I heard a Casting Director Say...

I heard a Casting Director Say...
Sunday musings...

I heard a casting director from a major company in NYC say last week "I would rather hear what you sing WELL, not what you think I want to hear."

What?!??!!? Could it be?!?!?!? Is there a chance?!?!?!?

Could singers actually sing 'in the style of the show' without micro-managing their repertoire and sing WELL instead of sing REQUIRED?!?!?!

A collective sigh and rejoicing can be heard...

HOWEVER - then it demands the singer to say - what DO I sing well?  What do I DO well to show off?

Perhaps, the micro-managing of the audition book has taken you away from what you DO and made you concentrate on what they WANT.

Time to get back to YOU.

Yes, there are CDs that are tired of hearing overdone material - but if I can be so bold - one of the possible reasons they are tired of it is that it is not presented with any kind of freshness, of style, of personal stamp, but rather, presented safely, or imitated, or done "in the style of" the singer with whom we associate the role.

If you are going to present "overdone" repertoire - then you better do it YOUR way!  Make a CD think "oh god, not again" and then when you are done,  they say "WOW! I like that song again!!!"

So, if CDs are wanting to hear YOU - then you better know WHO "YOU" IS!!!

What are your strong suits?  What are the weak ones?  What do you want them to SEE and HEAR and what are you still working on and need to shadow back?

What type do you want to show through YOUR sound and YOUR presence?

If you are being REAL about that - and you need a teacher and coach (sometimes the same person, sometimes 2 or 3 different ones) to help you find this reality - then you can find the repertoire that SHOWS that IMMEDIATELY.

Audition material in Music Theatre isn't about a long arc - it is about letting us see it NOW. What speaks to you, why, how do you get it across in 16 bars, what does it show, is it strong enough, present enough and powerful enough to make that impression?!

If you hesitate AT ALL - put that cut in another binder.

All your audition cuts need to show you VIVIDLY, for a specific reason, and because YOU WANT TO SING IT, not because you think they want to hear it.

So, start being RUTHLESS with your audition material!  Go through your current stuff and see how it holds up.

First, simply ask the questions:
1.  What do I do well vocally?
2. What do I do well musically?
3.  What do I do well stylistically?
4.  What do I do well dramatically?

Make a list - you may have more than one answer to those questions!!!

Then, the second set of questions:

1.  What scares me vocally?
2.  What scares me musically?
3.  What scares me stylistically?
4. What scares me dramatically?

Again, the list might be short or long - no rights or wrongs!!! BE HONEST!

Then, go into your current repertoire as AUDITION CUTS.

1.  Do I like singing it?  If not, throw it out.
2.  If I like it,  what does it show about me vocally?
3.  Musically?
4. Stylistically?
5. Dramatically?
6.  Does it WOW or is it beige?
7. Does it evoke type? Is it evoking anything?  Is it what I want them to see?

Start here.  Be BRUTAL.  HONESTY will allow you to find the best cuts that you feel connected to, want to sing, want to perform and want to WOW with.  If you feel beige about a cut, chances are, so will a CD.  There will be nothing about your audition that resonates, if it doesn't resonate with you first.

Think of re-vamping your audition book like you would purging your closet.

Don't think you MIGHT wear that outfit someday if you haven't worn it in 2 years or more.  GET RID OF IT!!! Make room for something that is YOU and that you will ENJOY.

If that audition cut is "a nice catch-all 16 bars"  that doesn't show anything outstanding, then there is a reason you aren't standing out!!!

EVERYTHING in your audition book has to have a STRONG REASON FOR BEING THERE!!! AND YOU MUST ENJOY IT!!!! You MUST get excited about it!

If YOU are excited and motivated to perform and sing, this shows in the room.  NO MATTER WHAT.

Take in what is YOU.  Know YOU.  EMBRACE YOU.  Be realistic and then put it to task and show what you CAN DO!!!

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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