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READ ME before you ask for audition help 
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Broadway Legend
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MaryMag's brief guide to acting an audition song with an example.

1) Take the lyrics to your song and write them down.
Don't you know what's out there in the world?
Someone has to shield you from the world.
Stay with me.
Princes wait there in the world it's true.
Princes yes but wolves and humans too.
Stay at home. I am home.
Who out there could love you more than I?
What out there that I cannot supply?
Stay with me.
Stay with me, the world is dark and wild.
Stay a child while you can be a child, with me.


2) Answer these basic questions:
a. Who am I speaking to? Rapunzel, my beautiful child that I've kept locked up and safe from the world
b. What happened immediately before this? What prompted me to sing this song? I discovered that my dear child had been secretly letting a prince into her tower. I am upset that she's so callously, so naievely dismissed my protection.
c. What do I want from this person? I want to convince her that the world is dangerous and that I can protect her
d. What different ways can I get this? (these are also called tactics) I can bully her. I can scare her. I can plead with her. I can guilt trip her. I can make her feel loved. I can appeal to her rational judgment.

3) Use these answers to plan your motivations/determine the subtext of each phrase of the song.
Hint #1: utilizing many different ways of getting what you want will keep your song dynamic; it will keep it constantly changing throughout your audition, instead of remaining at the same level throughout the entire song.
Hint #2: Look at the sheet music. Pay attention to key, pace, and time changes. These are good “change” places, or good places to change your way of getting what you want. For example, on the “stay at home, I am home” phrase, the time and the pace changes. So I switched my tactic from scaring to bullying.
Don't you know what's out there in the world?
My innocent daughter, you can’t understand all the danger out there.(appealing to her rational judgment)
Someone has to shield you from the world.
This is why I keep you safe and locked away.(appealing to her rational judgment)
Stay with me.
Choose me. (appealing to her rational judgment)
Princes wait there in the world it's true.
Yes, there are idiots who’ll say they love you. (scaring her)
Princes yes but wolves and humans too.
There are things that will eat you and rape you. (scaring her)
Stay at home. I am home.
Listen to me when I speak! (scaring her)
Who out there could love you more than I?
I have a right to your love. (bullying her)
What out there that I cannot supply?
I have given you everything. (bullying her)
Stay with me.
I will force you to stay.
Stay with me, the world is dark and wild.
Please, please don’t hurt yourself. (pleading)
Stay a child while you can be a child, with me.
I just want you to stay innocent. (pleading)

4) Make these choices show as you sing. Differ your tone, facial expressions, and movement to show when you are making a rational appeal, when you are scaring her, when you are bullying her, and when you are just plain pleading. For example, on the “stay at home, I am home” phrase, where I switched my tactic from scaring to bullying, I would transition into a belt. I would crumble back into a softer head voice on the next “stay with me” as I begin pleading with her. Mark these decisions in your phrasing if you like, but some people prefer to just do what comes to them in the moment.

5) Rehearse. Rehearse rehearse rehearse. It is not enough to simply write this stuff down and expect to do it when you get up to audition. Because you probably won’t. You’ll have too many other things to think about in that moment. My rehearsal tip is to video record yourself without the sound. Then show the tape to a friend who does not know what you’re singing, and ask them if they can identify what is happening/what you are trying to get in this song. If they can’t tell, you need to make your tactics more visible or you need to go back and pick more specific, varied tactics. If they can tell, congratulations! You are doing a great job of being expressive and being specific! And specificity is crucial. Generality is the enemy of good acting. If your friend says, “You’re sad in this song,” that’s okay. But if they say, “you seem to be persuading, forcing, and begging a loved one to return,” that’s even better!


This is just my very rough, very basic guide. I could and may add more in the future.


Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:48 am
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Broadway Legend
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bumping it up again cuz i think it's a useful thread! but i started it so i'm baised.


Mon Sep 18, 2006 12:40 pm
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MaryMag wrote:
bumping it up again cuz i think it's a useful thread! but i started it so i'm baised.


I agree.


Sticky?


Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:12 pm
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I also nominate this thread for a sticky!


Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:25 pm
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wait, why have people stopped posting? :? it's such a good thread!!! please keep going, I'm kind of new to this and any insight would be mucho helpful!!!

thanks! :wink:

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Past Roles:
Yente, FotR
Lady Macbeth, Macbeth
Maria, concert of West Side Story music
Lady Larken, OUaM
Upcoming Auditions:
Little Shop
Godspell


Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:38 pm
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What Jazzygirlsings has in her repertoire... and what you should, too!

What is a repertoire book, you may ask? It's the songs you can perform! You generally keep the sheet music in a big binder and bring that binder to auditions with you. Yes, you probably have a song already picked out to sing at your audition, but occasionally casting directors will ask you for a particular kind of song. You can either stutter and stammer and say "uh, I don't have that kind of song" or you can impress the heck out of them by whipping out 2 or 3 options for them to choose! Rep books also make selecting audition songs easier in general. Let's say you're auditioning for Anything Goes - you already have a Porter song in your book! You're set (essentially). I'm not sure how necessary a rep book is for high school and community theater auditions, but at the the higher levels it is quite necessary!

jazzygirlsings wrote:
Usually, what I try to have in my book are the following:

1) Belt/Legit Classic Musical Theatre Uptempo (R&H/L&L/Loesser/etc.)
2) Belt/Legit Classic Musical Theatre Ballad (See composers above)
3) Contemporary Musical Theatre Ballad (Frank Wildhorn, ALW, Flahrety and Ahrens, etc.-but NOT Guettel, Lippa, JRB, Sondheim because it is WAY HARD for pianists to read)
4) Contemporary Musical Theatre Uptempo (See above)
5) A Comedy Song (which could be from any of these categories)
6) A Disney Song
7) Country Song
8 ) Pop Song
9) Rock Song
10) A Patter Song
11) A 40's Song (Swing, War Songs, Etc.)
12) An Art Song/Operetta Song
13) An Opera Song in a different language

A Song from Each of these composers:
14) A Cole Porter Song
15) A Gershwin Song
16)A Sondheim Song (Only to be used either when auditioning or a Sondheim show or at the request of the producers)


I'm sure I forgot something, but that's generally what I have in my book...


Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:19 pm
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Another thing that I do with my binder is...

I make sure that my music is in three ring binder sheet protectors (non-glare) and I make sure that (at the VERY least) my 16-32 bar cuts are not on a page turn for the pianist if I can help it.

(Now this is my big secret that all my friends have copied and now I'm noticing EVERYONE does it! LOL!) I put those colored tabs where each of my song cuts are and label them with the song title in alphabetical order. I have had pianists thank me PROFUSELY for that!

It also saves time when they ask you if you have a beltier song and you say, "I have 'No Man Left for Me' " and then the pianist has already flipped to it and gives you a nod...SAVES SO MUCH TIME AND THEY LOVE YOU!!!!


Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:04 am
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Tony Winner
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These "never sing this, never sing that" lists crack me up. When you eliminate half the genre, your nice "obscure" song will suddenly be overdone, too!

:roll:


Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:32 am
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LMAO! SO TRUE!

And then what's "overdone" suddenly becomes "obscure!"...

Those lists are CONSTANTLY changing!

I used to sing "Home" from Maury Yeston's "Phantom", but now it's WAY TOO overdone! I used to have pianists say, "What is that song? It's great!"


Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:45 am
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opheliarose wrote:
These "never sing this, never sing that" lists crack me up. When you eliminate half the genre, your nice "obscure" song will suddenly be overdone, too!

:roll:


Well, maybe we should look at the lists as "don't-necessarily-NEVER-sing-this-but-you-really-shouldn't-unless-you-can-do-it-better-than-God-cuz-40-other-people-will-be-singing-it-and-unless-you-make-it-great-or-interpret-it-in-a-way-they've-never-seen-before-you-will-go-unnoticed-or-worse-you-will-irritate-the-casting-directors" lists.

I think we could actually shorten these lists quite a bit. I think there are probably about 10 songs and 10 shows you should stay away from. But another thing these long lists are good for is forcing people to do a little more research on their audition songs. 1) Singing an overdone song does make you look a little amateur, I believe. If you sing Phantom, CD's may think you only know the popular blockbusters that everyone knows. 2) From what I've seen, people who sing from the 'overdone' list just sang the song cuz they knew it, not because it was appropriate for the part they were auditioning for. For example, my friend sang "Wizard and I" when auditioning for the Baker's Wife in ITW because she liked the song - not because it was in any way relevant or appropriate for the character.

But singing Wicked for an audition is just a bad idea, in general. While singing Glinda songs is not a horrible idea for perky ingenue roles, singing Elphaba songs is almost always a horrible idea. How many roles are there for super ass high belters? (Outside of roles Idina has created?) Here comes a rant... look out... and this is what is vocally distinctive about Elphaba songs. Why in the world would you sing Defying Gravity if you're not going to belt it? It's like singing Anything Goes in head voice or like transposing Ol' Man River into soprano range. Not belting it is taking away a big part of what makes it distinctive. But goodness sakes, PLEASE everyone do not belt this song - do not sing this song! My voice teacher's friend on the East coast is currently doing Idina's vocal therapy to repair her voice. The average person is not meant to belt that song. But the song has become so famous for this high belt that I don't think it should be done unless the high belt can be used.

My two... no more like five... cents on overused songs, particularly Wicked songs.


Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:48 pm
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The thing is, some of the songs on those lists I've never even heard of! My trick is to get books of collections of songs (rather than songs just from one show) and then in there I can guarantee there will be songs from unbelieveably obscure shows. Like once, I got this really great up-tempo for a legit soprano from a show that hasn't been on Broadway in about forty years. Definitely not overused! :wink:

But it is funny how those lists are always changing. Two years ago, I sang the song "Memory" from Cats at an audition. People knew the song, of course, but because it was a community theater people didn't sing it much...thinking it was too overdone! In the end I got the lead! So don't set too too much stock by these lists. Just use common sense!

_________________
Past Roles:
Yente, FotR
Lady Macbeth, Macbeth
Maria, concert of West Side Story music
Lady Larken, OUaM
Upcoming Auditions:
Little Shop
Godspell


Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:17 pm
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Bumping this because it's very useful!


Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:42 pm
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