Preparation for Auditions
From the Director of MAMMA MIA!: Judy Johnston
The most frequent question concerns whether or not this show will include children. The Broadway production did not have children in the cast but I have decided that we will be able to include 6 youngsters below the age of 12 as part of the village families assisting with wedding preparations. They will be involved in a few musical numbers. Teens are welcome to audition for members of the wedding party. This show includes a lot of athletic movement and we urge anyone with gymnastic talents to audition and receive some featured moments!
HOW CASTING IS DECIDED
A committee composed of the Director, Producer, Conductor, Vocal Director, Choreographer and Stage Manager rate each participant on a number scale using agreed upon criteria for judging the requirements of each role. Candidates receive an identification number which is the only way the casting committee knows the person being considered. Names are not included on the committee's forms. Following the audition, the committee meets and tallies up the rating scores for each person, who remains anonymous at that point. The auditioners' numbers are organized from high scores to low scores before anyone knows the identity of the person under consideration. The committee is extremely sensitive to not forming opinions based on identity, preferring a completely open review untainted by previous experience. This insures objectivity. For this show, the director will defer to the committee results in the selection of the 4 female leads and the 4 male leads so as to avoid any possibility of favoritism.
AUDITION TIPS FOR LEADING ROLES
The vocal audition is a hurdle that must be overcome if you expect to win a leading role. Since OVOC does only musicals, singing is the most important part of your audition. You may not even be asked to read from the script if you don’t “pass” the vocal portion of auditions. So this advice will focus on preparation of a song. As to length, prepare a 90 second section of a song or at least the chorus and bridge section. An accompanist is provided but you must have sheet music with you if you need accompaniment. The committee prefers that you do NOT sing without accompaniment so if you do not have sheet music, bring a backing track of some kind and a way to play it as you sing. The song does not have to be a selection from Mamma Mia.
Know your song. Memorize the lyrics; know them better than your own name!! Practice your song. There is nothing that will put you in the “maybe” pile faster than to get up and try to sing a song you worked up on the way to the audition.
Prepare a song that fits into the style of the show for which you are auditioning. Your song selection can affect your evaluation. Don’t select a heavy metal song if you seek the part of Cinderella. Your song selection tells us something about you and how serious you are about the show.
Think of the character who is singing the song you choose and act out the song in character. A singing audition is not always just about the quality of your voice. Singing in musical theatre is about the character as well as the voice
Think of what kind of physicality suits the song. We do not expect a choreographed piece and often a lot of movement distracts both you and the listener. It is important, however, to capture the emotional state of mind of the character through physicality… just the way you stand can say a lot.
Don’t apologize or make excuses. We don’t need you to reinforce the fact that you may be unprepared. Just put on a brave front and show us your best. Dropping in and out of character to giggle and apologize does not serve you well.
Give it your ALL! Show us what you can do vocally. Open up and belt it out if that is what the song calls for. Show us the comedy of the song by delivering the truth of the moment for that character with 100% commitment. The fact that you try and go for it will give you points.
Nerves can get the better of you if you don’t prepare for it. The better you know the song, the better you can cope with nerves. The more you can immerse yourself into a character and step outside yourself, the easier it will be. Perform in front of your friends, your family, your teacher… the more you put yourself in a position of being heard, the easier it will be.
This is a competition! If it means a lot to you, put yourself in battle mode! And remember that there are a lot of things that go into the decision of who to cast. More than once, I have not cast the person who gives the best audition in the role he/she wanted. He might have delivered an excellent audition for the lead in Phantom of the Opera but we might decide that even though it was the most technically perfect voice, we want someone who can deliver a song more like Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. It doesn’t mean that this guy didn’t give a wonderful audition; it only means he was not what we were looking for.
Most importantly, don’t let disappointment lead you to believe you will never win the role of your dreams. For the fellow who wasn’t a Henry Higgins type, we might just do Phantom next year and voila!
How you prepare for auditions also tells us something about how you will prepare for the show, your commitment to rehearsals and applying yourself to preparation. Once (in another town) I had an actress who was a lead in the previous show come to an audition unprepared; she got up and said “you know what I can do” and sang Happy Birthday and figured that was enough. She was not cast. You are being judged on what you present now, not what has come before. Your competition is with those at this audition, not any other time or place. We want the best cast possible and our decisions will be based on where you are as a performer right now.
Remember, we want you to succeed; we are rooting for you! Nothing about this process is harder than disappointing you. At least if you don’t win the role you want, if you have given it your all, you have had the experience of a strong audition and you can be proud of that.
AUDITION TIPS FOR CHORUS ROLES
Don’t underestimate the importance of the backup singers and dancers! I focus more on casting the perfect chorus than I do on casting leads!! I will have lots of time with leads but less with chorus to help develop their unique characters. I will be seeking assured singers who can handle harmony, who can project personality and energy on stage and who see the joy of the collaborative process of chorus parts.
Every chorus member will have a part to play and a character to create. In this show, the chorus does not just stand in the background oohing and aahing. Each person is essential to the story and each chorus member will have great moments to shine.
Show us not only your vocal abilities in your audition but also your ability to prepare, your energy and verve and all the FUN you can bring to the process.
AUDITION CALL BACKS
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 6:00 PM OKANOGAN HIGH SCHOOL.