Important Links & Documents:General Audition Information
Tips for a Successful Audition
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... (read more)Many times casting appears as though leading roles are given to a small group of people over and over again. It is important to understand that fairness goes both ways. Many CYT kids have worked very hard on their skills. They never miss a class, they take dance classes, voice classes and acting classes because they want to improve on their God-given gifts and abilities. Then when they audition they tend to be head and shoulders above other students. It would be totally unfair to that student to not cast them just because they had a role before. It would be showing favoritism to the weaker student if they were rewarded over the student that has proven themselves at the audition and callbacks. Many times these kind of students tend to be children of parents who are closely connected to CYT because the parents are doing what any parent would do - be involved with what their child loves to do. Therefore it looks like favoritism but in reality it’s just that the student is really good. They shouldn’t be penalized for working hard, training and being good.
In this crazy world of wanting to make everything “fair” and “equal” we have lost the value of healthy competition. In a world where everyone gets a trophy, something inevitably happens - the trophy has no value. The kids know it and don’t want it. Study after study has demonstrated that “fairness” doesn’t mean everyone getting the same reward.
“Fairness” and “equality” means everyone should get the same opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to compete for the reward.
What wonderful life lessons CYT can teach our children and parents.
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Wizard of Oz
West Side Story
These are tips from a few of our CYT Directors. We asked them what they look for, and what they think might help students who are auditioning, and these are some of the responses we got for first time auditioners:
Director: "I love when they show personality. It lets me know they can become a character. Say something clever, use a lot of expression, even when just introducing yourself, have some pop or punch to every motion, don't let it get lost or forgotten!"
Once your song is memorized, stage it. Facial expressions are very important here. A KEY thing to remember is: USE YOUR EYES - they should be your greatest asset! If you can "sell" your song from your neck up, you're off to a great start in theatre. Practicing in front of the mirror is so valuable - you get what you see. Sing/perform for family and friends in practice and ask them to tell you what they see and hear. Remember not to over-practice the day of or right before an audition. Learning your piece well ahead of time saves the nerves and helps you gain confidence
Dress is up to you depending on the style song you are performing. Younger students may feel this enhances their performance. I personally am not sure it is necessary for older students, however, color and a "hint" of character may be helpful as directors view and review auditionees.
Get plenty of rest the night before an audition. NO milk products before you sing. I would stay away from them all day if you have even a night audition. Lots of water and nonabrasive foods are good to have. Sugar also will coat the throat like milk - so no pop! If you have an early morning audition, your voice should be awake at least 3 hrs. before singing. Guys are at an advantage here, because their voices are low. Every voice is different; this is a general ballpark figure. Most find it much easier to attain range and ease the longer the voice has been awake.
Confidence is key! Even if you sing off pitch a little, your confidence can make up for that in my eyes. .
Be prepared. Usually, you can tell when a student decides the day before to audition. You can tell because the confidence isn't always there or the song will be pitchy in many places. Many times, with practice, comes confidence.
We know you have little butterflies floating in your belly. That's okay. We expect that. But do not allow that to overwhelm you. Lift everything up to the Lord. Lift up the whole audition experience to the Lord, your Maker. The Word says "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
Remember, that the directors are just people. They have a certain vision for the show. Some people fit the vision and are cast. Some people may not and are cut. Cutting students from the show is one of the most difficult choices a Director has to make. We have all been cut from shows ourselves one time or another, so we know how it feels. However, that is theater. Some make it in, some don't. It is not a team sport where every person on the team plays, and the best people play more. It is a realm where there are no absolutes, where 2 + 2 does not equal 4. Theater is very subjective, and is not logical! Many times the best singers do not get lead roles for there are many other elements that are considered.
Here are a few don'ts:
•Don't rock back and forth.
•Don't put hands in pockets, unless it is for a purpose.
•Don't throw things at directors.
•Don't hand things to the directors.
•Don't flirt with any members of the directing team.
•Don't expect to be cast with more than 3 conflicts. Know that every conflict listed brings you closer to being cut. Clear your schedule if possible!"
These are tips from a few of our CYT Directors. We asked them what they look for, and what they think might help students who are auditioning, and these are some of the responses we got for seasoned students:
Pick songs that we don't hear all of the time. Choose from musicals that are not on Broadway right now. You really do not want to be the 8th auditioner singing "Popular."
Above all, sing the style of music and range that best suits your voice. Remember - you only have a minute and singing what you sing best is going to be what captures the judges attention to give you a "call back". Bottom line is, you WANT them to remember you! Choose wisely.
Praise music is beautiful. Wonderful. God glorifying. However, it does not always make for good audition material. Steer towards performance material... especially upbeat broadway style music.
Don't sing accapella or over a vocal track. If you cannot find the music you want, pick a different song. (More grace is given towards younger students.)
Getting your voice ready will not happen over night. This takes consistent and diligent practice daily.
•Breathing from the diaphragm/ no chest breathing
•Support the sound
•Keep the back of the throat open and let a smile "play" where the jaw is hinged together
•Think "focus" - in other words, let the sound resonate through the bridge of the nose and cheek bones.
•Clearly enunciate your words (ie. consonants - esp. the beginning and ending) - also, "sing to the vowel" - keep the vowels free and open
•Dynamics - these add flavor or "life" to the song
•Articulation - this means moving easily from note to note without sliding. If a song has runs, it takes much support and control in this area to sing them clearly, otherwise we hear sloppy sounding songs
Always practice singing a little higher or lower than what you think you can this will help you expand your range over time.
Take the time to get the right music in your key. You can purchase GOBS of sheet music and alter it to your key before you download and print at sheetmusicdirect.com. You do need to download a free program named "scorch" to make it happen. You can even test different keys before you buy. When you print the sheet music, it is usually around $5 and then you can find someone to play your favorite 1 minute segment onto a tape or CD.
Attend other CYT auditions. They are very entertaining... but more important... they are educational. What were your favorite auditions to watch? Why? Take notes. Write down names of songs that fit your range.
YOUTH THEATER AUDITION TIPS:
These are tips from a few of our CYT Directors. We asked them what they look for, and what they think might help students who are auditioning, and these are some of the responses we got for callbacks:
Come prepared. Learn the music ahead of time (if possible). Is the musical available on CD or video? Check your local library. Learn whatever music you can.
At callbacks, the students are "on" from the moment they walk through the door. These are other things I notice at callbacks:
•How much a student talks when they shouldn't be?
•Are the students disruptive with talking or laughing?
•How self-controlled are they?
If a child was disruptive at call backs, I would probably not cast them as a lead. What they show me at callbacks could be what I will get at rehearsals.
When you are doing a cold reading, the directors might be asking themselves, "Do they become the character they got called back for? Can they put down the script and become that character?"
Be bold and take risks in reading. Look up at your fellow actors IN THE EYES as you are reading... make it real.... make a moment. We are often looking for a connection or a chemistry. Acting is not about how you sound, but how you react and respond in your part. During readings RESPOND to the other actors while they are reading. Listen for clues from the director for what they are looking for in each part. If you are unsure.... ASK QUESTIONS! i.e. How old is this character? Are you looking for this character to be reserved (or sensitive or boisterous or emotional, etc.)?
Learn and practice dialects so that you can use them in call backs if needed. Directors would rather cast someone who can speak in the required dialect than have to try and teach it later. Try and anticipate what dialects will be used (i.e. Oliver = cockney & English) and be ready.
If you can't hit a particular note - try. It is better then giving up. Before and after, do not walk around with the song sheets to your face in frustration, or say " I can't do it!" You were called back because we thought you could. Show us how right we were! Do your best.
When you are singing... don't forget to be expressive and stay in character. We are looking at more than you hitting the right notes. If you have to drop an octave, or raise an octave to make it happen.... then do it confidently. I've seen many songs adapted for the right performer!
Pay attention! It is not time for talking with friends. You have about 30 minutes to learn and then show us that you can do with whatever we have taught you. Do not give up. Keep going for it. If you blow a move that's okay - do it with confidence - make it look like those around you messed up. Don't roll your eyes or slouch in your posture. Just keep going. Do your best.
If you are asked to "free dance" use some string of choreography that you have used in the past (maybe a show or showcase or a routine you do in your mirror at home) and adapt it to the music.
YOU ARE NEVER NOT AUDITIONING.
This is what we mean.
Put God first. Don't be self-centered. Work hard. Be disciplined. Be encouraging. If you are the troublemaker... or if you are chatty... or there to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.... or if you are difficult to work with in classes, showcase, rehearsals or shows.... future directors will not want to take a chance on you! They simply do not have the energy or patience for it. (Believe me, directors share their experiences with each other!) In auditions, sit quietly and be patient for your chance. Help out. Reset rooms. Thank leadership for their efforts. Thanks directors for any opportunity you are cast in. Those are the kind of actors we are anxious to work with. Also, know this: during casting, directors often ask the Area Coordinator for feedback on a student's past disciplines. What would they say about you?
And... here is our second biggest tip:
DO NOT have tunnel vision for one role. Why lock yourself in? You may be locking yourself out of other parts and end up with nothing. Be flexible in your readings... even if it is for a part you weren't looking to play. It is fun to shoot for a role... but celebrate the gift of participating in any aspect of a production from back stage, to usher, to make-up to townsperson to lead role.