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Moving Up

moving up

From your neighborhood community theater or even high school play, moving into professional or semi-professional theater is a significant step. Semi-professional theater is very similar to professional theater in that they play to large audiences and do full scale productions but their actors are not paid or in a union or guild. The director’s and other performers’ relationships are the primary distinction between professional and community acting. You may probably already be acquainted with the director and several of the actors in community and school theater. In contrast to professionals, where you enter the audition room without any prior acquaintance with the director or casting director, they are therefore unaware of your entire potential. The audition approach differs significantly from that of community and school theater. Let’s discuss things to consider before entering a semi-professional or professional theater audition.


1.The show’s genre and how it suits your background/technique.

Before entering an audition, you may ask for a copy of the show’s script. This will enable you to consider the show’s genre as well as the archetype of the character your auditioning for. I’ll use Beetlejuice from the musical Beetlejuice as an example. Naturally, the character and the program are both comical, so if you lack a strong sense of comedic timing or have never been in a comedy show, you probably shouldn’t apply to play Beetlejuice.

2. Are you emotionally connected to the show/character?

Again using Beetlejuice as an example, the fact that it is a beloved movie and that viewers can relate to the characters will give you an advantage in the audition room because you will be familiar with the themes and history of the show’s characters. 

3.What kind of material should you choose?

This relates to the genre of the show and your performance style. A humorous song with a darker tone might be appropriate for the Beetlejuice show and character, but you must consider both your vocal range and that of the character. He is a tenor, therefore it’s important to choose a song that showcases that range and mix it with a humorous tune that uses comic timing correctly. Remember that the director has not seen you in previous works, such as at a community theater, therefore you must demonstrate what you bring to the table. 

4.Are you prepared?

Your level of confidence will help you stand out from other candidates. How would you hold the stage and captivate the crowd like Beetlejuice if you are timid and shy? Know your material, the themes, goals, and intricacies of the production and the character. This also means that you should warm up and be prepared to go before the audition. 

5.Realize you’re not the only person there.

Always show respect for those who are auditioning as well as the director. Also keep in mind that they only have so much time to see many auditions. You might make a mistake, but mistakes can happen. Don’t break character or apologize; just carry on as best you can.

6.Act like it is a normal show. 

Behave toward your directors as you would any audience. People in the audience dislike being singled out and yelled at. Looking just above the audience’s heads is a typical trick. Likewise for the directors who don’t want to hear yelling directed at them. 

7.It is OK to be nervous.

Before performing, everyone experiences some butterflies, even performers in the industry. Just keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the part or do poorly; there are always fresh opportunities and everything happens for a reason. 

8.“Tell me about yourself”?

The director may ask you to talk about yourself in the audition room because they don’t know you personally and will have to spend 7 to 10 weeks with you. Even if you are the best actor in the world, if you are unkind and disrespectful, casting directors won’t want to work with you.

9.Double check everything.

A poor first impression is easily created by being late. Check the date, time, place, and any possible documents (such as a resume, headshots, etc.) twice. There’s a danger you’ll lose your audition time if your appointment runs over.

10.Have Fun!

Although acting and being in a play should be enjoyable, auditions are stressful. Even if you are cast, you have the right to politely decline the job if you go to the audition and feel that you won’t like being a part of the program. You cannot be forced to do anything you don’t want to. 


Overall, auditions are a complicated and nerve-wracking event, but there are ways to be ready and prepared to help as much as possible soothe those nerves. 


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