When I was a kid we always had A Chorus Line on as one of our favorite movies. The only other movie musical that was played as much was Rags to Riches and what’s scary is I can probably remember all of the songs from then, even though I haven’t watched either show for a very long time. The funny thing is that auditioning for a Broadway show or professional theatre is a lot like a rags to riches story. Even if you aren’t making a ton of money yet when you land your first couple of shows, you feel amazing because you are actually performing and possibly even starring on Broadway. With that said, after auditioning and landing my first show, watching a ton of friends audition and having friends who have been on Broadway, here are 5 tips anyone and everyone could use or think about when auditioning for a Broadway show and the showtune I Hope I Get it from A Chorus Line because it is all about auditioning and landing a show.
1. Don’t be gay.
Broadway is the most homophobic industry their is for Actors. If the directors, producers or anyone else has any indication you are gay when you are auditioning, you lost the audition. That sounds off because of all of the gays on Broadway, but if you can’t fool them into thinking your straight, they aren’t going to think you can convince middle America and the bible belt your straight either. If you cannot play a straight man on stage to impress the majority of Americans, especially the bible belt tourists who come to NYC to see a show, they won’t spend their money and you won’t get the part. Broadway is about selling tickets and being profitable like any other business. Flaming gay men (besides stars like Nathan Lane, Harvey Fierstein and a few others who are already famous and can bring in a crowd) cannot be flaming on stage because the rest of the country wants to love the story and if the story involves a man falling in love with a woman, and the guy is clearly not straight, tickets won’t sell and the show is over. That is why you have to be straight when you go in and until you’ve landed the part. Even after you land the part, you still need to be able to pull it off so the producers, etc… don’t change their mind.
2. Sing something from the opposite sex and make it your own.
I never got why men sing famous showtunes for men and women perform well known showtunes for women when auditioning. If you can take a hard to sing showtune from the opposite gender and turn it into something amazing, that is possibly going to be more impressive to the people casting the show than you doing something that you should be expected to do.
3. Do not show any emotion or nerves, except what your character should be feeling.
If you’re nervous or admit to being nervous, what happens when you’re actually on stage? That will effect what happens in your audition and show why you shouldn’t be in the role. Everyone gets stage fright, it’s the people who don’t show it and just go for it that get the roles (Barbara Streisand is probably the one major exception to this, but she still goes out there and performs for her audience). If you do screw up, don’t blame it on being nervous. One other option is to play off the mess up and change your character to show range, ability to adapt and that you don’t get embarrassed. Things happen in live theatre and if you can recover and turn a failed audition from a screw up into an amazing performance with laying on the floor and going a bit crazy, you can show that you can handle a mess up on the stage and fully recover the scene.
4. Feel free to brag, but make it relevant.
One thing some people do is forget to talk about themselves. They tell stories of wanting to be on Broadway and that it’s their dream. No crap, that’s why you and everyone else are there. Other people talk about breaking glass with a high note (I’d love to see the producer and director ask them to actually do it) and others just mention the shows they were in. Instead of doing this, talk about your experiences on the stage. Talk about mess ups that you helped recover in an instant and let them in to see what you are really like. You’re going to be working closely with them for a long time, especially if you’re in a touring cast, so let them see the real you. If you get past all the crap and they are actually talking to you, let them see who you are and talk about your achievements but also why you would be a benefit to the cast.
5. Have fun.
It’s a job interview, but it is also something you dreamed about doing for your entire life. Remember dreaming about auditioning as a kid and bring that energy and love for theatre with you. If you aren’t having fun with your audition, your nerves will take over and you could mess up. Theatre is fun and that is why you love it. It can be stressful, hurt you emotionally more than most other industries and you’ll probably have more rejection than anywhere else which is why you need to remember it’s your dream and something you have always wanted to do. By remembering that you should try and make every audition about being fun and positive. Producers, Directors, casting people and others will remember you and notice you are always happy and upbeat and that is the type of person they probably want in a cast. It keeps everyone else going.
The last thing to remember is proper manners. Remember to say thank you, goodbye and be polite. Say hello to everyone in the room and shake their hands or give a hug if they want one. Also, don’t take their feedback as offensive, it is there to help you most of the time. You might be nervous like the people auditioning in the song I Hope I Get it from A Chorus Line, but you have to remember to remain calm, be yourself and kick ass at your audition.