8 Audition Tips From Someone Who Has Never Auditioned

I might be the least qualified person to give any kind of tips about the Muni audition process. My time on stage started and ended on the Jacksonville High School stage after my show stopping performances as The Steward in Anything Goes (“All ashore who’s going ashore! All ashore who’s going ashore!” might be my least favorite line ever written and still haunts me to this day – thanks for nothing, Cole Porter) and as  Pete/Slim/Tex/Buster/Hank/Tom aka one of the Canadian Mounties aka one nameless member of the men’s ensemble in Little Mary Sunshine.

As far as the Muni is concerned, I’ve been hovering around it as Theater Boyfriend/Fiancé/Husband to Craig Williams II since Summer 2012. Last summer, I took on my first staff position as Production Coordinator in Legally Blonde (I’m also Production Coordinator for Evita this summer and, y’all, don’t cry for us because our merch is gonna be fierce #EvitaSwag). Just a few weeks ago, I finished up assistant directing The Last 5 Years at The Hoogland Center for the Arts. What have I not done through these roles? Watched auditions or cast anyone in a single show. So, while I suppose I’m part of this Muni family… I ain’t got a clue about auditioning.

But lucky for both of us (‘cause this post would’ve ended at that gif otherwise), I do have a clue about eavesdropping on people who do know a thing or two about auditions. I’ve also imagined my own anxiety-ridden imaginary audition every year, so I’ve seen literally every possible and unrealistic contingency. So obviously, take all my nosey sage advice, you little eager beaver, you!

Before auditioning, have a few practice auditions with people who will give you real feedback.

Don’t seek out people who are going to tell you how great you are. Find your most critical friend or mentor to try your audition material on and set the expectation that you want raw, unfiltered feedback – it’s better to get it before you’re standing in front of a panel of people who will be deciding whether or not to cast you. When you get the feedback, don’t take it personally – use it to make your audition better. If possible, seek out someone who has experience in auditioning or casting at the Muni.

Have a lifeline on standby for a call or text.

Auditioning is such a vulnerable thing to do. You’re standing in front of a panel of people you may or may not know super well and asking them to see you as part of the vision they have for the story they want to tell. As a result, you may feel a little anxious throughout the process. Ask a friend (or Mom or Dad) to be on standby if you need to text or call someone to get you pumped up.

Everyone around you has the same stakes.

Remember that everyone is there to audition – no one has been cast yet. You’re all in the same boat. If you have a moment, use it to encourage those around you. It’ll make you and the other person feel at ease and better about the entire process.

Bond with your fellow auditionees.

You may not have a ton of down time, but when you have a few minutes, bond with the people around you. Avoid the tendency to scroll through social media or otherwise disengage from those around you. Take a few minutes to get to know the people you might be spending a significant portion of your summer with.

Be upfront about your conflicts.

Don’t conceal scheduling conflicts you might have. Going on vacation the week before tech week? Involved in another show in town during rehearsals? Won’t be in town for the actual show? Tell the staff any and all conflicts. While some conflicts are deal breakers (like not being in town for the actual show), so many conflicts can be worked around. But the only way the staff can work with your schedule is if they know about your conflicts, so disclose away!

This isn’t American Idol (oh good grief, I am dating myself) – there is no Simon Cowell at the table.

Every single staff member watching your audition is hoping you are going to fill a need – no one is sitting their hoping you’ll fail. If you don’t audition well, that’s one less option they have for their cast. The entire staff is on your side and rooting for you. They want to cast you! Don’t forget that and let your nerves get the better of you.

There are no small roles…

Listen, it’s a cliche for a reason. Be open to various types of roles. Don’t limit yourself to “big” or “small” roles. Every single cast and staff member is an important part of telling the story of their show. Even in a low profile role or part, you will learn so much just by taking it all in… which can only help in your future theater endeavors.

Even if you don’t get cast in a show…

Don’t panic! You got this. But if you don’t get cast, remember that there is so much to do at the Muni. Work backstage, volunteer at the site, involve yourself however you can. So much work goes into the Muni magic every summer, and only some of that magic happens on the stage.

What do you think of these tips? If you’re a veteran Muniac, what tips would you add? Let us know in the comments!

J. Ryan Blesse is a published author, freelance writer, and marketing professional with a passion for storytelling. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s thinking about pizza, yo-yo dieting, traveling almost anywhere with his husband Craig, and/or talking politics with his main feline Grizabella.

All views and opinions expressed on The Muni Moment are those of the guest writers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Springfield Muni Opera.

Muni Audition Workshop Recap

You may have heard Muni held an audition workshop this weekend. Or if you didn’t, you might be panicking, “Shoot! I missed it! How will I ever be prepared to audition?!”

Have no fear! The Muni Moment is here to fill you in on all the important details needed to make your audition magical.

First of all, this is just one of my favorite days of the year. The magical kick off. For many, it’s a reunion of friends, and the excitement in the air is palpable.

The workshop is a fast and furious run down of the Muni audition process, show staff introductions, and it is full of words of encouragement from the staff. Here are some highlights:

Muni board member, Dan Humphries emceed the event and welcomed everyone to the workshop. Muni President, Jim Leach, shared his thanks to everyone for coming out to the event, and noted the importance of volunteering at Muni. Following introductions, each show got a chance to come up and introduce their staff, and share a little bit about their vision for their productions.

Peter Pan:

  • Staff:
    • Director-Elizabeth Cheney
    • Assistant Director-Jacob Deters
    • Vocal Director-Becky Kemp
    • Choreographer-Anna Bussing-Maisenbacher
    • Producer-Julie Herpel
  • The staff noted that this production of Peter Pan is open to any gender playing the roles. Peter may be played by a male or female, and the same goes for lost boys, pirates, etc. Director, Elizabeth Cheney, also reiterated that the role of Peter Pan is a physically demanding role, and that whoever is cast will need to be willing to cut his/her hair come mid-April for promotional footage. Whoever gets the amazing opportunity to portray Peter Pan, we know they will rock that Pixie cut! For auditions, they are asking that performers sing something that showcases their vocal range, but that does not necessarily have to be something from Peter Pan itself.

Evita:

  • Staff
    • Director-Craig Williams II
    • Assistant Director-Courtney Wick
    • Vocal Director-Christie Lazarides
    • Choreographer-Zoey Zara
    • Producer-Mike Rogers
  • Director, Craig Williams II, gave a beautiful synopsis of the life of the influential, Eva Peron, and touched briefly on the other supporting roles that interact with Eva along the way. Williams noted that each character is incredibly dynamic and share important messages with the audience. Evita has not been performed on the Muni stage sing the 1980s, and after today, it is clear this is a show you do not want to miss!

Thoroughly Modern Millie:

  • Staff
    • Director/Choreographer-Morgan Kaplan
    • Director/Choreographer-Andrew Maynerich
    • Assistant Director-Stacy Kolaz
    • Vocal Director-Diane Dietz
    • Apprentice Director-Danny Guttas
    • Producer-Dan Humphries
  • If you’re looking for a upbeat, dance heavy show, Thoroughly Modern Millie is for you! Co-Directors, Morgan Kaplan and Andrew Maynerich, set the tone of the fast pace and high energy of this wonderful show. They noted that this is a dance heavy show, particularly in tapping. A video of the tap audition combination will be posted on the Muni’s Facebook page in the next couple of weeks for those wanting to get a head start on practicing. A change in Muni’s production of Millie is that the role of Mrs. Meers is planned to be cast as a male. The character will have a sweet, “southern belle” accent when in character as Mrs. Meers, but when not around Millie and the other girls, “Mr. Meers” will be a more gruff, Brooklyn persona.

The Wizard of Oz:

  • Staff
    • Director-Anna McFarland
    • Director-Connor McNamara
    • Vocal Director-Sara Baltusevich-Goeckner
    • Choreographer-Casey Tester
    • Producer-Mary Matheny
  • Co-Director, Anna McFarland, addressed the audience along with her partner, Connor, wearing fabulous ruby red Converse shoes. Just by looking at her, you could tell her whole heart is in this show. Both directors shared words of their love for the show, the movie, and celebrated that the movie would be celebrating its 80th anniversary in August when our own Wizard of Oz  will take the stage. The directors noted they will be staying true to the movie, but are planning to keep the ensemble very busy, including using the children cast in other numbers outside of Munchkinland. The WOZ staff has specific songs cuts they are hoping to hear from the four main leads-if interested in one of these roles, see below contact information for collecting sheet music.

It was a wonderful kick off to what is sure to be an incredible season full of wishes and dreams come true. Right now, our wish is for you to come out and audition! Set on a show already? You can email them here for music to prepare for your audition!

Peter Pan: MuniPan2019@gmail.com
Evita: http://bit.ly/2BC3uT7
Thoroughly Modern Millie: MillieMuni2019@gmail.com
The Wizard of Oz: OffToOz.Muni2019@gmail.com

Got your music, and your dream roles picked out? Make a list of conflicts and sign up for an audition slot!
http://themuni.org/apps/default.aspx

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for some great audition tips from a guest-blogger and one of Muni’s most highly regarded volunteers!

See you under the stars,
Lindsey

All views and opinions expressed on The Muni Moment are those of the guest writers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Springfield Muni Opera.

#MyMuniJourney

Hey all you Muniacs! My name is Lindsey Rudd, and I am one of the writers for “The Muni Moment” this year! At least once a month, fellow blogger/vlogger Taylor Brown and I will bring you Muni highlights, audition tips, guest writers and more. This month’s focus: #MyMuniJourney.

#MyMuniJourney actually started back in 1999, when five-year-old me set out to audition for Muni’s production of The Sound of Music (FYI-children’s audition age is now eight!). I don’t remember much from the process other than the staff asking me to sing the “Do, Re, Mi” scale and me having literally no clue what that meant (whoops). I remember quickly searching to find my parents, and realizing quickly that everyone around me was singing along and smiling trying to get me to sing with them. This was my first interaction with one of the most supportive groups of people I have ever met. I didn’t get cast that year (#tonedeaf), but I had definitely caught the theater bug. Fast forward four years, and I was a nine-year-old who could actually carry a bit of a tune at this point. I landed my first role as the Munchkin Barrister (practically the lead!) in Muni’s 2003 production of The Wizard of Oz. From that moment on, Muni became a family affair. My dad, brother and I all enjoyed time on stage, while my mom enjoyed the behind-the-scenes action and eventually became the queen of the concession stand.

Some of my favorite shows and roles I’ve had include:

The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music – My first two Muni shows, both of which I shared on the stage with my dad (love you Captain Von Trapp!). During these shows I met my beloved voice teachers, Leigh Ann and Judy, (I attribute getting cast in shows the years following entirely to them and their training – they took me a LONG way from the five-year-old who didn’t know what “Do, Re, Mi” was). I also had a brief encounter with my future-husband, cast as a Nazi youth (you’ll see in a bit, I clearly have a thing for the bad boys).

Little Shop of Horrors and AnnieTwo more shows I did with my dad (allllllll the bonding time), but even better was getting to meet some great ladies and strengthen friendships with some I already knew. Plus, check out the awesome wigs I wore!

Trio member, or Dora the Explorer? You decide. Also, I met some of the greatest friends ever during this show. I’m so grateful for the lifelong friendships Muni builds.

All Shook Up, Hairspray and High School Musical Hands down the most fun, high-energy, eight week cardio programs I have ever completed.

I’m not kidding when I say it was a cardio program. I think I lost 20 lbs that summer. #werk

White Christmas – I was about seven months pregnant, wearing a wig, Christmas sweater, and a Santa hat in 100+ degree weather. What’s not to love?! If you didn’t get to see this sight, I’m truly sorry you missed out on such a treat.

Not picturedmy large and in charge baby bump.

Legally Blonde – Holy cow, what a show! I may be biased, but “Omigod You Guys it was SO GOOD. The staff was hands down my favorite staff I’ve ever worked with, the cast was stellar, and I played the evil Vivienne Kensington, and I am certain no typecasting involved.

Go best friend! (That’s my best friend!)

Peter PanI’ve done the show twice. The first time I played a warrior girl and met the girl who has been my best friend ever since; the Elle Woods to my Vivienne, if you will ;-). The second time around, I played Wendy, got to fly under the stars and got engaged to the love of my life, the most handsome of the swashbuckling pirates (#badboy), during one of our rehearsals.

Love this lady to Neverland and back.
Wendy and her pirate lived happily ever after…

Okay… that may have been every Muni show I have ever performed in, but how could I leave a single one out?! They are all special in some way. Also special shout out to shows I worked crew on, Oliver and Big River.  I had just as much fun behind the scenes, so if you’re thinking you want to get involved but the stage isn’t for you, there are many opportunities beyond performing. More info? Visit http://themuni.org/Volunteer.aspx

#MyMuniJourney has been a blast so far. As we head into our 2019 season, two of my favorite shows I have ever done are being performed again. This time around, I have two wonderful children to share the magic with. My #wish this year is that they see the same magic I saw in these shows.

Muni’s Wizard of Oz Dorothy and Lion coming Summer 2034!

Please, share your journey. If you’ve had many years with us under the stars or are just contemplating auditioning this year, your journey starts somewhere! When you comment, use #MyMuniJourney, we will post some of our favorite journeys that you share with us in future posts!

See you under the stars,

Lindsey

All views and opinions expressed on The Muni Moment are those of the guest writers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Springfield Muni Opera.