An actor’s audition book can be as valuable as a first born child. My audition binder is filled with ready-to-go sheet music, ordered by genre and era, all suiting my personality and my type as an actress.
Does your audition book need a facelift? Here are some valuable tips and inspiration to get the ball rolling.
1. Identify actors/actresses similar to you
What else did (insert actor/actress’s name here) sing on Broadway? Off-broadway? Regionally? Cabarets? Youtube is your best friend. This is the perfect way to find new material that suits your type.
2. Research songs from popular summer stock shows
If you’re auditioning in the year 2017, you’ll probably come across Beauty and The Beast, Newsies, Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins (DISNEY is on fire lately), Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Oklahoma, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, A Chorus Line etc. It’d be smart to find music that suits these shows.
3. Identify and fill in the gaps
What eras of music are you missing? Genres?
If you had an audition for an 90’s Pop Rock operetta today, a traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein musical tomorrow, a contemporary musical theatre audition next week and a new Disney musical that same day, would you be ready with music to cover all the bases?
4. Embrace the most popular composers of each era
Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Lerner and Lowe, Bock and Harnick, Cole Porter, Alan Menken, Andrew Lippa, Ahrens & Flaherty… you’ll always be in good hands with classics by the most popular composers in musical theatre.
5. Solidify clear cuts for the pianist
Whether its 32 bars, 16 bars, 8 bars, or the full song, make sure that puppy is clean and ready-to-go at any moment. This is the golden rule in my book, but often forgotten by young actors.
If you made a cut, as shown below, make sure the title of the song is written legibly at the top. Highlight music if necessary. Run the cut with a pianist before bringing it to an audition.
6. Make a Spotify playlist
Spotify is perfect for browsing original Broadway cast recordings, revivals, covers, etc. Make two playlists, one for the songs that you have currently in your book, and one with songs you are interested in adding to your book.
7. Find your money song
This is the song you absolutely love to sing. You feel great when you perform it, you sing it in your sleep, you can’t get enough of it. This song fits you like a glove and showcases you in your best light.
8. Digitize your book
You’ll thank me later when you leave your audition binder full of precious music on the subway and its lost forever. Take some time to scan your music and upload it to your computer through iCloud, google drive, dropbox, etc.
The sooner, the better.
9. Get rid of the unnecessary
Do yourself a favor and don’t wait until the last minute. Eliminate 1) the songs you despise and 2) the songs you haven’t sung in years. These especially won’t serve you when the creative team asks for them and you can’t remember the lyrics.