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How to Beat Audition Nerves: The Real Answer

Alanda was from New York City. I don’t remember why she moved to Chicago, but she was confident. She’d been frustrated in New York - lots of auditioning and no getting cast - and was glad for a fresh start. She was also glad to be in a little podunk town like Chicago. She’d certainly be cast here. (Gotta love New Yorkers!)

Alanda wasn’t unreasonable in expecting to be cast. She was beautiful and talented. She was also driven, which is how she found me. Her mission: lose her break, be able to sound great belting. Find someone who could teach her that. Chop-chop. She was a committed student who got better very quickly.

While she was working with me, she was also auditioning for shows; both straight theater and music theater. She wasn’t getting cast. She’d

spend some of her lesson time venting about how unfair auditions were. What do the skills required for auditioning have to do with the skills required to be in a show? Nothing! Auditioning and acting are totally different skill sets! SO frustrating! SO stupid!

And she was SO not getting cast.


The skills for auditioning really are different, she said, and I need to get good at those skills.


One day she comes to her lesson with an announcement: No more auditioning in order to be cast in a show. The skills for auditioning really are different, she said, and I need to get good at those skills. She declared that until she was really good at auditioning, she was going to use auditions for the sole purpose of getting good at auditions.

She did. She auditioned like mad. She was auditioning for four or five shows a week. She auditioned for shows she’d never be cast in (a white girl auditioning for Ain’t Misbehavin’? Seriously?) and didn’t care. She had a mission and she was using those auditions for her own purpose.

After a coupla-few months of that, she came to a lesson announcing that she was ready. She was good at auditioning, she wasn’t scared, and a theater company was auditioning for a show she really wanted to be in. She was going for it.

I was encouraging, but the odds were against her. The show was Quilters. It had a cast of seven women, the show was being staged by a very popular theater, and the auditions times had been booked before they were even announced. Things were not boding well for our heroine.

The end of the story is the end you hope for: Alanda was one of the seven women cast in Quilters. And she told me that, even though she was thrilled to be cast, she hadn’t had her hopes pinned on that show. She had several more auditions already on her calendar. She was ready to succeed as an actress.

Watch for my white paper, How to Have a Great Music Theater Audition, coming Thursday, May 4

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