Auditioning can be scary. We know - especially if you haven't performed since high school! But honestly, our directors, musical directors, and choreographers will go out of their way to make the process as painless as possible for you. We know how much fun you will have if you are cast in one of our shows.
Don't let stage fright stop you from attending tryouts! We really try to cast as many people as we possibly can. This is a crucial part of our mission, as we believe developing theatrical skills is important, and those skills can be honed as actors participate in dramas, comedies, or musicals.
You do not have to be a great singer, dancer, or actor to be in a Stampede Troupe show. There are often non-singing or non-dancing roles in musicals or times when we need really good dancers that don't need to act - of course, there is no singing or dancing in a play so there is truly a place for everyone!
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Is there a video of the play or musical? Rent it, and watch it. Are there clips on Youtube? Check them out! Google the play for the history, the plot summary, and the cast of characters. If it's based on a true story (like "The Miracle Worker" or "The King and I"), do a bit of research on the real people and the period in which the play is set. All of this will give you confidence. You will be able to see how you might fit into the production a bit more readily. And seeing clips or a video can help you grasp the story in a meaningful way. And if it is a musical, get hold of the songs (iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube are great for this) and get familiar with them, especially if you want to play a lead.
General Audition Tips
Read the Audition Information
In community theater, the director often writes the announcement personally, based on their specific vision for the show. Everything they include is there for a reason: to help actors craft the most effective audition. That means that the director is telling you exactly what they need. This is valuable information that can help you have a successful musical audition. Whatever you do, do not brush off the audition announcement. If the director requests something from the Golden Age of musicals, don’t come in with something from Hamilton. If they ask you to dress for dancing, don’t wear flip flops. If the audition announcement for Carousel asks for songs in the style of the show, don’t sing something from Rent. When you ignore audition instructions, it does two things: 1) Shows that you can’t follow basic directions (Which probably means you’re a nightmare to direct) 2) Makes it more difficult to consider you for the role you want (After all, someone who can crush “Take Me or Leave Me” might crash and burn on “If I Loved You.”) If you’re uncertain about something, just ask! Directors might seem intimidating, but they’re just people who want the best possible show. They’re almost always happy to answer questions.
Show the Director Something New
Many community theaters use the same directors over and over again. Others “promote from within” by asking regular actors or crew members to direct shows. That means that every new director almost always knows the local actors — including you. Before you audition, take a moment to consider what the director knows about you — then, figure out how to show them something new. Have they seen you act the romantic lead and sing high soprano songs? Come into the audition with a comedic character song. Has she only seen you do sidekick roles? Prepare a stunning ballad that shows off your high range and your gorgeous voice. At a loss for what to show? That leads me to the next tip…
Ask the Director What They Need to See
If you’re not sure what the director needs to see from you, just ask! Send a brief email that says, “Hi! I see you’re directing the next show! I’m auditioning for Character A — is there anything specific that you need to see from me in order to consider me for the role?” This is useful in all cases, but crucial if A) You want to branch out from your “usual” type of role, or B) You’re auditioning for your first principal role. Contacting the director does two things in your favor: 1) It gets the director to imagine you in the role. As a result, they'll probably pay closer attention during your audition. 2) It gives you a competitive edge. Personal advice from the director is like a free audition coaching session; it lets you know exactly what you need to prepare. Keep in mind, not every director will do this, but as long as you’re respectful, it can’t hurt to ask. Auditions are hard, so many directors jump at the chance to help actors give a more effective audition. It makes their job easier, so they can find the best possible cast.
Don’t assume that the audition results are a reflection of your talent
In most musicals, there are two leading roles, two or three major supporting roles, a few minor roles, and a chorus. If a director gets 10 fantastic women, only one can get the lead. That does NOT diminish the talent of those other nine women! Two important things for actors to understand about casting: It’s not objective. You know how they always say that when you meet the right person, you just know? It’s the same with casting. In many cases, the director makes a decision based on a gut feeling — not a rational or practical assessment. Sometimes, it is entirely practical. In some situations, the director has to work within practical limitations, regardless of how they feel or what they want. In community theater, this usually happens because not enough people turn out for a specific role. If there’s only one guy who can hit the leading man’s notes, the director has no choice but to cast him. That decision affects other casting choices. If you’re significantly older, or if your voice is too different for a vocal match, or if you don’t have chemistry, you’re probably not getting the leading-lady role — even if you’re the best singer and actor in town. What does that mean for you? Sometimes, a less-talented singer or actor is going to get a bigger part. And that has nothing to do with you or your talent. The best part? You have absolutely no control over either of these situations, so you can relax! Instead of spending your energy worrying, focus on preparing a killer song and developing your own unique take on the character.
Keep your clothing nice, but simple. Some of the most important audition tips for musicals include details about appearance. Women should probably wear a nice skirt that allows for easy dancing. Men can wear casual dress pants. Keep your hair off of your face and wear minimal jewelry. Although you might be tempted to put on a lot of make-up because that’s what you do during a real performance, auditioners should keep make-up minimal as well. Also, make sure to wear the exact same outfit if you make the call-back. This will help the director remember you from your first performance.
MUSICAL AUDITIONS - Song Choice
Always choose a song that showcases your individual strengths as a singer. If you have a terrific vocal range, choose a song with a large range. If you can hold notes for long periods of time, make a choice that showcases that talent. Since your voice is auditioning for the part, make sure any song you choose has little to no instrumental introduction. You want to sing for as long as you can in front of the judges and sometimes they have time restrictions. Sometimes audition tips for musicals don’t have to include a section about song choice because the directors require a list of certain songs. Others, however, let the performer pick their own songs. Never choose a song from the auditioning musical. Instead, choose a song from a musical similar in style.
MUSICAL AUDITIONS - Prepare an Extra Song
When you come for your audition it is helpful to have additional songs ready. It is possible that the director may ask you to perform more music if they are having trouble deciding. So don’t only really practice one piece. Make sure you are comfortable with at least one extra piece when going in for the audition if only to make you feel more confident. If you have an audition book bring it!
Go With The Flow
As an actor, you’re well aware that a show is a huge time commitment. Take that time and multiply it by five — that’s how much time a director spends on a community theater show. Blocking, planning for rehearsals, managing schedules, working with the crew, promoting the show, finding volunteers, marketing…the list goes on and on. They probably also have a full-time job, so all of their “free” time will be spent with the cast and crew. What does that mean for you? The director is looking for more than talent. They are also looking to see if you have a good attitude, can laugh at yourself, are flexible enough to roll with unexpected changes, are respectful and welcoming toward other actors, and are willing to put in the time and effort for a successful production.