On Thursday, February 22, Loyola’s Musical Theatre Performance class had the opportunity to take an audition master class with N’Jameh Camara and Clyde Voce from the Broadway National Tour of The Color Purple. Select students in this class were chosen to perform two audition pieces - one ballad and one up-tempo - for Camara and Voce. After their performance, the student received feedback as well as individualized exercises to help them grow their characters. The class was also given advice on auditioning: what goes on in the audition room, audition etiquette, and how to make the process a positive experience. The following is some of what one of the students in the class learned:
The duo’s first advice was to be as natural and comfortable as you can in the audition room. Voce noted that many musical theatre auditionees come into the room with a robotic, rehearsed personality for their slate and that this actually turns off casting directors because they want to see you. They want to make sure that you’re going to be pleasant to work with and optimistic about the show you’re rehearsing for. Relaxing, smiling, and being confident in your slate shows off the most adaptable and professional side of you. Even if you’re nervous, don’t let that stop you! Casting directors understand that auditions are a big deal and want you to succeed. They’ll do anything they can to make your audition go as smoothly as possible.
Camara and Voce also spoke briefly about the importance of speaking to one’s accompanist before an audition. They noted that discussions should be short and simple and that anything further than singing the song in time (i.e. clapping, snapping, hitting one’s leg for a beat) could potentially confuse them. They also said that, out of courtesy for the pianist, start and stop times should be clearly noted and marked for the accompanist, not the singer. This means that one should mark where they want their accompanist to start playing, not where their lyrics begin.
The class was incredibly informative, and it did a very good job of helping students get a full understanding of how everything runs in the theatrical industry. It’s not often that students are able to learn and grow from professionals in the business right in their own classrooms, and being able to get a grasp on how that professional world runs without having to travel all the way to New York for an audition is something that no student should take for granted. Every actor must audition at some time or another, and Loyola’s Musical Theatre Performance students are sure to have gained some valuable tips on auditioning that they will carry with them for years to come.
By: Allison Gruetzner