Auditions

6 Ways To Embrace Your Type—And Get Cast More Often

Embracing your strengths will lead to more success. Photo by Jim Lafferty

When it comes to auditioning, you have to think like a casting director. What is your type? How can you embrace it so that you can get cast in the roles that fit you best?

Getting hired is about more than just talent. Directors are looking at everything: from your height, to your energy, to understudy requirements—if you are a replacement in a Broadway show, for example, you have to be able to slot into it seamlessly. The creative team will size you up immediately when you walk into the studio, so make sure you're projecting the right message from the start.


1. Showcase Your Strengths

Focus on rep and roles that suit you best. Here, a Martha Graham Dance Company audition. Photo by Rachel Papo

Maybe you're not quite sure yet what your type is. Casting director Michael Donovan recently gave this advice at a musical theater workshop put on by Los Angeles vocal coach Carol Weiss: "What do you have that no one else in the room has?"

If people always laugh at your stories, target comedy roles. If you are gifted with an exquisite physique, show it, and be sure to include body shots with your photos. If you have a lovely vulnerable quality, show it off in the story behind your solo or song.

2. Don't Try to be Something You're Not

An audition for A Chorus Line. Photo by Rachel Papo

Setting your sights on roles you're not right for will only lead to disappointment. If a director needs an older, seasoned, Fosse dancer for Chicago, and you come across as young, perky and wholesome, you probably won't be cast. On the other hand, Hello Dolly! hires dancers with excellent ballet training, and who have a period look. Actresses from the old movies did not have tattoos or body piercings; if you can't cover yours up, target more contemporary work.

3. Select Your Outfit Strategically

The right outfit can help a director imagine you in the work. Photo by Jim Lafferty

The choices that you make in clothing, hairstyle and grooming affect how people perceive you. If you're auditioning for a classic show, study movies from that era to get familiar with the particular style of hair and make-up. Or look at company members' Instagram accounts to see how they dress in rehearsal. Casting director Mark Simon recommends getting the most expensive haircut you can afford before an important audition. Wear something that is not only clean and flattering, but puts you in the mindset of the character or show.

4. Choose the Right Song

If you're auditioning for musical theater, your song choice can be pivotal. Photo by Kyle Froman

If you're auditioning for musical theater, your song should fit you perfectly. It should match your age, range, natural vocal ability and personality. If you resemble a particular character, learn their songs. With YouTube, you can do all kinds of research from home.

5. Go With The Flow

It's not just about you, but how you fit in with the group. Here, an audition for Shen Wei Dance Arts. Photo by Colin Fowler.

It's not just you at an audition. You're a piece of the puzzle. Richard Hester, supervising director of Jersey Boys, says they study how the performers fit together as a group. Stay open to direction, and listen carefully. Write down everything they tell you—this will come in handy if you're called back, or if you audition for the production again in the future.

6. Listen To Others' Advice

If friends tell you that you'd be perfect for a particular job, audition. Photo by Matthew Murphy for Pointe.

Others may perceive you differently than you see yourself. If everyone tells you that you are perfect for a particular company or show, audition. If you are asked to try out for a different role than you wanted, cooperate. They may see something in you that you never saw yourself.

Broadway

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Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

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Jayme Thornton

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Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

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