directing experiences, Musical Theatre, Uncategorized

I Had a Premonition About the Musical Auditions–A True Story



I wasn’t going to audition.  I wanted to observe.

You see, I had a premonition about the musical auditions. I shouldn’t have listened to my brain and just gone with my gut. 

No, really. I only wanted to observe.  We’ve lived in this community for six months. We have volunteered  at this community theatre several times, but I didn’t think I knew the inner workings of the company quite yet.  Why would that matter, you ask?  Oh, but it does….

The technical staff is great–professional, welcoming and very hard working.

The front of house staff does a nice job with the public. The ushers are eager to help you find your seats,  gently pushing their intermission refreshments on you and extending appreciation for your support of the production.

Everyone has their heads in the right place.

So far, so good….

Because every other aspect was receiving a good rating from me, I was at ease when I entered the room for auditions for Church Basement Ladies. I was so relaxed I was easily talked into auditioning for the show.

I wasn’t prepared.  I hadn’t even read the script!  (Usually, I skim a script before I audition at the very least.)

I didn’t have a song to sing.  I mean, I hadn’t auditioned for a musical in over thirteen years!

On this particular Monday night, there weren’t many people auditioning which is not uncommon the first night.  I offered to read to “help out”, but not sincerely committed to the whole audition thing. The welcoming, smiling director asked me to return the second night and sing, etc.

Okay, I guess I will…..

Tuesday night I returned. I was a little more prepared.  I found a song from Pippin that would work, but I still hadn’t seen the script. Shoot, I didn’t even have the song memorized.  I had to use notecards.  Tacky, I know but–


Lately, I’ve been on the opposite side of the auditioning table.  I direct.  I have directed more shows in thirteen years of not auditioning than most people direct in their entire career.  I think I’ve directed over forty productions in that span of time.

Wednesday night were call backs.

They went about like any set of callbacks–first we sang from the show. However we sang in six part harmony nearly off the bat! Yikes. Then we danced a little with a sweet choreographer who understands adult women that need to be able to dance or at least look like we know what we are doing. Then we read from the show.

Now, you would think I could just breeze in and read it cold, right? I’m a trained actress. I mean, I work in theatre for a living and have done so for over thirty-eight years.

What’s my take away?

Some of the gals were REALLY prepared for their singing and reading auditions.  It was obvious they had:

  1.  Either auditioned for this director before or had been cast by him in previous shows (a little gossip was that some people only audition for him and no one else’s shows and he always casts them and no one new or different–but that’s a common piece of gossip one hears in many community theaters.) The gals were very calm and confident.
  2. Read the script multiple times
  3. Portrayed the roles before because their readings were so spot on
  4. Listened to the music 24/7 and that’s why they were able to sing cold several different parts with very little effort
  5. Originated the roles and whisked into town just to have a little fun being in the show again
  6. Done all the above


Not me.  Remember: I. wasn’t. going. to. audition.

It’s not my kind of show–it’s light faire.  If I’m going to perform, I want to give up my  valuable retirement time to something that will help me grow and enrich my life. It might be someone else’s “perfect show in which to re-enter the stage”.

For me, this wasn’t the show for me.  I instinctively knew it as I read and sang.

I sang poorly. It was probably the worst audition I’ve done in years.  Maybe in my life.  I’m a much better singer than what I shared that evening.

I read poorly.  Usually, I can produce a cold reading equal to some people’s best work after numerous rehearsals.  Not this one.

I don’t know what my problem was. I read too quickly and sputtered around.

I wasn’t cast.

I wasn’t surprised by the casting.  It looked to be the reasons 1,2,3,4 and 6 which I mentioned above. And that’s okay, you know?  But I’m merely guessing here–not fake news, (ahem) but an educated, experienced assessment on my part.

It will be a great show!  These gals were all ready demonstrating the characters at their auditions.  That makes it so easy for a director.  I’ve enjoyed that kind of casting myself.

I’m okay with that.  I’m going to help the property mistress make lafse and lutefisk.  At this point in my life, that will be more fun.

The next show is Noises Off.  I’ll keep you posted if I audition.  I’ll prepare for them, that’s for sure.

At present, I’m adapting  Bumbling Bea into a play. It’s coming together quite well.

It’s like butter.  It’s fun and challenging.

That’s where my head is at right now and I knew it. My own Bumbling Bea took over during all the audition frolic.

  I’m in charge again.




4 thoughts on “I Had a Premonition About the Musical Auditions–A True Story”

  1. This was such a well written piece Deb! I was Pulling for your success in this and I see the success here Is in this perfect guideline for how to view auditions and Evaluate the outcome in a positive, creative way! I really loved the Suspense! 🙂

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Peer pressure it’s a b***h, ain’t it. You shouldn’t have auditioned… LOL You new better, and wouldn’t this be a whole different post if you had gotten the role… hahaha

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