Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Show Ending

My kids show is down to our last three performances. We couldn't be happier. Some shows fly by, and you can't believe they are over. Some shows are a slog to the end. Usually this is a scheduling thing, rather than the actual show. In our case, we opened more than two months ago, and have had a lot of single-show days (rather than our full booking of 3) plus a lot of days off between multi-show stretches. The winter show slot has to work around all of the school Winter Breaks. 70-odd shows at one show a day takes a lot of time to get through.

The end of our run also involves a carpool and an hour commute. So, by the time we've driven down there, done two performances, and driven back, our day is almost over. Most of us still have to go straight to our evening jobs from there. So, all in all - we have a cast who is ready to be finished.

It's been a lovely group of people. One very nice side effect of having a show out of town, is that this particular theater likes to do all of the front of house management by themselves. So we have our Musical Director and Stage Manager hanging out with us between shows. That's been a nice change.

We've been talking shop a lot backstage this week. The first Big Theater is holding their general auditions this week, so everyone is comparing notes on audition material, tips and tricks, and sharing experiences. I did mine on Monday. I think it went well. It was for the theater that I did their Christmas show, so this year felt a little easier than the years before. After my audition, a young girl out in the waiting room wanted to know my audition tricks. So here they are:

1. Have an audition outfit. I went to a workshop at the Big Musical Theater house in town, and one of their tips was to purchase one outfit that looks great and you feel comfortable in. Wear this to every audition. They won't remember if you wear it several years in a row, but you will mentally be one more step ahead every time you step into your audition "uniform." (Also, you won't have to stress each time about what to wear)

2. Prep your music. Every couple of years I send my regular several audition pieces off to a musician who then arranges my cuts into standalone 1-2 page songs. He takes all of my markings and puts them into the score. That way, an accompanist can clearly see what I want him to do, rather than trying to decipher on the fly some scribbled on notes on a photocopied score. I've had compliments before on how helpful this is. My auditions will go better if an accompanist isn't mystified by my markings.

3. Use songs and monologues you've already performed in a show. The main tip from audition books and workshops is "Prepare. Prepare. Prepare." Put in the same work on your audition that you would for a show. My spin on that is to excerpt songs and monologues from shows I've done. That way, the work I've put into developing the character, learning how to time the moments, and some basic blocking, is already set in my performance.

4. Wear a GREAT pair of shoes. This isn't in any audition book. I have a pair of white with purple and pink floral heels from Italy. I picked them up from TJ Maxx one day. When I bought my first audition dress, they were the only shoes I owned that worked. In my first audition that year, I got compliments on my shoes. And almost every audition after, I got told "Great Shoes!" I don't care why they notice me. Hopefully my performance is part of the whole package. But if the shoes are what stick with them, more power to the shoes.

Alan says, "Some shows fly by, and some shows are a Bataan Death March to the End...."