And STILL more things that will happen at rehearsal…

The score won’t match…

When doing a MUSICAL…. or even a Play with Music… I promise you that whatever they have said in the script or written in the score – IF there IS a score… will not match any of the following…

a) the CD

b) the current script

c) the director’s vision

e) all of the above

Add to that… the cd won’t match…anything. Frequently it is a concept CD and that means it is very, VERY different from the production you are doing. The production that got altered before Broadway, before the Tour, after the Tour and before the release to amateur companies. It will be extremely different. Don’t count on it – in fact… the best advice is don’t use it. At best it is a basic, simple reference. Move on.

The script will NOT make sense… why would it? I mean, you paid for it, so it should… but believe me, it won’t. There will be typos for sure, but then there will also be ridiculous stage directions – that can only be done on MASSIVE Broadway budgets – and even then they are probably stupid stage directions, so Ignore them and do your own thing. Aside from that… there will be lines attributed to the wrong character or a missing character or someone you didn’t know was in the show… (seriously… ALL of these have happened in shows for which I have paid royalties to perform “their script word for word”) There may EVEN be stage directions that appear as dialogue… yup.

$h!t will be missing… Like a song you expected… or a character in the description list will be missing from the show… or an ENTIRE scene.. yup, once a script went from scene 7 to 9. We all wondered “What happened in Scene 8?”

Here’s the thing…. you roll with the punches, you do what is necessary to create your vision, you IGNORE the stage directions – and if possible, get your cast to ignore them as well and you make the best show you can. Even if it means you have to tweak a few things. Tweak away and get that show done!


Even more things that will happen in rehearsal….

So… You are into rehearsal and things seem to be going well – or are they?

Sometimes this happens… you think everyone’s happy, but they aren’t. And they aren’t telling you. There can be lots of reasons for this, and there’s actually no point going into all those reasons, cause you’ll never list them all, but the point is – you need to have your Spidey-Sense tingling so that you are aware if there are disgruntled members of your cast/crew. You might not be able to do anything about it – but awareness is the key.

Illness can do it. If they feel sick, or tired or worn out or under-appreciated, (or any other version of illness that you can imagine), that can affect their mood and contribution to the project. Remember, any show should be uplifting, not a drag, no matter whether it is professional or amateur/volunteer. If someone is coming to the process and for whatever reason, they’d rather not be there, that will affect the positive atmosphere. Be ready to question it, and then, be ready to do something to affect change. That can be hard part. But, believe me, it’s worth it!

Lots of things can contribute to the atmosphere, and while it may seem like a big deal, you do need to pay attention to, and manage, the atmosphere. Plan an outing, arrange a potluck, ask people out for drinks or bring in some snacks. Even the smallest thing can make a really big difference, so do the little stuff, cause it can help you in the long run.


Things that will happen during the rehearsal process…

When you start a show, you have happy thoughts about the final product… how the show will be a HUGE hit, the tickets will be selling like hotcakes, (why do hotcakes sell so fast anyway?), and the cast and crew will be ready to go on tour for the rest of their lives.

But here’s the thing… stuff happens. It always does.

Some of it you can deal with, but much of it you cannot. You just have to be ready for it because “it” will happen. So, what do you do?

Well, first off… you need to know what might happen, so here’s a few ideas of what you can expect.

First of all… the cast you begin with is likely not going to be the cast who will finish. Someone will get sick, get married, be transferred, get a new job, get another show, move out of town, or just be disgruntled with the production and leave. It will happen. There is probably no way to be prepared for it, but you need to know that it will happen and often with the actor that you don’t expect to lose. Audition, choose the best, treat them well and cross your fingers that nothing happens in their life to mess up the process. But be ready – cause it will.

Secondly… people will get sick. They will have conflicts with the schedule – sometimes many more than you ever thought possible – or they’ll have something big happen in their life and it will mess up your schedule. Just be ready – that’s all you can do. It isn’t their fault. They didn’t make this happen. They’d probably rather be at rehearsal than dealing with pneumonia or going to a funeral or visiting emergency. Stay calm and trust the theatre gods that they are on your side.

Third… you are going to get tired. No matter your plan, no matter how well you manage the other parts of your life – YOU – the stage manager, the director – whatever you are, are completely human and susceptible to fatigue. It will happen. Be good to yourself and take the time you need to recover because you are useless to the show if you get sick or can’t function.

That’s the big deal, right? Staying on top of things. So be ready. Get yourself psyched so that you are ready for the challenges of the process – cause it is totally worth it.

I promise.


How to recover from the audition… Cause you have to bounce back.

When you’ve made it through the auditions, the callbacks, perhaps another round of callbacks and maybe a surprise where they ask you to read something you weren’t expecting… you then have to reflect on the process – and you will, because you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. (You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?)

First of all, you need to feel proud of what you accomplished, no matter the outcome. Maybe you’ve been successful and got the “part of your dreams”, or maybe you got offered a different role, or perhaps you are still waiting to hear, (that’s the worst), or the final option… we know what that one is, of course. Regardless, you’ve got to congratulate yourself. I mean it. Do it now. Give yourself a pat on the back, the audition process is one of the most difficult things you can do and you need to recognize that you did something many people never do. So, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Good. Do that for yourself regularly – because when you audition, you get a show, (or not) and then, eventually, the show is over, so you know what? You audition again. So you have to put yourself through that again. You will get better at it, each time – it all takes practice. Keep it up, keep working on the audition process and remember to congratulate yourself every time you manage to make it through another audition. Find something good in the process or you won’t keep going. And that’s the most important thing, to keep going.


Auditions: The Callback – getting ready on both sides of the table…

So, you’ve made it through all the auditions and now you have to prepare for the callbacks… What the heck, you say? More auditions – yes… sorry, more auditions.

So, if you are behind the table, what do you ask them to do? What do have prepared for them? What are you looking for from these talented people? Do you have a list prepared? Are you ready to make the tough decisions? Do you even need to have the callbacks? And if you decide that you do, can you ensure that the process is rewarding for your actors and everyone else involved? Cause it isn’t an easy time, so at least make it fun!

FIRST – be sure you have some material ready from the show (this goes back to making sure you read the script, right?), material that is challenging, fun and will show you what you need to see to make your decisions.

SECOND – have that material prepared and ready to share with your people. Is it digital? Copies? How many? Do they need accompaniment? Can you provide it for them to prepare? What is the easiest, and classiest, way to share this with your people? Whatever you do, don’t make it difficult for your actors to prepare. Ensure that they have a really good experience getting ready to sing, dance or act for you. They might not make it to the finish line, so you want them to at least have a good time at the race.

THIRD – be ready to make choices. The choices are tough and if you agonize over them too long you will start to second guess yourself. This is dangerous. Go with your gut. Return to your list of a dream cast, return to your notes and continually tell yourself…. “I have to judge them based on what they showed me today at these callbacks.” That’s all you can do. Then, make the decision and be ready to back it up.


So, what if you are on the other side of the table?

FIRST – celebrate!!! You’ve been asked to a callback. That’s impressive. No matter what the role or what you were hoping for from the audition team. You impressed them enough that they wanted to see more, so feel good about that.

SECOND – prepare! No matter what your hopes are for the show, prepare yourself to show your best performance and in your best light. You might not get the role, you might not even get the show, but if you impress, it could bode well for your future. You could be offered a role from the very first audition the next time the team sees you – people remember good work and professionalism.

THIRD – have a good time! The audition is your time to play. To show off your skill and to explore a character you may or may not get to play. Have a good time and don’t consider the outcome, you can’t control that, you can only control what you put into the audition and how you feel about it. Make it the best you can and be proud of whatever comes from it!

So, people… what are you waiting for? You’ve got to get ready, don’t you?!?

Some thoughts for people holding auditions… (make your job easier)

Auditions are HARD!!! For EVERYONE!!!

People always think about the folks up there showing they can sing, dance, act or whatever… but it is just as hard and nerve-wracking for the people who are casting the show – the ones who supposedly, “hold all the cards!” It isn’t easier on that side of the table at all!

Here’s a few tidbits of advice from my experiences….

1) TELL PEOPLE!!! What’s the point of auditions if no one knows you are having them? You need a lot of people for any show – even a simple little two hander. You want choice, right? You want selection? You want word of mouth? TELL PEOPLE! Don’t hold secret auditions. Don’t have them on a tough weekend, like a holiday or when the super sale at the mall starts… pick a good time – far enough in the future and PROMOTE IT!


2) Tell people what the show IS! Sure it might have a title they recognize, but maybe it is a different version, or maybe you are planning to set it post-apocolyptic, (please don’t), or maybe you want TWICE as many actors as normal… if you don’t TELL THEM…. they won’t come.

3) Hold the auditions at convenient times. Evenings and Weekends work for community theatre – and make sure to mix that up. Don’t do just a weekend or just the evenings. Give people multiple chances to get out to see you. You need them, don’t you?

4) DON’T hold the auditions too far away from the show. You are only hurting yourself. If your show is in December, seriously, what is the point of auditions in January? So much can happen to people in between the time of the audition and when rehearsals start. Heck, they might even forget they are in your show! About 4-5 months before your show is fine, with rehearsals starting shortly after you cast it – but remember, if they don’t know about it, it doesn’t matter when you hold the auditions.

5) TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE!!! If it is singing – tell them what style. Provide examples if you can. Do they need to dance? Tell them. Be ready to teach that. Do you want a monologue? Comedy routine? Improv sessions? Don’t be afraid to shake it up and do something different – just be ready to answer their questions – cause they’ll have them!

6) Make your requests make sense for the show. Don’t ask for a WICKED inspired power ballad if you are doing a Shakespeare, and if the show is comedic, what IS the point of a classical monologue? Seriously, know what you are looking for when you prepare that audition statement.

7) Sit down with your team and discuss your dream cast. When I say dream cast – I mean it. Dream big! Who would you cast from all time of all the famous actors you and your team know? Build that EPIC cast list, (with options) and know what it is you are hoping to see walk through that door. Be ready though – cause it just might! OR – even more exciting – something you didn’t expect will show up and knock your socks off!!! Be ready for that.


8) Prepare your banter. Know what you plan to say to each candidate and be ready with that. Have questions. Read their sheets/resumes/questionnaires. They took the time to come out and fill out those forms, have something you’d like to know about them. Be curious. Be genuinely interested in them because they are genuinely interested in you and your project. It’s the least you can do.

9) Be ready for the hard decisions. Here’s where it gets tough. The person you thought would really “bring it” might not. The unexpected will happen. Be prepared with challenges for your actors so you can know who is really going to deliver and make the project exactly what you want it to be. Don’t waste their time. They are there, working in front of you and delivering their level best. Challenge them. Have the callback materials ready – KNOW what you want to see. Then have the guts to make the tough decision and stick by it. Whatever happens. It isn’t easy. Art is never easy.

10) This should really be the FIRST thing you do… and I shouldn’t even have to put it here, but I do, cause you’d be surprised…. READ THE SCRIPT. Read it again. And then read it a third time. Make sure EVERYONE on your team has a copy. And do your best to give them time to read it. Discuss it. Have questions ready. Solve problems with it before you even audition. And if, for some strange reason, you don’t have the script and you are heading into auditions… what are you doing? Wait. Get the script. Read it. It’s the only way to be certain you are ready for the project and your people who are investing their time are also ready.

These are just a FEW tips. Do you have more? Mention them in the comments below.

Auditions are nerve wracking… for everyone.

Did you know that when you audition for a show, the people behind the table are REALLY happy that you are there? Do you have any idea how happy they are that you decided to take the risk to come out and show them what you’ve got? It’s a pretty big amount of dependency on their part to even hold the auditions, and believe me, they are really, very glad that you are there.

Auditioning is stressful – for everyone. But for the people who are behind the table, they are extremely nervous that you WON’T show up. Think about it, they’ve chosen a show, or been given a show to produce/direct/choreograph, etc. and they don’t know if the right people or ENOUGH people will walk through that door! When YOU walk through that door and bring in your positive attitude and your energy, they are excited to see you and very, very hopeful that you will be the answer to their dreams.

You could be the boy who can sing that one part of the song that is integral to the show. You could be the girl who can do the right amount of acrobatic movement to sell the big production number, or you could be the person who wants to work behind the scenes to make everything better for all the people involved in the show. And in reality – when you show them that glimmer of what makes you special – the “scary” people behind the table are absolutely THRILLED to have met you. They just can’t show it, because they are supposed to remain neutral until the whole process is resolved.

If you are lucky, you might hear some stories later on about how happy they were when you arrived, but in reality, you may never know how important you were to the production. Just always think that to yourself when you audition – “I am super important to this production. And I just need to show them that!”

If you do, you’ll be an asset to any show. I promise.

Why everyone should try an audition at some point.

“Everything you do, you still audition…” Putting It Together – Sondheim for B. Streisand

Everyone on the planet should audition for something at some point in their life. Everyone. And I think that everyone should take classes on how to audition and how to deal with the stress, nerves and anxiety of the audition space. Why? Because of what it teaches you and how you develop as a person from the experience.

Auditions are tough. Even when you’ve been at it for ages and you’ve won lots of great roles, it never stops being a difficult process. Top actors enjoy being at the top of their game because they start to get offers of roles without having to audition. Even the pros don’t enjoy it – because it is a really nerve wracking experience. But everyone should learn to do it, because everything in life is really an audition.


The obvious things are: the job interview, asking someone on a date, even shopping for a car… all of life’s experiences with other people are opportunities to leave a good impression and show others how you belong on their team. In the reverse, every little experience in life is a chance for you to audition someone else. For example: making new friends is an audition process.

Think about it – you meet them on the playground. You’ve been forced together into groups because you all meet the criteria of an age group or learning ability and you need to figure out where you fit. You try a joke – it doesn’t land. You sing a little song – one person knows the words and hates it (they aren’t on your team), while another person joins in the chorus (potential friend). You start to play a game and three of you know the rules, but have to iron out which script version you are going to use for the game… All of these are mini-auditions.

If we actually had everyone practice the skills of getting up in front of a group of judgemental strangers, (not because they are mean – it’s their job to judge you), and give them your all to impress, people might begin to consider their everyday moves and motives with a bit of a critical eye.

But more importantly, people will learn the best ways to audition. How to put that best foot forward. How to impress others. Why it is important to impress others and how to deal with the stress of that everyday judgement process.


Imagine how much easier the job interview/proposal/whatever would be, if you’d already practiced it?

Why you should (almost) always audition…

I’ve been on both sides of the audition table. I’ve done the bit where you are new and you try to break into the group, where you are experienced and hoping for a bigger role and when you are a known entity and are experienced enough to know that the community holds a dozen more like you who are just as hungry for the role.

I’ve also done the artistic team side of the table. I’ve done it when the cast is fed to you and you just need to decide where everyone fits. I’ve done it when you have a clear idea of who may be right for the part – and they may or may not decide to audition. I’ve waited in the “audition hall” hoping for the right new person to come in the door and knock our socks off so we can have an incredible production and I’ve been on that side of the table when not enough people have heard about the auditions or been inclined to show up to commit to the production. I’ve also been incredibly lucky and had the opportunity to see amazing people come through the door and had an incredible time debating over who is just right to create the magic we need for our show.

My message is clear on this though, AUDITION. Always audition.

When you have another commitment, but you really love the show – audition. They might need you and accommodate you.

When you LOVE the part, but are afraid they’ll choose someone else – audition. You might change their mind.

When you are afraid of the show/role/team/time (or whatever) – audition. You will almost never regret it.

When you are inexperienced, but think it could be fun – audition. You have nothing to lose and they might adore you beyond belief.

In short – don’t be afraid of the audition. I know it is terrifying. I’ve been there. Especially when there is a lot at stake. But even if you don’t win the role, you can OWN the room for a moment and take something from the experience on to the next audition.

Regardless, always go into the room thinking, “They need me.”

Cause it’s true.

Why the Big Bang girls owe their careers to Miss Piggy…

There are many trailblazers in the world of entertainment – especially for women. They take on new roles, challenge our understanding and break new ground in what is considered phenomenal.

Miss Piggy is one such trailblazer.

When she hit the screen in the 1970s, many actresses had limited choices in their creative output. The secretary, the wife, the sexpot or the matriarch. Miss Piggy came along and redefined all that it meant to be a woman. And now, I believe that the ladies of The Big Bang Theory have her to thank for her trailblazing performances. In fact, I think they owe their roles to her. And considering that their creator Bill Prady got his start with the Henson company, the connections seem even more inevitable.

Let’s examine them, shall we?

Penny: Beautiful, creative, sensitive/over dramatic, fashionista and looking for success.

Bernadette: Sweet, funny, delicate voice, ample bosom and can switch moods on a dime. She even scares some people.

Amy: Awkward, out of the loop, pining for her man.

Miss Piggy: Beautiful, creative, sensitive/over dramatic, fashionista and always looking for success.

Miss Piggy: Sweet, funny, delicate voice, ample bosom and can switch moods on a dime. We know she’s dangerous.

Miss Piggy: Awkward, out of the loop, pining for her man.

At least, she used to be… I guess we will see what Bill Prady and the team have cooked up for our Triple-Threat Diva as the new show comes to the air this fall! There can be no doubt that she will deliver the goods as only she can. Current and future actresses will need to take note of her character range so they can emulate her divine performances!

Will YOU be watching? You know you will.