Auditioning

Auditioning should be a fun and exciting process - this guide is meant to help you navigate!

Gener​al Overview

  • There are two main audition times - one is during the first week of school in August, and the other is during reading week in December. Other auditions are held throughout the semester.
  • An audition is a chance for your to show the creative team your talents in roughly five minutes; typically you will perform a monologue and sing a selection from a song.
  • Within a few days after your audition, you will be notified if you are called back for specific roles in the show.
  • Callbacks will then be a chance to perform again for the creative team, this time showing them if you are the right fit for a given role - you’ll usually do a scene from the show with other actors called back for roles you’ll play opposite.
  • After callbacks, it may take a few days for you to hear from the team if you have been cast - don’t panic!
  • If you’re not cast, don’t sweat it - you should keep auditioning and try again. Don’t take it personally.

What​ you Should Have Ready to Go (In General)

  • Comedic Monologue
  • Dramatic Monologue
  • Traditional or Classic Monnologue

Note: A lot of directors don’t require monologues, but instead provide side (short scenes/monologues from the show you’re auditioning for).

Additionally, for musicals: [Some shows will ask for 16 bars, others for 32, so it’s best to have 32 prepared and then also know a 16 bar cut version.]

  • Contemporary musical theater song or pop/rock/R&B song
  • Traditional 1940s-60s musical theater song

Note: Some musical directors will have you sing the song a cappella, but some will give you the option of having piano accompaniment - it’s a good idea to bring sheet music if you have it.

Signing Up

  • Sign up for auditions on the show’s page on the YDC website. Make sure you choose a time when you can arrive 15 minutes early.
  • It’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Feel free to audition for as many shows as you’d like, but don’t audition for a show you may not want to be cast in.
  • Check the show’s YDC page to see what the director will ask you to do at the audition. If they’re requesting sides, links should be posted on the show page.
  • If you’re at all confused about what is expected of you at the audition, ask! Email the Director, Producer, or Stage Manager (to find their official Yale e-mail, search their name).

Before you Go (a few days before your audition)

  • Google or Wikipedia a synopsis of the show you’re auditioning for. If you have time and access, skim the actual script. Familiarize yourself with the basics of the characters, style, and plot.
  • Don’t worry about what to wear; it really doesn’t matter. Just dress comfortably.
  • Look up where your audition location is. WLH? LC? If it’s a building you don’t recognize, you can look up the abbreviation here.

What to Bring

  • Water
  • Your monologue/sides/sheet music
  • A pen
  • Your smile

When You Arrive

  • Arrive 15 minutes early. You’ll need to fill out an audition sheet (see below)
  • Warm up your voice (If you’re singing, do vocal warmups. If you’re acting - tongue twisters. Silly sayings seed success!)
  • Run through your auditions materials beforehand, when you’re waiting outside the audition door

Audition Sheet

  • Most auditions will have a sheet for you to complete with personal information.
    • Phone Number: Important! Casting is generally announced by phone calls.
    • E-mail: Most callbacks are organized by e-mail. Put down an e-mail you can commit to checking frequently.
    • Other personal information
    • Past shows you’ve been in: be honest, but be sure to list roles you’re proud of starting no earlier than high school. Later on, phase out old shows for Yale shows. Also provide previous singing/improv/other performance experience.
    • Calendar/Conflicts: again, be honest. Almost nothing can make a director/producer/stage manager team angrier than finding out about major conflicts after casting is complete. If you’re unsure about something, put it down anyway: they’ll check with you if it’s going to be an issue. This includes listing other shows you’re auditioning for, if the sheet requests it. Directors understand that you’ll be involved in many things in addition to their show if cast, but if you’re so busy that you won’t be able to make the necessary commitment to rehearsals, they’re gonna want to discuss it. So be honest about how much time your other activities take up in your schedule. It’s also okay if you don’t know yet!
    • Special Talents: don’t underestimate the special skills slot! List tumbling, break-dancing, juggling, stand-up-comedy, etc. These may be your selling point.
  • For singers: Know your vocal range, but don’t lie. Musical Directors will likely test your range in the audition.

Things Not to Do

  • Choreographing a dance
  • Staring straight at one of the audition panelists the whole time
  • Auditioning without reviewing all materials beforehand
  • Auditioning without having warmed up your voice (especially for musicals)
  • Using an audition monologue/song from the show you’re auditioning for (unless specifically told to do otherwise, you should always pick material from a different show)
  • Rushing. You are always talking faster than you think you are - take your time!
  • Asking to start over by apologizing (it’s okay to start again, but don’t apologize or make excuses)
  • Preparing more than is asked of you (focus your prep time on what was requested)
  • Dressing in costume

Things to Do

  • Ask the director for context for the scene
  • Take 10 seconds to work with the pianist on the tempo of the song
  • Go for it. Make big choices!

Callbacks

  • Be patient. Callbacks take longer than the first round of auditions.
  • Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to work with other auditionees. Callbacks are mainly about interactions and relations between actors

After Auditions

  • If you’re not cast, consider joining the production staff. As a freshman, working on a crew can allow you to meet actors or directors who can give you tips on future shows (or even help you find others to audition for). And it’s always fun to be part of the team whether onstage or off.
  • Don’t be discouraged! Yale theater is a huge community, and no matter what, you’ll fine a place here.

FAQs

Is there a limit to the number of shows I can audition for?
No! You can audition for as many shows as you’d like. But be smart about it, and don’t audition for shows you wouldn’t accept a part in. You want to be able to give every audition your best effort. Also keep in mind that during the busy audition weeks (first week of school and December reading week) there will be many shows holding auditions on the same days.

Is there a limit to the number of shows I can be in/work on?
No, but again, be smart. You need to be honest with the directors and stage managers of all shows you sign on to - they likely won’t allow you to accept roles in shows that go up back to back weeks, or even two weeks apart. You can certainly be in a show in October and then in December. Also keep in mind your other commitments outside of theater (and schoolwork!). Be honest with yourself and with the director/stage managers, and think things through before you say yes to a role.

What song should I sing for my audition?
Sing something that you’re confident shows off your range and suits your voice. Ideally it will also fit with the musical style of the show; don’t sing from RENT for an Oklahoma! audition. You’re trying to help the creative team figure out how you’d sound in their cast. Singing a song by the same composer (but from a different show) is a good way to do that, but not necessary. If you don’t know the style of the show you’re auditioning for, watch some YouTube clips or listen to the soundtrack online to get a feel. For contemporary shows, feel free to sing a non-musical theater song that fits the vibe. Again, the goal is to show the creative team everything you’ve got vocally.

How will I be notified of casting decisions?
Shows will be in touch in the days after callbacks; be patient! Casting is a long process.

What do I do if I’m not cast?
Don’t be discouraged, and don’t take it personally/ Casting is a difficult process and is about finding the people that fit certain roles for a given production - don’t think that not being cast means you have no talent! You should think about getting involved in the shows you auditioned for in a non-acting capacity, and try out for more shows in the future!