My First College Audition
So I did early admission for CCM (University of Cincinnati), and it was the WORST idea. I thought at the time that I would get it out of the way, and if I got in there then I didn’t have to audition for a bunch more schools and drag my butt around the whole country. I could just audition for the schools and programs that I really wanted to go to and pick the best one for me.
My cousin went to CCM for musical theatre and, and I knew a bunch of people who went there so I thought I was a shew in. I knew I was talented enough, I had the right look, I was prepared and confident.
Did the dance call, and didn’t blow it but definitely didn’t do my best. I wore a dance outfit that was basic black and I didn’t really physically stand out. I gave it my best and got ready for the singing monologue portion. Got my lil red dress on, waited outside the room as they were taking 3 or 4 people to the backstage area. One girl came back in tears with a huge run in her tights freaking out to her mom and stormed out. I was like okay, well, mine won’t be that bad, I don’t even have stockings on. I am not going to come out like that. Wellllll….it was worse.
I get called back there with a couple different people. One girl I knew through a friend so I started talking to her and to one of the kids that went to CCM who was running the audition and I was feeling confident. I walk into the theatre and they are all sitting on the stage and I hand my music to the accompanist, give him the tempos of “Anything Goes” and “Bill” from Showboat. WHYYY WHYYY did I sing “Anything Goes”?! I DO NOT KNOW! But I did my monologue first, then sand “Bill” and then “Anything Goes”. At the end of the song I brushed my hands up my thighs and kind of pulled my dress up. I realized and pulled my dress down. They said “thank you, that’s it” and I then frantically turned around to go get my music I sort of had my dress still in my hand and tried to do a cute thing where I swooped my dress when I turned but instead I like totally flashed my undies to the panel. AHHHHHHH! Said thank you so much and almost ran out. WHYYYYY!! Whhhhhhhyyyyyy?!?!?!?
Almost a month later, around this time they started letting people know if they were accepted early admission. I really wanted this. If I got this one, then I could withdrawl my applications from other schools that I wasn’t as excited about and audition just for the big schools. Saving my parents lots of money and travel in the process. I was refreshing the page every 5 minutes (maybe less) I was so anxious. I refreshed it for the 40th time and I had been denied. My whole world crumbled. I was devastated, frozen in the chair after 30 mins of just staring and crying at the screen. My mom noticed and came up to me and I went into full rage. I locked myself in the bathroom. So dramatic.
So, my advice? Wait to audition at your top choice school. Get a couple of practice auditions in. Do your 6th or 7th choice first and save the big ones for when you are super comfortable and have gotten the glitches out. You know, so you don’t flash the head of the school. Oops.
XOXOX Unapologetic artist
The DON’TS Of Auditioning For Theatre Programs
So, you’re picking your schools and gearing up for your auditions. But what exactly should you prepare, and how exactly should you prepare? Well, here are some things I wish someone had told me as I was preparing for my college auditions.
1.Don’t try to be anyone or anything else but you! Find what makes you different.
2.Don’t overthink your choices. Go with your gut. It can be tough to know what “go with you gut” means, but if there’s a song or monologue someone has given you to do that you just don’t feel good about, trust that.
3. Don’t take it too seriously. College auditions are not reality TV shows. Anyone sitting behind an audition table doesn’t want you to fail. They are so excited to have you there, and can’t wait for you to blow them all away. (Ahhh, Hamilton quotes)
4.Don’t be a know it all. Your parents, teachers, and coaches all want the best for you. So any advice coming your way is coming from people that know you well and genuinely care about your future. Be careful not to dismiss them all too quickly.
5.Don’t judge the school by its name or ranking.You need to find the right school for YOU. A place that you’re going to love and thrive at. The college you choose is going to be your home for the next four years. That may mean picking Juilliard, and that may mean picking a program at a college that you’ve never heard of before.
6. Don’t do Hamlet’s ‘To be, or not to be”. Or rather, stay away from “overdone” material. It can be harder to stand out at an audition if you’re one of five people that sang, “Tomorrow” from Annie. If you’re having a hard time finding new material, take a look at YouTube, or even check out the Tony Awards website. Look at what musicals have been nominated in past years. Even if a show didn’t win best musical, there’s usually still some pretty good material there.
Relax. Breathe. And know these next four years are about and for you. Break a leg!
The Unapologetic Artist
Things I Wish I Knew When Going into an Arts College
The idea of college alone can be exciting, overwhelming, and to be totally honest,scary. But from someone who’s been there, these are the tips I can give you.
1.You’ll make friends anywhere. I mean really, you want to major in theatre. You’ve got to be a pretty charming person. 2.Dance based or theatre based school? Some arts programs focus more on dance, some on acting. Be sure that’s something you look into before you pick a school for you. 3.There are options to go abroad. You have decide if it’s worth it for you to miss a semester on campus, but there are a ton of benefits to getting to study theatre abroad too. 4. Summer stock auditions? What are those right? Every summer, there are theatres in small towns all over the US that do musicals. These can be some of your first professional jobs in the REAL WORLD. 5.How many general education classes do you have to take? Can you double major or only major in one degree and minor in another? Depending upon whether or not you go to a Conservatory or BFA program, you’ll be limited on many “regular people” classes you can take. At some schools you’ll be able to double major. Some you’ll only be able to pick a major and minor. At a conservatory, you may only be able to study the arts. So look at what each program allows. 6.Does your school of choice provide a showcase for seniors? A lot of musical theatre/theatre programs provide a showcase for their graduating seniors. The showcases may take you to Chicago, New York, and/or LA to audition and get in front of casting agents. Ask each school you’re interested in if they provide a showcase. 7.Do you need to take Music Theory? Some musical theatre majors will require you to take music theory. I was definitely not prepared for that. 8. REMEMBER: The status of the school matters but not in the real world. Talent is talent. School names are a plus but not the key. Don’t only go to a school because of the name. You have to find the perfect fit FOR YOU. People and teachers will always have an opinion about you and try to share it. And while that will always be valuable, really look and see inside yourself. This business is all about you and how you come off. Really look and try to understand who you are and what you bring to the table. So if something someone says something doesn’t ring true – even a professor – then please take it with a grain of salt. You have to be confident in yourself, and that can only come from within.
The Gettin’ and the Pickin’ of the Right School for YOU!! (To be read in a country accent)
I applied to 13 schools. A girl I knew applied to 30!! 30!!!!!!
I have a headache just thinking about what she went through. Some on the list were the dreamy top choices that I possibly wouldn’t get into. Some were schools I could really see myself excited about that weren’t the bestest of the best but still great. Then there were schools that I would have been miserable at, but had to put on my list just in case. We call those there the back up schools.
Now, you do not have to apply to 13 to, 30 schools, but just enough where you feel comfortable that you will be covered. Sometimes that’s 7, sometimes 10. People I know who got into my school applied to 3, so it really is up to you!
But before you can even pick which college you get to grace your presence with you have to get accepted and before you get accepted you need to apply and possibly audition. It is such a process and while overwhelming, it is still super exciting. First, let’s go over what you need to know to actually apply, and all the steps you need to go through just to be considered.
1.Find schools that fit YOUR checklist
2. Take the SAT or ACT. Which one you gonna take?
3. Do you need test prep? I did. Oh boy did I.
4. Do the boring high school homework (jk mom and dad, it’s important) and keep your GPA up.
5. Fill out the application
6.Write the essays (make them personal and worth reading. What is it that makes YOU stand out)
7. Pay the application fee
8.Have great recommendation letters (ask your favorite teachers waaaayyyyy in advance)
9.Figure out which schools you want to visit, to audition at, and which to do at the Unifieds audition.
10. Figure out what each school requires for auditions. Usually that includes songs, monologues and some sort of dance call. (I’ve been to auditions that I’ve had to have my accompaniment recorded beforehand because they didn’t have someone to play. I have had to choreograph a dance to show them, so really research this)
11. Prepare your audition material. I would say have 4-6 audition cuts of songs, 16-32 bars each. These songs you should be songs you really love to perform. You should know them so freakin well you won’t slip, and really practice with a voice teacher. Clean and clear sheet music for the accompanist. Have a 16 cut a 32 cut and the whole song of each song in your book ready to go if they ask for more. You should have:
Classic musical theatre Ballad
Classic musical theatre Uptempo
Contemporary MT Ballad
Contemporary MT Uptempo
Picking the right theatre school for you to go to is real tough. Figuring out what you want and what your parents want is hard to mesh together, but hopefully these tips will point you in the right direction and give you a great place to start. Good luck!
XXOXOXOOOOOOO The Unapologetic Artist
Stories And Advice From An Artist Who’d Been There
I am broadway baby. My mother has so many pictures of me growing up dressed up as a fool with socks and ballet skirts on my head (to make me feel like I had long hair. My mom had me in a pixie cut till I was 5), videos of me and my best friend making up dance routines and just generally acting like goofy fools. She was also the biggest stage mom ever. In the best way. Love you mom! But I never had any other dream other than Musical Theatre and dancing my little tush on da stage.
Anyway, this was my dream and my mother and I really did everything we could to get there. I took dance class everyday, singing lessons, auditioned for tv and professional plays, the whole shebang. I didn’t care about grades unless it was in art or music class. I went to an arts high school, so instead of doing math homework (which I did have, even though I did copy my friends 30 mins before class) I would sit up at night listening to musicals and watching Liza Minnelli belt her face off until 3am. Some would call me obsessed.
And I got there! To this big prestigious school where so many great actors have studied, and I was shocked to find that the majority of my peers were so different from me. People showed up never having a voice lesson before in their life, wearing ballet tights and dance belts for the first time. People with raw talent who didn’t know who Liza Minnelli even was!
You can be as prepared and obsessed with all that crap as you want, but that doesn’t mean you will necessarily be accepted into a top theatre program. I met so many people in my class who had so much heart, so much determination and pure talent. This heart, talent and relentless determination is the only way to get into an arts college program and later into the business. Cuz honey, it’s a beast with no mercy. I am barely even started, but I’ve been there and I’m still right in the thick of it. And I’ll be happy to share with you what I’ve learned so far through advice and helpful tips. So I hope this blog or diary or whatever you call this damn thing helps me in my process as an artist while at the same time helping YOU take the next steps in your journey as an artist. Talk soon!
The Unapologetic Artist