As a self-proclaimed theatre nerd, I spent my life performing in choirs and musicals from the age of ten. I love to perform, but auditions make me nervous. My throat gets really dry. My face flushes. I shake uncontrollably. I always feel a little faint when my name is called. I have fallen and tripped on stage during an audition, but I have never passed out during an audition. Yet.
I pack the same things for every audition because I am a true type A personality. I bring water, cough drops, chapstick, lipstick, powder, and a binder. I wear a similiar outfit to every audition – black pants and a red shirt. Red is my confidence color. I combat my nerves with organization and planning in advance. If I have everything laid out, then my main focus is just on the audition itself. Arrive a few minutes earlier than is required for the audtion to give yourself a chance to mentally prepare yourself.
Hydration is key. It makes you glow, and it helps your vocal cords whether speaking or singing. Bring water and cough drops to help get rid of the cotton mouth feeling. Do not drink an entire liter of water or you will have to go to the bathroom during the middle of your audition. Drink throughout the day. Take a bathroom break before your audition.
Gum is useful to get rid of the cotton mouth feeling as well. If you are like me, you chomp it really loudly. You never know if it will be a pet peeve of the director, so leave the gum in the car. If you are like me, I cannot chew gum without dropping into character. I played a gangster’s moll in Anything Goes. She chomped gum loudly, and she walked with an exaggerated hip roll. She had a Brooklyn accent. Bonnie comes out when I least expect her, so I avoid gum at auditions.
Stretch before your audition even if you are not dancing. This helps you literally shake and stretch the anxiety and the jitters out of your body. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you breathe in and out of your mouth, you will hyperventilate and get dizzy.
Smile and make eye contact with each member of the production team. Announce your name and the name of the piece that you will be reading. Take a deep breath and begin to read. Remember that the production team knows what it is like to be nervous about sharing a story. We are here to hear your unique story, and it is a privilege to witness your story. Break a leg!