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  • Writer's pictureTracy Jordan

We are delighted to announce the return of Josh Young to the master faculty of College Audition Prep Weekend this Aug. 3-7. As program coordinator for the musical theatre program at Oakland University, Josh brings his extensive Broadway experience to our CAPW students to help them prepare for their college auditions. Check out his video message and stay tuned for more upcoming announcements! For more info or to register visit

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  • Writer's pictureTracy Jordan

Here's a great article for young performers on how to prepare their character and material for auditioning courtesy of the New Mexico High School Musical Theatre Awards, The Enchantment Awards...

3/19/2020 Working on a monologue or a solo song? Add this to your consideration as you prepare it. Where was your character just before he started speaking or singing? What has she told us she wants? With his very first words, what is he trying to achieve? What does he want in the very next minute? Who is she speaking to in this song or monologue? It could be herself, if it’s like “In My Own Little Corner” in Cinderella. Know that. You need to know your character’s “moment before” as you prepare your monologue or work out your solo, especially if you’re doing it for an audition and not as part of a full production. The directors and college admissions committee members will all know where your character was before you utter his or her first words. Be sure you know, too, emotionally as well as intellectually. The brightness of the words “Morning glow, morning glow/Starts to glimmer when you know” take on a new dimension when you know that Pippin sings “Morning Glow” just after killing his father. What ripples through him as he sings about a metaphorical brand new day starting with him as king? Elphaba’s world has just been turned upside down when she starts singing “Did that just really happen” in “The Wizard and I” in Wicked. All of a sudden what’s made her different all her life is not a curse but a blessing. Let your Elphaba explore all the emotions that are driving her as she starts that song. While this helps for auditions, it also helps in performances. The first time we see your character, he or she has a moment before. That character wasn’t just born as the lights came up. Carry that moment before into your very first actions and words. Then, every time your character has been out of the story and re-enters it, you have to know what she’s bringing with her into that scene. What has he been doing — and feeling — just before coming back through the door or flying through the window? Your songs, your monologues, your acting as a whole will be richer when you let the moment before drive your emotional explorations for those beginning words.

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So, you're a high school performer and auditions for college theater programs are still months away, maybe even a year or more. But wouldn't it be nice for college directors to know you and be familiar with your work when you come in the door?

In the "olden days" before social media, whenever I was in a show, I would have post cards printed with my headshot or a character shot on one side, and on the reverse side, info about the show, the venue or tour, the role I was playing, etc. and I would send it to every casting director, talent agent, director, musical director I knew. Basically, anyone I might be auditioning for. That way, even though they might not make it to the show, they would know some of the roles I had played, shows I had done, who I had worked with and where, and that I was working! In radio, they say you have to hear something seven times before it sticks in your head. After a half dozen or more post cards with my cute little mug came across someone's desk, I figured perhaps they're thinking, "gee, this guy is working a lot. Perhaps I better go see him." Or, even better, "you know, he'd be the right type for X in this upcoming show..." Of course, you still have to audition and get hired, but how much better to be a (somewhat) known commodity coming in the door than having that first audition be like a cold call?

In today's world with social media not only do you save a lot on printing costs and postage, it's much easier to get that exposure on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter page. We advise our College Audition Prep Weekend students after they've had an opportunity to meet and work with college directors to first thank them in an email for what they've learned and express an interest in the director's program. Then follow up any time they are in a show at their school, community theater or even better, professional gig with a quick, concise post through their social media or an email including all the information mentioned above. If you happen to have photos of your performance or promo video that features you- post it on your Youtube channel (yes, you should start building one that features vignettes of your work). You can share that link in social media posts as well. One word of caution: don't be a pest. You'll be self-defeating if you are too persistent. Remember the old show biz adage: "Leave 'em wanting more."

As with any business, it is as much about savvy networking as it is talent. You're not just auditioning, you're building relationships, and you never know when a relationship will be helpful. Even if a college director (or casting director) can't use you, they may remember you and suggest you to a colleague who has a need for your type. Remember, directors are looking for talent. They need talented people in their programs. With just a little effort, they will remember you come audition time.

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