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What an "Open Audition" Is Really Like

DANG GUYS. I recently attended my first open call audition. This is more of a musical theatre world thing, which I have been much more open to as of late. In musical theatre you can be “equity” which means you have earned up enough equity contract points and have gotten in to the union, OR you can simply be “non-union." An “open call” is an audition that anyone and everyone can go to. I had seen the ad a couple times and kept putting it on my things to think about list. The night before I had a change of heart, I had the audition day off anyway. It was a call for two local regional theatre's entire seasons so a good opportunity for sure. “How bad could it be?!” I thought.

The next morning, I got there a half hour early. There were already a ton of people there!! I couldn’t believe it! My friend Keely and I got there at the same time and I was #93. Still not too bad. We saw our friend Grace, she had arrived at 7AM and was number 8. I didn’t even know you could go that early. Even so, if each audition was slotted for two minutes long I would probably still be out of there by one.

CURVEBALL: Then the equity people start showing up. And keep showing up. They get pushed to the front of the line. More and more of them come. When all was said and done around 40 of them came and were seen before any of the numbered non-union people. An hour ticked by, two hours. They finally start on the list.

1PM: They are on #20. Right before the break they come out to say they are reducing everyone’s audition time to 1 minute long . They tell everyone to make cuts in their song or monologue. They also announce they'll be taking an hour long lunch... UG. By this point I have already been here for more than five hours so I feel like I committed myself to staying.

I make a new friend. ((Hi Allison if you are reading this!)) She made it a lot more bearable to wait the day. I try to get other things done but the whole atmosphere is so distracting that I really only manage to get a couple of blogs done and try not to wonder if I could have spent the day doing other things.

2:25: They are on the 50s now. I try not to let crippling doubt creep in. “I will stay, I will stay” I tell myself. People start warming up the stairway. Desperation is high. Some people are sleeping on the floor. At this point it looks like a ton of people have left.

2:53: They call 77-91 I’m gonna make it!! I casually warm up in the stairwell.

3:15: FINALLY. They call in ten of us at the same time. I get to watch the three people in front of me, which I actually find to be quite terrifying. It's something about being in the presence of all the other nervous excited energies that basically throws my fight or flight off the deep end. I deep breathe and smile, trying to trick my body. When it is actually my turn, I get up and don’t feel very nervous at all! I sing one minute of “Love Look Away” and just like that, it's finished!

Walking out of there almost felt like a dream, had that whole day even happened?! What an experience.

Lessons if you ever go to a open audition:

  1. If they say the auditions start at 9, you can show up wayyyy earlier to get a good spot.

  2. Be ready to make a last minute cut on your song or monologue to adjust to a new timing

  3. Bring snacks, something to keep you occupied, and a good attitude(you’ll need it).

  • Post audition opera therapy with my favorite people