10 Feb College Musical Theater Audition Tips
College Musical Theater Auditions
How to Prepare for Success
As a voice teacher, my worst nightmare is lacking the knowledge or
experience to help a client reach their goals. I think most teachers
can relate to that fear. The arena of college musical theater
auditions is a relatively small niche and foreign to most professionals
in entertainment, making it difficult to obtain up-to-date and
helpful information. I’m here to fill that gap for anyone with clients
who need mentoring through this challenging process.
• As much as it pains me to say this, singing your face off will
not get you into a college program by itself. Musical Theater
has become popular enough among young artists that those
who audition for college programs have been training seriously
for years and many of them are true triple threats. For this
reason, I ask all my clients who will be auditioning in the next
audition season to take time off of performing and focus on
training in the three disciplines of musical theater – acting,
singing and dancing.
• As a voice teacher, do your research and find a great acting
coach that teaches acting technique based in Meisner,
Stanislovski, Chubak, Shurtleff (specifically for auditions) and
who has broad repertoire of monologues for clients to choose
from. This needs to be someone that you feel comfortable
working with and creating cohesive audition packages together
so that your client auditions at their very best.
• What is a college audition package? Basically, an audition
package is a set of two contrasting songs and two contrasting
monologues that will fullfill the requirements listed by colleges.
Every schoool has different requirements, so visiting each
college program web site and noting audition information is
extremely important. Each song in the package will need a 16
bar cut and a 32 bar cut in order to fullfill the various
• When a college program asks for contrasting songs, they mean
contrasting in every sense of the word. One song should be
from contemporary musical theater repertoire (from 1965 –
present) and another should be from rertoire written before
1965. One of those songs should allow your client to
demonstrate “mix” voice and “belt” voice in both 16 and 32
bars. The other song should show “legit” (classical) voice with
long legato lines, vibrato, etc. After you have chosen those
two main songs and created their cuts, you will want to fill in
your clients repertoire with six to eight more songs that show
different vocal styles, emotional content and anything else
that your client shines on.
There are TWO hitches when choosing songs for a client…
1. Choose songs that fit your clients type. Don’t know what their
type is? Ask yourself three basic questions: What age to they
present? What is their personality? What is their physical look?
If you have a difficult time typing your clients, engage the help
of a local director or acting coach who is accustom to casting. If
you have a client who presents as a sweet Disney princess, then
you want to stay away from femme fatal material. Likewise, if
you have a client who presents as the comedic sidekick character,
you want to stay away from romantic leading man material.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is helping the client understand
and embrace their type. (That is a completely different article!)
2.Avoid overdone material. Unfortunately, this can be easier said
then done since the list of overdone material can change every
year. Last year, every girl seemed to have “When It All Falls
Down” from Chaplin the musical in her book. The year before
that it was “Pulled” from The Addams Family. My best advice is
to search for material that hasn’t been on Broadway or off-
Broadway for several years. I love material from the 70’s, 80’s,
90’s and early 2000’s and there is LOT out there. Spend a
little time digging for the hidden treasures in shows like
Romance Romance, Rags, Little Fish, etc. Obviously, there’s the
standard “Do NOT Sing” list which includes Wicked, Les
Miserables, Phantom, Thoroughly Modern Millie, etc.
• Help you client prepare for questions about their resume,
experience, training or goals. Some favorite questions are: If
you couldn’t work in theatre what else would you do? Why do
you want to come to our program? What do you see yourself
doing in ten years?
• Encourage clients to keep their resume as simplistic and easy to
read as possible. Only note training that has been completed
within high school years. Don’t list every show they’ve been in
– just give the highlights. Add special skills that they feel
comfortable demonstrating on the spot.
• Encourage clients to wear an outfit that is flattering to their
figure, that won’t make others in the room feel uncomfortable
(don’t show too much skin) and that shows some of their
unique personality. Never be afraid to ask a stylist for
• Help your clients understand that no college program is looking
for perfection, because in the arts we all realize there in no
such thing. What colleges are looking for is a young artist who
fits their program in terms of dedication, personality and goals.
Be YOU! Be the BEST you that you can be, but always, always