As an actor you have the opportunity to travel and work in cities all over the world, but most professional auditions, no matter what theater they are for, take place in New York City. The audition room in NYC can be a portal to so many new, exciting places, or, it can give you the chance to perform and live in the same place - the most coveted and rare scenario!
Three of the things I audition for most often in New York are:
- Broadway Shows. Both upcoming shows, and to be a replacement in shows that are currently running.
- National Tours. Same deal - new shows, or to be a replacement.
- Regional Theaters. These are theaters that operate under Equity rules and produce their own shows in cities around the country. You might have one or many in your hometown! Some examples are The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA, The Goodspeed Opera House inEast Haddam, CT, The St. Louis Muny, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, American Repertory Theatre (ART) in Cambridge, MA, and American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, CA, to name just a few!
When auditioning in New York, you will not only have different kinds of theaters to audition for, you will have different ways to audition for them! Auditions are broken up into different categories and each category has it’s own rules and procedures. The most common audition formats include:
This is when your agent sends you to an audition at a specific time, usually having had you prepare material (songs and scenes) from the show you are auditioning for, or your own song in the style of the show you are auditioning for.
-Equity Principal Audition (EPA)
These auditions are for lead roles. You will sign up for a time slot the day of the audition at the audition location. At your chosen time you will go into the room alone and perform the material the casting team has asked for on their official audition notice.
-Equity Chorus Call (ECC)
These auditions are for ensemble roles and are broken up in to ‘Dancer’ and ‘Singer’ categories - males and females each have separate auditions. For ECCs, you sign up at the Equity office up to a week ahead of time, or just show up the day of the audition. For singers, the day of the audition, you sign up on a list organized by a ‘Monitor’ (a representative from the Equity office) and go in one at a time in order. For dancers, you sign up in the same way, but go into the audition room in groups based on the order you signed up. Group sizes vary, but are generally 25-30 at a time. You go in, learn a combination all together, and then perform it in small groups for the auditors.
There are a few set locations where auditions most commonly occur. These are privately owned studios with pianos, mirrors, and dance floors in large office buildings in/ near midtown. Some of the most popular studios include Ripley Grier, Pearl Studios, Nola, Chelsea Studios, and the Actor’s Equity Center. Theaters can rent out their rooms for auditions, rehearsals, classes, etc. This means the studios are often bustling like a backstage area, filled with people in jewel toned dresses and nude heels running between rooms to fit multiple auditions in one day, or setting up camp to wait after signing up for their time slot in the morning. Many times I’ve done just that - often to avoid trudging back and forth through the snow after getting my hair and makeup just right - hah!
Because there are so many types of productions to audition for, and so many ways to audition for them, you can keep yourself very busy and audition almost every day of the week! I think it is important to audition as much as possible, because it is a skill that requires practice. It is also essential to meet, and be seen by as many casting directors and theaters as you can. If you are feeling in tip top shape, why not put yourself out there?!
Stay tuned for posts about how to find out about auditions, and how I prepare for them!