Let’s talk about auditions. There are so many approaches taught and discussed. Everyone’s opinion is valid, as it is offered from a place of truth from personal experience. Let me go on a bit here about how I see it, giving you my honest best. No matter where you are in your career or what kind of agent representation you may have, I would like to suggest actors go to the Equity Principal Auditions or the Equity Chorus Calls. If you are a non-union actor, no worries. We will see you. The Paramount Staff makes an effort to see all actors that show up for principal calls, and non-Equity singers and dancers are seen at the ECC’s in appropriate groups. We do not post these audition calls as screenings. The artistic director, director, choreographer and assistants for each production are in attendance and there for you. These auditions are where you make your entry into the play. And I mean that. Every auditionee plays into our process of development. Your presence confirms in one way or another how we are going to go with the casting of any given role. Any ideas from pre-production are reinforced or changed or let go during this process as we see the terrain of the play informed by the presence of the actor.
“My thing” as a director and artistic director is that there are no types perfect for any role. It’s a clean slate, a blank canvas, and you fill it up with your preparation and your Self. This is what I mean by Self. Acting is a profession. This is a contrast to amateur which defines someone who does something they “love” to do (like a hobby). A profession is a belief. As I see it, when you audition as a professional, you are representing your beliefs, your passion and practice in defining what it is you believe in as an artist. You profess it. Acting is a practice. Singing is a practice. Dancing is a practice. A daily practice. You train and study and apply your practice every day to your life and the world around you. You are richer for your art. You are special. You are an artist. I do not know anything about acting being a business. I do not believe I have ever been cast because I was a good businessman. Show up ready. Prepared. Your preparation is not a waste of time because you don’t get the part. You create a life, a part of your Self to bring into the audition, that lives in that space in that moment. An excellent practice. It’s an art. You know all the requirements: knowing the genre of music, required number of bars and selections, being ready to sing more if you’re asked, headshot and resumes, dress sensibly, know the show, if an original show, know the material with which you are auditioning.
Let’s get back to this “Self” thing. Ask a lot of your Self. What this song and scene and character mean to you…do to you. Permit it to play you. Do not play into any predeterminations, expectations of the role. Take your time to invest your Self in the part. It has to be true to you. Or it will be stock. Standard. Cliched. Stereotyped. When you find yourself in a role, it brings the role to life. When you play what you think others want to see in the role…not so much. Do not try so hard, to push and package yourself. Be here confident. You’ve practiced thoughtfully, thoroughly. Take all the technique you may have acquired by practicing and let it serve your purpose to bring your Self to this song. All those lessons. All those hours of practicing now live in this moment, in your presence, in your creation.
Now I realize there are many circumstances which make getting an appointment necessary. My point is not to wait to be called. If you can at all make it happen, get to these initial auditions. This is the beginning of the casting process for us at Paramount. We are excited about the creative process. Be there at the start. And after that let the chips fall where there may. Yes, it’s a gamble. But putting yourself into it, finding yourself in the role, is a reward in itself, a lesson in your practice that will mean more to you and be more valuable to your future whether you get the part or not. The more you give, the more you get. In those few minutes, show us what you’ve got, what you think, what you’ve found. Bring it. Without direction from us. Without coaching from us. A few minutes to be YOU. To show us who you are. What you profess. When honest, all it takes is a few minutes. Acting is not pretending. As actors we are trying to get to the truth. The truth of why the author sat down to write this story and the truth of the character. The truth within YOU. And don’t wait! Show up ready! CLICK HERE for Audition Info.
A shout out to the astounding achievement that is Paramount’s LES MISERABLES! Every performance is fuller and richer. Individuals approach me to tell me how much more they get out of it every time they see it. Yes, dear reader, there are those seeing it multiple times. An out of town couple stayed to see the second show after the Sunday Matinee. They couldn’t leave. This cast and crew are rewarding this audience with the theatrical experience of a lifetime here in Downtown Aurora! They are putting themselves into it! I hope I see you there soon!
My love & thanks,