TOP 3 TIPS FOR A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION:
1. Dress to suggest: What you wear for an audition for a Golden Age musical should be drastically different than what you wear to an audition for a pop/rock show. Don't show up in costume but wear clothes that are flattering on your body type that suggest the style, era, and essence of the project you're being seen for.
2. Don't come on too strong. Enter the room with confidence, but please don't beat us over the head with your confidence. There's a fine line between 'confidence' and 'crazy' if you're not careful! Don't enter the room with 3 bags, a huge binder, a bottle of water, and a jacket. Leave things outside the room, enter the room ready to work, and be prepared to read the energy of the room for how much you should chat, joke, etc.
3. If you need to talk to the pianist for anything over about 20 seconds, there is something inherently wrong with your cut. Don't make us wait while you discuss things forever! Your cuts should be clean, well-marked, and easy to follow. NYC has the best audition pianists in the world – if they can't decipher your material, the problem isn't THEM. Part of your audition is how you prepare and how well thought out and clean your book is!
TOP 3 TIPS FOR A GREAT AUDITION:
1. Prepare. I know it sucks when we don't hear ALL the material... truly I do. But it is impressive and telling when you are PREPARED to do all the material. The actor that comes in and says "Well, I just prepared the first side and cut because I was super busy etc etc etc" doesn't impress me the way someone does who shows up and says "What would you like to hear?" and is open and ready to work. THOSE are the kind of people I want to work with... people I know will do their homework, and are willing to work hard.
2. Although you are prepared (see above!) please hold your sides. It makes it less "performance" and more "audition" for us all... and there is nothing worse than you forgetting lines or lyrics during an audition. Just hold it! We expect that, and frankly prefer it.
3. When you are preparing material... please actually prepare it using your OWN toolbox, and applying it to your OWN type, personality, humor, etc. I can tell when you come in and have just YouTube'd 15 different people singing Elphaba... versus someone who has prepared the material, coached it, and worked it into their OWN instrument. Same with sides... we know when you're doing Megan Hilty's "Popular" scene... the jokes don't work for YOU the same way they did for HER. When I see an actor who has internalized material in a personal way and brings something of themselves to it... THOSE are great auditions. Not just regurgitating material you've seen done before.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A MUSICIAN/ACTOR?:
I love people who read music. I do a lot of new works- which ultimately have readings, labs, etc before they ever actually get onstage. I always cast people who are QUICK with music and can read, so that I can make changes on the spot and know they will be able to roll with it. Ultimately, those people are often then cast in the show because they've developed a relationship with the project. Learn to read music! It's not "music theatre" without music, dammit!
ADVICE FOR ACTORS JUST MOVING TO THE CITY:
Say yes to (almost) everything. So much of this business is meeting people, networking, and having people get to know who you are and what you do. Just do every crappy show for no money, cabaret, etc. My first show was in the basement of an adult daycare center in Brooklyn. It wasn't glamorous. But 3 years later I was on the First National of WICKED and it can all be traced back to those initial contacts I made while first in NYC. Be polite, fun, prepared, and good to work with... and then the business will find where you belong!
"Wicked" (Associate Music Supervisor for 8+ years; Music Director of Broadway, First National, and LA Companies); "First Date" (Broadway; Music Supervisor/Arranger); "Prince Of Egypt" (Worldwide Music Supervisor/Arranger); "Heathers" (Off Broadway; Music Director); "Gigantic" (The Vineyard; Music Supervisor/Arranger/Orchestrator); "The Blue Flower" (SecondStage; Music Director); "The Kid" (The New Group, Music Supervisor/Arranger/Orchestrator); "Secondhand Lions" (Seattle 5th Ave Theatre; Music Supervisor/Arranger); "Moonshine" (Dallas Theater Center; Music Director/Additional Arrangements); "LMNOP" (Houston TUTS; Music Supervisor); "Elf" (Paper Mill Playhouse; Music Director); "Born To Dance" (Princess Cruise Line; Orchestrator/Music Producer)