Equity Principal Auditions for Newbies

New to New York City? Want to get your foot in the door but don’t know where to start? Allow me to introduce you to the Equity Principal Audition.

Actors Equity Association, the union representing 51,000 stage actors and stage managers, provides a wide range of benefits for its members. One of the most important bonuses includes auditions run by the union. Equity Principal Auditions and Equity Chorus Calls are required by the union for any production or theatre that is run under an Equity contract.

Equity Principal Audition

So, what's an Equity Principal Audition?

Otherwise known as EPAs, Equity Principle Auditions are casting calls for leading and featured roles in a production or season of productions. Though they are technically auditions for lead characters, you may be considered for any role.

These auditions are required by the union for any production or theatre that is run under an Equity contract.

Can I go to an EPA if I am non-equity?

According to Actors' Equity, "actors who are not members of Equity are welcome to attend Equity auditions as our guests, provided that the casting personnel at the audition are willing to see non-Equity actors at that audition. There is never any guarantee that any non-Equity actors will be seen at an Equity audition."

Will an Equity monitor be at every EPA?

An Equity monitor will be present only at principal auditions that are being run according to these EPA procedures in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. When principal auditions are not required by Equity, the producer may choose to utilize these procedures after consultation with Equity. 

How do I sign up for an EPA?

Equity members can sign up online through the Equity Portal beginning one week before the audition. Four of the six appointments in each 20‐minute time slot will be available for online sign‐up. 

AEA members can also sign up the morning of the audition, starting one hour before the call. Two of the six appointments in each 20‐minute time slot will be available for in‐person sign‐up on the day of the EPA. If you choose to sign up the morning of the audition and you arrive before the call starts, you must wait in line in order of arrival with the other Equity members. The monitor arrives one hour before the audition to sign people in.

*If the audition is at any other location besides Actors Equity Association, ask where the line ends so you can get in line properly.

If you are EMC, you must sign up with the Equity Monitor on the EMC list before the midpoint of the scheduled EPA. When you sign up on time, your EMC privilege continues throughout the scheduled EPA. After the midpoint of the scheduled EPA, you may sign up on the regular non-Members list. To be signed up on the EMC list, you must present your own EMC card, signed in ink, to the Equity Monitor. 

*If the audition is at any other location besides Actors Equity Association, EMC members will line up amongst Equity members. Ask where the line ends so you can get in line properly.

If you are non-Equity, I suggest getting to the audition a few hours before to sign up on an unofficial list. Once the monitor arrives, you should make sure to transfer your name onto the official list.

Open Call Audition

What if I’m not there when the monitor calls my name?

If an Equity member is late or misses their scheduled appointment time, they are permitted to sign up for a new appointment (if appointment times are available) or sign up on Alternate List A.

If an Equity member misses their alternate slot, they may add their name to the end of the alternate list for another opportunity to be seen.

If you are EMC and you don't respond when the Monitor calls you to audition, your name must be crossed off the EMC list. If your name is crossed off, and you give your card to the Monitor again before the EPA reaches its scheduled midpoint, the Monitor will sign you up again at the bottom of the EMC list. If your name is crossed off, and you want to sign up again after the EPA has passed its scheduled midpoint, please sign up at the bottom of the non-EMC non-Member list.

If you are non-Equity and you miss your name being called, you must signed up at the end of the non-Equity list.

What material do I need to prepare for an EPA?

Most EPAs will ask for one 32-bar cut of a song or a short song in the style of the show (or season of shows). Some will ask for a 16-bar cut of a song and a one-minute monologue. Some may ask for a short monologue. Some may ask you to read from sides provided at the audition.

Be sure to keep your audition under two minutes and always bring a headshot and resume.


For more information on Equity Principal Auditions, read here!

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