Preparing for College Auditions

by Ginger Morris

College audi­tion sea­son is well under­way but we’ve noticed a lot of young per­form­ers still com­ing to us with some basic ques­tions. Here are some of our basic hints:

Know yourself!

Do not choose a school based sole­ly on rep­u­ta­tion. Choose a school based on a real­is­tic exam­i­na­tion of your strengths. Each school has a focus. Look for pro­grams that will be inter­est­ing to you. Be real­is­tic about your capa­bil­i­ties, but be con­fi­dent about your craft.

Prepare yourself

Get plen­ty of rest before your aud­tion. Stay hydrat­ed. Warm up phys­i­cal­ly and vocal­ly. Not only will no one else be respon­si­ble for that, you are the only per­son who knows what you need. Show up ear­ly!

Choose the right material

Easy to say, hard to do. First steps, make sure you are prepar­ing for the require­ments of each indi­vid­ual audi­tions. Some schools want clas­si­cal, some want con­tem­po­rary. Remember, show your tal­ent AND poten­tial.

Prepare your material

Never walk into an audi­tion with a piece you just learned — know the song or mono­logue inside and out. Be sure you have read the whole play or musi­cal so that you may con­fi­dent­ly answer ques­tions regard­ing your mate­r­i­al. If you are doing a cut, you must know the entire song. Finally, You MUST rehearse your songs with an accom­pa­nist and your sheet music must be clean, marked and ready-to-go.

Be prepared for redirects

The audi­tion­ers may redi­rect your piece by ask­ing you to do it again only fol­low­ing their direc­tions. They may ask you to per­form it as your favorite ani­mal or just ask you to sing the song with less move­ment. You can­not be pre­pared for any­thing they ask, but you can be pre­pared to lis­ten close­ly to their instruc​tions​.Be hon­est and gen­uine and do as they ask. Make the adjust­ments that they request.

Start early!

It is nev­er too ear­ly to start get­ting ready for col­lege audi­tions. High school Juniors are in a pre­fect place to start get­ting their songs and mono­logues togeth­er. TAP offers an awe­some Advanced pro­gram, geared toward stu­dent prepar­ing for col­lege and col­lege audi­tions. Admission is by audi­tion only and is made specif­i­cal­ly for advanced stu­dents.

Win This Thing: The Musical Theatre History Map

We’ve got a spe­cial treat for you guys: we’re going to give away some of John Howrey’s Musical Theatre History Maps!!

Here’s the sit­u­a­tion…

For previous campers

Sign up two of your friends (and your­self, of course!) for TAP Camp this year, and we’ll send you one of these maps. This only applies to sign-ups from March 9, 2011 through April 22, 2011.

Your friend must put your name into the “How Did You Hear About Us” sec­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion form to be con­sid­ered. But they can sign up for any camp/​major — it doesn’t have to be the same one that you signed up for.

For teachers

Get one of your stu­dents to sign up for TAP Camp this year, and we’ll send you one of these maps. This only applies to sign-ups from March 9, 2011 through April 22, 2011.

Your stu­dent must put your name and school into the “How Did You Hear About Us” sec­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion form to be con­sid­ered.

Further ques­tions? Let us know via the com­ments or here.

Learn more about the Musical Theatre History Map here.

Theatre Code of Ethics

We use this all the time and thought we’d share it. Don’t be sur­prised if you see this at TAP camp this sum­mer!

Special thanks to the orig­i­nal writer of this!

(from the C.W. Post/​Long Island University Department of Theatre and Film Handbook for Theatre Students, pg. 33)

Part of the great tra­di­tion of the the­atre is a code of ethics which belongs to every work­er on the legit­i­mate stage. This code, while tac­it, has been observed through­out the cen­turies and will con­tin­ue long after us. It is nei­ther super­sti­tion, nor dog­ma, nor a statute enforced by law. It is an atti­tude towards crafts­man­ship, a respect for asso­ciates, and a ded­i­ca­tion toward the audi­ence. This code out­lines a self-dis­ci­pline which, far from rob­bing one of indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, increas­es per­son­al esteem and dig­ni­ty through coöper­a­tion and com­mon pur­pose. The result is per­fec­tion which encom­pass­es all that is meant by “Good Theatre.”

  • The Show Must Go On! I will nev­er miss a per­for­mance.
  • I shall play every per­for­mance to the best of my abil­i­ty, regard­less of how small my role or large my per­son­al prob­lems.
  • I will respect my audi­ence regard­less of size or sta­tion.
  • I shall nev­er miss an entrance or cause a cur­tain to be late by my fail­ure to be ready.
  • I shall forego all social activ­i­ties, which inter­fere with rehearsals and will always be on time.
  • I shall nev­er leave the the­atre build­ing or stage area until I have com­plet­ed my per­for­mance.
  • I shall remem­ber that my aim is to cre­ate illu­sion, there­fore, I will not destroy that illu­sion by appear­ing in cos­tume and make-up off stage or out­side the the­atre.
  • I will not allow the com­ments of friends, rel­a­tives or crit­ics to change any phase of my work with­out prop­er autho­riza­tion.
  • I will not alter lines, busi­ness, lights, prop­er­ties, set­tings, cos­tumes, or any phase of the pro­duc­tion with­out con­sul­ta­tion with and per­mis­sion from the direc­tor.
  • I shall accept the director’s advice in the spir­it in which it is giv­en for the direc­tor sees the pro­duc­tion as a whole and my role as a por­tion there­of.
  • I shall look upon the pro­duc­tion as a col­lec­tive effort demand­ing my utmost coöper­a­tion, hence I will forego the grat­i­fi­ca­tion of ego for the demands of the play.
  • I will be patient and avoid tem­pera­men­tal out­bursts, for they cre­ate ten­sion and serve no use­ful pur­pose.
  • I shall respect the play and the play­wright, remem­ber­ing that “A work of art is not a work of art until it is fin­ished.”
  • I shall nev­er blame my cowork­ers for my own fail­ure.
  • I will nev­er engage in caus­tic crit­i­cism of anoth­er artist’s work from jeal­ousy or an urge to increase my own pres­tige.
  • I shall inspire the pub­lic to respect me and my craft through gra­cious­ness in accept­ing both praise and con­struc­tive crit­i­cism.
  • I will use stage prop­er­ties and cos­tumes with care, know­ing they are tools of my craft and a vital part of the pro­duc­tion.
  • I will observe back­stage cour­tesy and shall com­port myself in strict com­pli­ance with rules of the the­atre in which I work.
  • I shall nev­er lose my enthu­si­asm for the the­atre because of dis­ap­point­ment or fail­ure for they are the lessons by which I learn.
  • I shall direct my efforts in such a man­ner that when I leave the the­atre, it will stand as a greater insti­tu­tion.

What do you do with a BFA in Theatre?

by Travis Brendle, Stage Manger – Actor’s Equity Association

Mom, Dad…I want to be an actor.” This phrase has stemmed fear and uncer­tain­ty in many a house­hold since the begin­ning of time. Looking into his­to­ry, Actors were con­stant­ly lumped into a social cat­e­go­ry along side gyp­sies, vagrants and thieves. Looking into the present, many con­sid­er a career in the enter­tain­ment indus­try, as one of uncer­tain­ty. Growing up I was always told “Only 10% of actors are work­ing at any giv­en time, and that includes they guy serv­ing your tea.” Many high school stu­dents who are gung ho about being an actor, tech­ni­cal, design­er or stage man­ag­er decide to go to col­lege to get either their BFA (Bachelor Fine Arts) or BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Theatre. After decid­ing to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management, I have learned of many dif­fer­ent things that can be done with a degree in the­atre. Just because one spends four years of col­lege learn­ing how to become an actor, tech­ni­cian or singer, doesn’t mean that each of the skills learned in their col­lege career won’t be an asset to any job that they may apply for. Here are three exam­ples of jobs that many of my friends and col­leagues have, or have had, not uti­liz­ing their BFA in their orig­i­nal intent.

1) Sales: Actors, in their purest form, are sales­men. An actor’s job is to con­vince an audi­ence that they are not only some­one else, but to believe that every­thing they are say­ing is truth. One of my dear­est friends went to a very good col­lege with one of the best BFA Acting pro­grams in the coun­try and is now a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales­woman in the Chicago area. In talk­ing with her, she said that her degree came in handy in a more ways than she could ever imag­ine. In even the most basic of act­ing class­es, she learned the impor­tance of talk­ing clear­ly, using vocal inflec­tion to keep one’s atten­tion, and most impor­tant­ly, look­ing the per­son you are talk­ing to direct­ly in the eye. Since we are in the age of the iPhone and Facebook, many of the up and com­ing gen­er­a­tion does not have the basic con­ver­sa­tion­al skills that are required in the sales. Many actors are being employed by major com­pa­nies to sell there prod­ucts not only in the coun­try, but over­seas. In my opin­ion, actors are more per­son­able, open to change and dif­fer­ent cul­tures than their many of their busi­ness school coun­ter­parts. Many large com­pa­nies are employ­ing union actors to work in their over­seas offices, where the impor­tance of a good con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist is so impor­tant to ensur­ing the sale.

2) Teaching: The most com­pelling teach­ers are actors. If you think back to your favorite class­es in school, the root cause of that love is not nec­es­sar­i­ly because of the sub­ject, but often because of the edu­ca­tor lead­ing the con­ver­sa­tions. The best English teach­ers make the work of Dickinson, Steinbeck, and Twain jump off the page and come alive. The best his­to­ry teach­ers lead you through the March on Washington, the inva­sion of Normandy Beach and John Glenn’s first lunar step as if you were there. And even that great Math teacher made proofs and algo­rithms make sense by mak­ing them rel­e­vant, often by enter­tain­ing songs, poems or games. Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (the composer/​lyricist team respon­si­ble for SeussicalOnce on This Island, and Ragtime) got their start writ­ing the epic teach­ing tool Schoolhouse Rock. The best teach­ers are inher­ent­ly sto­ry­tellers, whether they were trained in it or not. And hey, the ben­e­fits and time off is pret­ty appeal­ing, isn’t it?

3) Guest Relations: Down to it’s core, guest rela­tions staff deal with (peo­ple) prob­lems. Whether it be a concierge at a major resort, to a guest rela­tions offi­cer at major com­pa­ny, the peo­ple deal­ing with the con­cerns of their cus­tomers have a very hard job to do. With my BFA in Stage Management, I have had a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ty to solve prob­lems. From deal­ing with irate design­ers to work­ing with an actor who needs help mem­o­riz­ing their lines, a stage man­ag­er is the ulti­mate Guest Relations posi­tion. In my col­lege career, I was required to take many com­mu­ni­ca­tions class­es. My inter­per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion class taught me how to not only read people’s body lan­guage, but also how to use my body lan­guage to help com­mu­ni­cate a point. My human resources class taught me how to effec­tive­ly man­age a group of peo­ple with very dif­fer­ent job descrip­tions, while main­tain­ing author­i­ty. My speech class­es taught me how to speak effec­tive­ly, clear­ly and suc­cinct­ly. All of these class­es, and the many more class­es I took in my four years at CCM (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) gave me the skills need­ed to work with any and all peo­ple dur­ing any and all sit­u­a­tions

As seen above, in get­ting a BFA in Theatre a stu­dent is giv­en a wide and var­ied range of skills that will be a great asset in many job fields.

What oth­er jobs could you see a per­son with a BFA in Theatre doing? I can’t wait to hear from you!

The Musical Theatre History Map

by John Howrey

I made this for my Graphic Design Degree Project at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2008. The orig­i­nal prob­lem I set out to solve was to help my stu­dents choose the best musi­cal the­atre audi­tion mate­r­i­al. Rather than come up with a nifty search­able song data­base, I thought that we’d all be bet­ter served by learn­ing more about the his­to­ry of musi­cal the­atre. So much about choos­ing song for an audi­tion is about mak­ing con­nec­tions to oth­er shows.

I’m proud to say that this map has been a huge hit. Prints have sold at auc­tions to ben­e­fit some local the­atres and it was even pub­lished in Frank Jacobs’s Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities. You can buy a print of the map (and some oth­er things) here.