Audition Advice

So far I am succeeding in filling my life with theatre, which is awesome.   I have been cast in a play — a one act that is slated to go to a local community theatre festival.  And my character has a name!  With lines!  AND (spoiler) a death scene!  I start rehearsals for that next week.  Tonight I am going to go see Book of Mormon (stay tuned for a review!) and tomorrow night I’m going to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch live, which should be pretty fricken amazing.  I had an audition last Sunday, I have another one tomorrow, and a third next week.

I know that I’ve had a good audition when I black out.  Let me explain.  When I have a bad audition, I remember every painstakingly awful detail.  How all of a sudden I notice that I smell like cat food.  That my right heel clicks louder than my left.  That I choked on that note that I could hit FINE in the stupid bathroom, yet, maddeningly, managed to hit the high note (why is this?!).  That I laughed too loud at the music director’s REALLY stupid joke.  That I wasn’t friendly enough to the person checking me in who turned out to be the director’s boyfriend/girlfriend/sexual partner.

When I have a good audition,  I don’t remember a thing.  Maybe because I feel so good about it that my brain decides to move on and not let me dwell?  It’s a weird selective memory.  I don’t remember any of the awesome parts in detail, just the general feeling of not being a screw-up.  Last Sunday, I had a good audition.  I felt confident, I felt prepared.   The first song I sang was “Heartbreaker,” and I killed it.  I even got a “wow” out of them.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a pity wow, but I honestly don’t remember it well enough to replay it in my head.  Which signals to me that it was a good “wow” (I swear, it was real, they were impressed, they loved it, don’ttakethatfrommedagnabbit).

But the second song I chose was a cut from “Climbing Uphill” from The Last 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown.

Let me say this.  I remember two things about the audition vividly.  The first is that I couldn’t find the damn door on the way out (it was a black door with no door jamb flush against the black theater wall, okay??)  And the other is that the pianist said that I would have to bribe her with a bottle of wine next time I brought in a song by JRB.

Which brings me to the titular phrase of this post, my advice for all you auditionees:

Never do a Jason Robert Brown piece at an audition.

Just don’t.

For those that don’t know, Jason Robert Brown is a musical composer renown for writing really awesome music, but also music that is impossible to play.  I used to put the caveat of “unless he’s there to play it,” but I’m going to backtrack on that.  I’m convinced that not even he could play his own music under pressure.

I know you sound awesome singing it.  I know it was secretly written for you.  I know that you’ve planned to sing it for three weeks and the audition is tomorrow and so it would be imprudent to change the song.  I just don’t care.  Change it to “My White Knight.”

Actually don’t, that’s a really stupid song.

But just don’t do a Jason Robert Brown song.

Despite all that, I still say it was a good audition, even though I didn’t get a callback.  I feel like I gave them something to think about, which is important.  Even if the next time I audition, they think, “Oh yeah, that’s the girl who stumped our piano player and couldn’t find the door.  But I’m pretty sure we wowed at her ‘Heartbreaker,’ though.”

And that is my PSA for the week, folks.  Audition tomorrow!  Singing “Gorgeous” from The Apple Tree and “If He Really Knew Me” from They’re Playing Our Song.  Neither are by Jason Robert Brown.

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