
Do not choose a song or monologue from the show you are auditioning for unless you’ve specifically been asked to. Generally for SSPA we do not recommend songs or monologues from the show you are auditioning for.
If you are auditioning for a musical, you should find a song from a musical in a similar style. Even if the musical uses popular music (like Mamma Mia, or Footloose), we recommend finding a song from a musical rather than a pop song from the radio for your audition. Similarly, stay away from rap music (even Hamilton) or rock music as it can be hard to hear your vocal skills and range while using those songs. Musicals also offer storytelling through music, so you can showcase your acting skills.
If you have a vocal teacher/coach, they can help you find a great song as well. If you’d like to find a vocal teacher/coach, SSPA is happy to share the name of some wonderful teachers in house.
Make sure you check the requirements of your theater. Some theaters require different lengths of monologues, some require sheet music, others ask that you bring in an instrumental track. Make sure you can meet those requirements with the selections you’ve made.
Note: At SSPA we ask that you bring sheet music in your key with proper cuts for time. We prefer that you don’t plan to sing acapella (without backing music) if possible.
7 Elements of a Great Monologue By Brian O’Niel
- Cast-ability. Choose something in your age range and gender, where the language is colloquial and a comfortable fit for who you are. For this “getting to know you” piece, avoid material that is highly theatrical, poetic, or heightened.
- Relationship. Select material where your character is talking to one specific individual. As the great Emmy-Award winning actor Margo Martindale (“Justified”) has wisely said with regard to monologues, “When you do it for one, you do it for all.”
- Conflict. The most compelling choice for monologue material is one where the speaker is in conflict with whomever he/she is speaking to. In short, something is not going “your” way, or the other person is not being who you want them to be and your objective is to change all that. Right now. This leads to an all-important sense of urgency and urgency is critical.
- Clarity. There should be no potential for confusion on the part of the auditor/audience as to what the speaker is talking about or what he/she wants.
- Response points. This is when the speaker has made a “point,” what many call a “beat” and the actor who is speaking then has the freedom to decide how the other character has responded emotionally. Shock? Anger? Enlightenment? The speaker can then decide the emotional tone of his own next “point.” In doing so, your pace and vocal pitch will organically change. Voila! The auditor sees a precious little asset known as “range”!
- A Button. A monologue that ends in such a way that we know it’s over. The same way that a piece of music resolves, so your monologue should have a sense of finality. This creates a very powerful and satisfying conclusion.
- Owning your space. Stand up. Walking into a room and pulling up a chair sucks the life out of you and the room itself. It has been scientifically proven that we think better and faster on our feet, and your physical presence will be much more poised and alive if you’re on your feet. There you have it. No rules – only some guidelines.
Audition. A formally arranged session for an actor to display his or her talents when seeking a role in an upcoming production of a play, film or television project, usually to a casting director, director or producers.
Blocking. In rehearsals, actors practice the required movements, in a pattern or along a path, for a given scene that allows them to avoid any awkward positions, such as one actor walking in front of another actor or standing with his or her back to the audience.
Callback. A second audition where an actor is either presented to the producer and director or, in the case of commercials, is filmed on tape again for final consideration.
Call Time. The time you are supposed to report to the set.
Cold Reading. Delivering a speech or acting a scene at an audition without having read it beforehand.
Diaphragm. The lower part of the lungs, filling the abdominal space, that supports the voice when actors and singers breathe correctly on stage.
Downstage. The area of the stage closest to the audience.
Greenroom. Where actors wait to go onstage. Not necessarily green.
Hot Sheet. A notice that comes out once a week with up to date information for actors.
Monologue. A speech used by an actor to demonstrate his or her ability at an audition.
Notes. Instructions, usually regarding changes in an actor’s blocking or performance, given after a rehearsal by the director, musical director, choreographer or stage manager.
Off-book. When an actor knows his or her lines and no longer needs to carry the script.
Props. Any moveable object, from a letter to a sword, used by an actor during a performance.
Read-through. When the director and the actors sit around a table and read through the entire script to get familiar with the story, their roles, and their fellow actors.
Stage Left. The side of the stage that is to the actor’s left as he or she faces the audience.
Stage Right. The side of the stage that is to the actor’s right as he or she faces the audience.
Strike. To remove something from a set, or tear it down.
Understudy. An actor, often playing a small role, who learns another role, so as to be able to perform it if the regular actor is ill.
Upstage. The rear area of the stage farthest from the audience; also used to describe an actor’s attempt to distract audience attention from what another actor is doing.