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Tag Archives: Theater

This past weekend I attended the announcement of Olney Theatre Center’s 2014 season in their historic theater.  Having never been to one of these season fêtes, I was really quite amazed at how many of the folks who are regular season ticket holders made the effort to be there on a Sunday afternoon.  I mean, they could have just read about it in the newspaper or checked the OTC website, etc.  While those in attendance were given an opportunity for special pricing, I think it says a lot about a theater when their audience is that engaged.  Perhaps part of the draw was that it was the first season designed by Jason Loewith, the new Artistic Director at Olney.

I won’t go into the mechanics of the affair.  Suffice it to say that it was a well-organized event.  Mr. Loewith did a nice job of expressing his vision for the upcoming season and the new approach to their seasons in general.  It’s true that a theater in the suburbs of Washington, DC has among it’s audience members a diverse array of people with an equally diverse array of cultural interests.  Loewith underscored that fact with a good humored sharing of real audience input from shows in the 2013 season.  There were folks who had equally vigorous yet completely opposite reactions to the productions.  Quite a predicament for a theater to find itself in!  The solution?

In a nutshell, they are going to have three different series of shows for audiences to choose from – contemporary, classical and family.  Subscribers can purchase tickets to one or more of these series and receive a substantial discount over the individual ticket price.  Sounds like a good plan to me.   Of course, what everyone wanted to know at the end of the day was “What shows will Olney Theatre Center be producing in 2014?”  Here is what they announced.

The Piano Lesson
Awake & Sing
I and You
Avenue Q
Once On This Island
The Tempest*
As You Like It*
To Kill A Mockingbird*
TBA – One Show Still To Be Determined

* by the National Players

Those in attendance were also treated to fine performances of songs from the upcoming season.  Celebrated Music Director Christopher Youstra was on the keyboard as Tracy Stevens sang from Cabaret, Sam Ludwig from Avenue Q, and Eleasha Gamble from Once On This Island.


What it is:

A “season” audition is when a theatre company sees hopeful actors for slots in all of their upcoming shows. 

What it means:

You have to be ready to put your best foot forward in many ways and be prepared for the unexpected.

What’s required:

Musical Theatre — Usually you’ll be singing a snippet of one song (16 or 32 bars).  But you’d better have a snippet from a contrasting song ready to go just in case.  If the theatre has never heard you or doesn’t know your work well and they’re interested, they may want to get a better look right then and there.
Non-Musicals — Normally you’ll be doing a monologue of somewhere between 2-3 mins.  However, some will clearly state that they want that 3 mins. split between one comedic and one dramatic monologue.  Any other specifics that they require should be clearly spelled out in their audition notice. 
Mixed Season — Often theatres looking for musical and non-musical actors will give the actors a choice.  One song, one monologue, or a VERY short song and a short monologue.  If you’ve never tried to find the “perfect” 16 bars to sing for an audition like this, you have no idea how incredibly hard that can be.   Not to mention selecting a short monologue that gives you the opportunity to show what you can do. 

The good, the bad, and the ugly (aka some of my thoughts):

a) Do your research.  If you don’t know what shows are in their upcoming season, how can you hope to find material that will show them you deserve a spot in one of their shows?

b) Brevity is your friend.  In other words, if you have two equally good monologues, choose the shorter one.  Same goes for the song snippet.   

c) Expect to wait.  Just because your appointment is at 12:30 p.m., doesn’t mean you will be going in on the dot.  These things almost always run behind unless there are lots of no-shows.  That being said …

d) Be on time.  In other words, never bank on them running behind.  Because the one time you assume they’ll be late, that’s when they’ll be right on time.  Once you lose that slot, it can be difficult to get back in. 

e) Don’t expect anything except to turn in a great audition.  This is definitely one of those “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” scenarios.  If they think you might fit one of their shows, they’ll bring you back to audition specifically for that show.  Don’t pester the casting staff with repeated inquiries.  You’ll become a paria in a heartbeat if you do.

f) Make a choice.  It isn’t unusual for a theatre’s season to be all over the place as far as the types of shows being presented.  Obviously, that makes picking your audition material difficult.  Thus, the title of this post.  So … armed with your research, make a decision sufficiently in advance to allow enough prep time. 

OK!  So what do YOU think of “Seaon” auditions?  How do you prep?  What are your experiences?  I can only speak from my own experience.  I’d love to hear what others have to say.

P.S. – I haven’t addressed any of the Equity rules governing auditions.  If you want more info on those, you can find it at their website here: Actor’s Equity