I teach high school theatre, so my actors are constantly auditioning, they walk in freshmen year and don’t stop auditioning until they graduate. I’ve had Milwaukee based directors ask about my graduated seniors and I’m honest about how well they work with others. You are not only constantly auditioning in High School, but in the real world as well.
I worked at The Lost Colony one summer on Roanoke Island, North Caroline and it was my personality and hard work that got me a role in the musical Nunsense up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Director of Nunsense was friends with one of the main actors in The Lost Colony. As soon as the actor heard I was auditioning, he told his friend he had to cast me because I was easy to work with, hardworking and nice. Nowhere in there did they talk about talent. If you are going into the industry you’re going to have talent, but what will set you apart? What will make people want to work with you? It’s your personality, it’s your essence.
I worked professionally as an actor in my teens, Francesca Zambello changed a role in the opera The Little Prince because she loved working with me so much and needed me in her opera. Now, I never got to a point where I didn’t have to audition (like my husband did before he started teaching), but at auditions, people knew me and told me they wanted to work with me. The theatre world is small, I meet people all the time from NYC or LA who know people I’ve worked with in Milwaukee, Rome, Ireland and the southern states. Don’t do yourself the disservice of ruining your chance because you were horrible to work with somewhere else.
This brings me back to the high school level, in school you traditionally have one or two directors you need to work with, here at HHS we have as many as five depending on the show. Your attitude outside of rehearsal directly impacts the roles you get in shows. Down in the 700 wing, there are four teachers who talk about their amazing students and the people they are frustrated with. Productions are huge deals and we can’t work with kids who mess around in class or disrespect the directors/teachers. We don’t have time for that.
So do you want to know the secret to getting into the show and possibly getting the part you want?
- Be nice all the time, just be a genuinely good person
- Be nice to your teachers to their faces and behind their backs (BE NICE)
- Do your work in class and be a leader, be someone others look to in a positive way, not the class clown. Don’t be a distraction and don’t be a mearn gossip
- Be available, you have to be present at school and rehearsals to get in, if you have too many conflicts, we can’t work with you.
Of course, there are other factors, but these four are the biggest, directors would rather work with a hardworking less talented human than a talented diva who refuses to listen. Everyone is replaceable and there are always other people ready to take your place.
Remember to just live as a decent person and you’ll be fine.
By: Amelia Figg-Franzoi