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Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00

The Comic, Comedy Spaces, Comedy Agents

 

In stand-up comedy as opposed to traditional theater, differences occur not only in performance style and telling jokes, but in also what are different performance situations. Theater audiences in voyeur mode, sit in relative silence, while comedy club audiences can be a bit more engaging with the performers onstage. But a common notion that stand-up comics are spontaneous in their performances as opposed to actors who must closely follow a script might not quite be the case. Although many professional comics alter their acts on a regular basis, and often make jokes off the tops of their heads, a good portion of what makes up their show is tightly scripted.

The Catch-22 of getting paying comedy jobs is that in order to work you need to be good, but in order to be good you need to work. And since a club owner is always looking to fill seats every time the club opens its doors for a performance to justify the cost of an event, if not to make money overall, it certainly helps if the comic has a following which can be a matter of passing around a mailing list at club dates, using the media to generate press coverage, and/or networking and winning awards.

There are places you can perform in while you are developing your act, self-starting strategies to create work, and places to perform where you will get paid.


Places to Perform when Starting Out

When starting out, comics perform wherever they can. Places you can perform in while you are developing your act include amateur nights, where a great majority of stand-up comics begin their careers sometimes performing for weeks, months or even years.

In the beginning of your career you will most likely not be performing under conditions you have control over. In comedy clubs, the choice spots are usually reserved for the pros, and the up and coming are relegated to the graveyard shift. Often, you will be performing at 1:00 a.m. Under these circumstances, you have to make adjustments. Other performance venues can include:

  • Performing in parks and on sidewalks
  • fund raisers and benefit shows
  • comedy festivals
  • television appearances
  • comedy night at local hotel
  • roasts
  • creating your own events

 

Video as a Tool to Land Work

Get a video of yourself performing in front of an audience. The tape should be no longer than 20 minutes. Put your best jokes first , and stay away from filler, such as "Where are you from". Don’t edit the tape. The club owner wants to see exactly how you work with an audience without any special video effects.

 

The Right Pictures

You also need an 8 x 10 glossy black-and-white picture of yourself. A simple head shot on a white background will do. A club owner wants a face shot, because the newspapers are more likely to print that for publicity than an out-of-the-ordinary kind of picture.

 

Agents who Handle Comics

Admire Presentations, Inc.
170 West 76 Street, Suite 101
New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-580-4128

APA (Agency for the Performing Arts)
888 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-582-1500

APA (Agency for the Performing Arts)
9000 Sunset Boulevard, 12 Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: 213-582-1500

Ambassador Artists
P.O. Box 50358
Nashville, TN 37205
Phone: 615-352-2500

Arne Brav Associates
1143 Arno Road
Franklin, TN 37064
Phone: 615-791-1213

Banner Artists International
1650 Broadway, Suite 508
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-581-6900

Bernie Young Agency
6006 Greenbelt Road, Suite 285
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: 301-937-2600

Bill Feggan Attractions
131 North Second Street
Raton, NM 87740
Phone: 505-445-5528

The Blade Agency
P.O. Box 1556
Gainesville, FL 32602
Phone: 352-372-8158

Buddy Lee Attractions
38 Music Square East, Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-244-4336

Celebrity International
1020 16 Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
Phone: 615-259-3400

Coconuts Comedy Productions
12016 Lagoon Lane
Treasure Island, FL 33706
Phone: 813-360-7935

Comedy Connection
3004 Semmes Avenue
Richmond, VA 23225
Phone: 804-232-3181

Comedy Line Productions
2378 Calvin Extension, #4
Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: 716-822-4356

Comedy West
1206 Mill Creek Boulevard, C-201
Mill Creek, WA 98012
Phone: 206-485-4674

CAA (Creative Artists Agency)
1888 Century Park East, Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 213-277-4545

Creative Booking Service
5009 Monroe Road, Suite 103
Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: 704-532-1980

Creative Talent Consultants
333 North Broadway, Suite 3011
Jericho, NY 11753
Phone: 516-433-6588

Lil Cumber Attractions
6515 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 300A
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: 213-469-1919

Dana Pennington Associates
8721 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 213-850-1909

DCA Productions
437 West 44 Street
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-245-2063

DMR Booking Agency
The Galleries of Syracuse, Suite 250
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: 315-475-2500

Eastcoast Entertainment (ATL)
1780 Century Circle
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404-634-0016

The Entertainment Connection
401 Pennsylvania Parkway, Suite 104
Indianapolis, IN 46280
Phone: 317-575-5777

Entertainment United
64 Division Avenue
Levittown, NY 11756
Phone: 516-735-5550

Fireball Entertainment
P.O. Box 1769
New York, NY 10025
Phone: 212-666-6881

Fleming/Tamulevich and Associates
733-735 North Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48114
Phone: 313-995-9066

Funny Bone On Tour
734 Westport Plaza, Suite 275
St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 817-265-2277

Funny Business Agency (Canada)
1280 Bay Street
Toronto Ontario
Canada, M5R3LI

Funny Business Agency
4519 Cascade Road
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616-949-7387

G.G. Greg Agency
1288 East 168 Street
Cleveland, OH 44110
Phone: 216-692-1193

Gary Grant Talent Associates
P.O. Box 928
Port Washington, NY 11050
Phone: 516-744-9547

Gersh Agency
P.O. Box 5617
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 213-274-6611

The Gilchrist Agency
310 Madison Avenue, Suite 1003
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-692-9166

Greater Talent Network
150 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1002
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-645-4200

Hollander-Lustig Entertainment
321 North Lake Boulevard, Suite 103
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Phone: 407-863-5800

ICM (International Creative Management)
40 West 57 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-556-5600

ICM (International Creative Management)
40 West 57 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-556-5600

In-June Talent
1800 North Highland Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: 213-465-9135

Irvin Arthur Associates
9363 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 212
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 213-278-5934

Jackman & Taussig
1815 Butler Avenue, Suite 120
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 213-478-6641

The Joey Edmonds Agency
2669 North Building
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 312-871-1444

Just for Laughs Agency
22 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Phone: 415-383-4746

Knapp Comedy Promotions
P.O. Box 838
Highland Park, IL 60035
Phone: 708-433-8669

William Morris Agency
1350 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-586-5100

William Morris Agency
151 El Camino Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: 213-274-7451

NY Entertainment
221 West 57 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-586-1000

Omnipop
223 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 200
Mineola, NY 11501-1606
Phone: 516-248-4019

Omnipop
10700 Ventura Boulevard, Suite C
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 818-980-9267

Prime Time Entertainment
2 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 210
San Ramon, CA 94583
Phone: 415-820-2379

Progressive Artists
Beverly Hills, CA
Phone: 213-553-8561

Pyramid Entertainment Group
89 Fifth Avenue, 7 Fl.
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-242-7274

QBO Entertainment
48 East 50 Street, 4 Fl.
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-752-8040

Radioactive Talent
476 Elmont Road
Elmont, NY 11003
Phone: 516-315-1919

Rick Morgan Entertainment
132 Norwalk Avenue
Medford, NY 11763
Phone: 516-654-0507

Roger Paul Agency
581 Ninth Avenue, Suite 3C
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-268-0005

The Snikkers Agency
1905 Powers Ferry Road, Suite 240
Marietta, GA 30067
Phone: 404-971-9292; 404-935-3633

Spencer-De Francis
P.O. Box 5946
Denver, CO 82017
Phone: 303-279-4310

Spotlite Enterprises, Ltd.
221 West 57 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-586-6750

Spotlite Enterprises, Ltd.
8665 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 208
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone: 213-657-8004

The Stephen Gingold Agency
245 El Camino Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: 212-557-1021

Terry Lichtman Company
12456 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 818-761-4804

T.H.E. Agency
Tracy Hubley Entertainment
125 South Clark Drive, #3
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 213-550-1125

Treehouse Comedy Productions
354 Connecticut Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06854
Phone: 203-855-9910

Triad Artists, Inc.
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, 16 Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 213-556-2727

TSM Artista Management
P.O. Box 4129
Louisville, KY 40204
Phone: 502-459-5532

Turner Talent Network
8940 North Malibu Drive
Bayside, WI 53217
Phone: 414-351-0060

Yvette Bikoff Agency
9255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: 213-278-7490

 

 

 

The Paying Gigs

Comedy Clubs

Terms to Know

Afterpiece. In eighteenth-century London theatres, a short comedy performed after a five-act tragedy, providing comic relief for the audience.

Billing. The size of an actor’s role such as starring or guest starring. Also, where the actor’s name will be placed in the credits and if the name will be shown on the screen alone or with others.

Booker. An agency employee who sets appointments for talent/models.

Double-take. An exaggerated facial response to another actor’s words or actions, usually used for comic effect.

Laugh Track. The laughter of a live audience of a situation comedy or other television show that actors are performing in front of, that is recorded to be played back when the show is aired..

Mimicry. An actor’s ability to sound and/or look like someone else, usually a famous person.

Self-Contained Artist. An artist who writes and performs his or her own material. Also refers to artists who require no production or personnel assistance from promoters.

For a full glossary listing click here

The best place to start a comedy career is at your local comedy club. In nearly every city there is a comedy club. Usually these clubs book three acts a week. In most clubs, the opener gets 10-20 minutes; the middle gets 20-30 minutes; and the closer gets 35-60 minutes. Most clubs have at least one night a week for newcomers, and very often the opening act is booked from these slots. After gathering at least 20 minutes of solid material on video, try to make a connection with the booker by phone or by letter before mailing your tape. It is not necessary to have been on television to get booked into a comedy club. But don’t expect a lot to happen, and tapes are not usually returned. Club owners on the average get a hundred calls a day and 60 tapes a week. Avoid performing at the top comedy clubs until you have really developed your act. Producers and directors are always in the audience in the major clubs in Los Angeles and/or New York, and first impressions are lasting. If you are from a small town, stay there until you are ready. Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia are good comedy workshop towns where you hone your skills.

Colleges

A comic who has 60 minutes of jokes that are clean material, and has an act that appeals to college students can earn decent dollars in the college market, even with no television exposure. College bookings are organized by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). Each year NACA sponsors 11 regional conventions and one national convention that is held in February. At these conventions, comics showcase 20 minutes of their act before a group of 400 to 2,000 students who are directly responsible for booking you. At the showcase, all performers’ prices are set and made available to the buyers before the convention. In the Exhibit Hall each agency maintains a booth with publicity, prices, and availability of the acts they represent.

The best way to participate in the college market is to submit a 20 minute video of your act to the NACA selection committee through a college agent. This videotape needs to show how good you are, what you can do, and how well you appeal to the college audience, and it needs to do all of this in three minutes, because that is they can be expected to view of each tape.

A comic can choose to be self-represented at a NACA conventions , but would have to contend with the expense involved in maintaining a presence there. Not only do you have the expense of airfare and hotel, but you have the added expense of developing quality promotional materials and maintaining a booth in the Exhibit Hall. According to NACA, acts that have representation have a much better success rate than that of self-represented acts. College agents usually charge 20 percent.

Most college agents will ask you to submit current press materials (8 x 10 glossies, resume, bio, clippings) and a video. The college market is good to approach when you have an hour of clean material that appeals to college students (material on cafeteria food, fraternities, teachers, dorms, etc.). If you do manage to get a gig before you are ready and you don’t deliver, it could mean a bad first impression. Also, know that there is a tremendous amount of travel involved.

Industrials

Corporate enterprises will hire comics to entertain at their meetings or conventions, but they are known to be careful when making a selection. Most companies do not want to risk hiring anyone too controversial. A comic in this field needs to have 40-60 minutes of material that has good jokes with a broad appeal.

Cruise Ships

Certain agents book comics exclusively on cruise ships, although many ships prefer to book the comic directly. In order to be considered to work cruise ships, you need to have three different 20 minute sets of clean, non-controversial material. You need to have three different sets because on a ship the audience stays the same. Generally, a comic will only work a few nights a week on a ship. To apply, you send the cruise ship company a videotape with two totally different 25-minute sets.

Hotels, Casinos, Concerts

Most of the big rooms in hotels and casinos are reserved for comedy’s brighest stars. But it does happen that a newcomer opens for a headliner and ends up playing some of the bigger rooms.

Television

At some point in their career, most comics will get at least one opportunity to be looked at by a TV show’s bookers. Naturally, to heighten your chances of landing the gig, you should have acquired a good amount of experience in the field before presenting your material at an audition. Doing your act on television can be a very different experience from the clubs. In most TV studios, the studio audience is far away from you, and sometimes there is no audience at all. In this case a comic needs to know how to relate to a TV camera - possibly leading to training for television acting.

Star Search

TV’s Star Search is a talent showcase that will book a comic without an agent or union card. If you would like to be considered for Star Search, send in a tape that is over 5 minutes long, but less than 30. They will look at all tapes. Sometimes Star Search will book comics from audio tapes , sight unseen, as well as from auditions across the country, even in small town comedy clubs. They usually will take a club owner’s suggestions.

Getting Cast in TV and Film by Doing Stand-up

Casting directors and network casting executives all go to stand-up clubs to discover talent. But just because comics do well in stand-up doesn’t mean that they will know what to do when they walk into a casting director’s office and are handed a script to read. Rule of thumb guidelines that can aid a stand-up comic at a reading include the following:

  • Don’t do your act in an office, but invite the director to come down and see your show the next time you are performing. Stand-up belongs onstage, in front of an audience, not in front of a desk;
  • Take acting classes to enhance or amplify whatever it is about you that piques the interest of casting directors;
  • Send postcards/ecards to casting directors to notify them where and when you are playing. Casting directors want to find new talent. They always want to be the one who discovers a new talent and so they are very responsive. If the casting director cannot go, possibly someone from the office will be sent.

 

 

Relevant Associations & Organizations

Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA)
P.O. Box 4340
Sevierville TN 37862
Phone: 800-681-5031
The APCA is a national campus buyers organization that holds showcases and supplies entertainment information to campus talent buyers throughout the United States.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.apca.com/

Association of Talent Agents (ATA)
9255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 930
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: 310-274-0628
Fax: 310-274-5063
Trade association composed of approximately 100 agency companies engaged in the talent agency business. The membership includes agencies of all sizes representing clients in the motion picture industry, stage, television, radio (including commercials) and literary work.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.agentassociation.com/

The Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX
Los Angeles Inter. Airport Center
203 World Way West, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: 310-645-3716/202-610-5700
Fax: 310-645-0317
The USO (United Service Organizations) is chartered by the Congress as a non-profit charitable corporation, it is not a part of the United States Government. The USO mission is to provide morale, welfare and recreation-type services to uniformed military Personnel.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.uso.org

National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)
13 Harbison Way
Columbia, South Carolina 29212
Phone: 803-732-6222
Toll Free: 800-845-2338
NACA has evolved into the nation’s largest collegiate organization for campus activities with nearly 1,200 member colleges and universities, and more than 600 associate member talent agencies, performers and product specialty firms working in the college market.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.naca.org/

   
   

 

For a full listing of helpful associations and organizations click here 

 

 

 

The professional singing actor must master performance techniques for the musical theater stage, cabaret, nightclubs, and other musical venues. But when the primary goal is to act, how many new skills you will need to develop depends on several factors: your age, your experience, and your vocal range and facility. If you are a character actor or actress, you may not be required to sing and dance as well as someone who is auditioning for the chorus. In all likelihood, the singer auditioning today for a Broadway show or summer stock company would be not only expected to sing well, but also move like a dancer, performing intricate choreographic routines, while having the flexibility to adapt to a variety of performance styles. Actors who can sing are in demand because many musicals written since the 1960s require both strong acting and good singing. Anyone who can act, sing, and dance well is even more likely to be cast in many shows, making dance lessons a worthwhile investment.

Because of the many skills required in musical theater, and the fields of popular music and films, serious, rigorous, and focused training are necessary to realize development in the field. One common strategy is for the student to gain entrance into a school that stresses his or her strongest attribute (for arguments sake, acting) and then attempt to catch up on the skills of dancing and singing later on. Alternatively, the musical performer can gain experience along the way through the experience of performing in public. For this, open mike nights at various piano bars, night clubs and cabarets can prove an invaluable platform.

The Need for Singing Lessons

Singing lessons can improve your chances of landing a role in a musical or in some commercials. Seasoned actors often take singing lessons to continue improving their voices. Beginning actors may take singing lessons just to expand their range and enable their vocal projection.

Even if you never land a singing role, learning how to sing can, at the same time, teach you how to breathe, how to project your voice, and how to modify your voice to achieve different intonations. And all these skills help improve your overall delivery as an actor.

Consider taking dance lessons in addition to voice lessons. At the very least, dance lessons can teach you how to move gracefully, while improving timing and coordination. With enough hard work in this area, you can confidently audition for roles in musicals that require elaborate dance routines. Some actors even specialize in specific types of dancing such as jazz, ballet, swing, or ballroom dancing to better their chances of landing a role.

Singing lessons give you a chance to practice audition songs, or new songs you are learning for a role, and to receive professional feedback while you are doing it. Many singing teachers usually host musical get-togethers for all their students once a month or so. At each gathering, several students perform songs they have been working on. Doing so can be invaluable experience for beginners who may still be shy about performing in front of an audience. The teachers will usually ask other students to comment on each performance as well. Some may love what you have done, while others may have helpful criticisms to offer.

The Right Singing Teacher for You

Finding the right singing teacher can be a matter of trial and error. In major cities you will have a great many teachers from which to choose, so you will want to ask people you know for their recommendations. The truest test of a good teacher is whether or not your singing improves as your lessons continue. If you practice faithfully but are not getting anywhere, then you need someone else. It can also happen that a teacher is right for you only up to a certain point. You may improve to a degree, and then find yourself stalled. That can mean that the teacher does not have the advanced expertise to coach you on a higher level -- something a good teacher will admit. Then it is time to move on to someone with a different approach or greater experience. After working with a voice teacher and building up a workable instrument, the singer or actor needs to find a good vocal coach to continue their development

Be wary of any teacher who constantly criticizes your choice of new songs. It is one thing for a teacher to say that you JomSocial, EasySocial or CommunityBuilderare not yet ready for a particular song, but if the teacher just does not like your taste in music, there might be a problem. A good teacher will try to educate your taste, but should not say no to everything you want to sing. That can be a generation-gap problem that arises because the teacher does not like anything composed after a certain musical era. Sometimes a teacher will say no to a difficult song because it is so difficult to play. If you think your teacher is rejecting songs because they are hard to play, find someone else.

Shall We Dance... Shall We Dance... Shall We Dance

You may be one of those people who can pick up the steps of the latest dance craze in a minute, and end up teaching it to all your friends. Natural ability is certainly a starting point when it comes to dance, although the intricate movements and timing required for the presentation of stage musicals requires tremendous training, focus, and structure. Many people can dance to popular music at parties, dance halls and even sidewalk street acts (known as a busker) with what amounts to crowd pleasing effect.

Often, other dancers or viewers will even stop and form a circle around a couple or group of performers that is really good. If you have got natural dance ability, you can do a lot more with it besides impressing friends and strangers. Terrific dancers are harder to find than terrific singers. And you can improve your singing a lot easier than you can your ability to dance. Few people have equal natural ability in both the vocal and the dance areas, but if you are great at one, you might not need the other.

Terms to Know

Air. The Vamp, the Verse if there is one, and the Chorus (composed of "8s"), ending with the Rideout, constitute the component parts of the printed sheet-music copy. But there is music that exists between the sung lines ("fills") that can be described as the "Air" in the song. If "Air" is recognized as "music without words," the Vamp and Rideout, too, must be listed as "Air" pockets.

Arrangement. The adaptation of a composition for performance by other instruments and voices than originally intended.

The Chorus. The Chorus is the song. Its melody is all. At the turn of the century, and continuing into the sixties, Choruses were compared and shaped within thirty-two bars of music.

Cover Record. Another artist’s version of a song already recorded.

Groove. Rhythm or tempo that helps create the "feel" of the song.

High Note. The highest note sung in a particular song which varies according to the musical key of the song.

Lyrics. The words to a song.

Modulate. To change from one key to another in a song.

Performing Right. Rights granted by U.S. copyright law which states that one may not publicly perform a copyrighted musical work without the owner’s permission.

The Rideout. The Rideout is the music that begins on the downbeat of the last word of the song. Just as all songs have a Vamp, every Chorus comes packaged with a Rideout.

Song Plugger. One who auditions songs for performers.

The Vamp. All printed copies of songs begin with a few bars of music called the Vamp or Intro. It is recognizable as the first musical statement at the top of the copy and it is further identified by the absence of a logic.

The Verse. The Verse follows the Vamp and is the first vocalizing of the text of the song. The Verse seldom contains heavyweight musical material. Since it is so scored in order to give preeminence to the information contained in the lyric, most often Verses can be ad libded without effort.

 

For a full glossary listing click here

Few people are equally good at all kinds of dancing. To start with, your body type, as well as innate talents for timing and coordination, may be better suited to one kind of dancing over another. Many people who are not coordinated enough to be very good tap or ballet dancers can still excel in such ballroom dances as the waltz, the tango, and the fox-trot. Of course, ballroom dance professionals who compete in contests across the country, are in another category, and they usually have tap and ballet backgrounds as well. If you are generally well coordinated and graceful, you may be able to dance well enough in a short time to carry off a particular role.

When the Performance Counts, Finding the Right Songs to Sing

When performing before a group you wish to impress (perhaps at a piano bar or a jam session), and especially if you have knowledge talent scouts are in the house, problems can arise when anyone sings a big hit by a top singer. A simple piano accompaniment may not have the same kind of effect that the professional recording does. Even if you have a voice that is on par with the star who made the song a hit, there is going to be a very different effect with a piano. It is important that you practice whatever song you are going to sing as you will sing it at the audition that way, you won’t be surprised at the sound just when it matters most.

When performance counts (like perhaps at an amateur hour show or awards presentation), it is risky to try and assume the image of a fabled singer in a legendary performance. Even with strong rehearsal, singing a great or latest hit could be a mistake, if only because you can invite comparisons with the original singer. When auditioning for musicals, it is also wiser to stay away even from older songs that are strongly associated with a particular singer. Signature songs may not be on the radio at the moment, but you can be sure that almost any director (or auditor) will have some historic familiarity with a show or movie that made a particular performer a star. You simply stack the odds against you when you compete with the fond memories of a signature song, so save them for the shower.

Some Basics for a Singing Audition

At an audition, if a role involves singing, be ready to sing a song or two so that the casting director can evaluate your singing range and voice. If a particular role requires an accomplished singer, the casting director may hold a separate audition just for singers. Then, those singers who pass that audition may need to go through an acting audition as well.

At an audition, an actor trying out for a nonmusical can be expected to read from the script of the play he or she is up for. If it is a play that has been done before, and if the play is published, that actor can stage a fairly good reading by getting a copy from the library. If it is an original play that has never been produced before, and the actor is expected to give a "cold" reading, the actor is usually given a half hour to prepare. It is highly unlikely that the actor would be required to memorize the part; actors seldom memorize their lines until they are way into rehearsals. This, of course, is because so much will change during the rehearsal period.

Contrast this with the actor/singer auditioning for a musical. He or she is not only expected to read from the script, but is expected to sing, and perform fully from memory, two staged musical numbers complete with gestures. In addition to this the actor/singer must be prepared to "move" for the choreographer. Although actor/singers are not expected to dance as well as dancers, they must move gracefully on stage. Dancers, on the other hand, although not expected to be the world’s greatest actors (they usually are never asked to read unless speaking roles are being cast from the chorus), are expected to sing well.

Obviously, auditioning for a musical requires not only all the acting skill and training that the actor has acquired from years of diligent work, but it demands additional skill as well, some of them costing at least as much time, effort, money, and training as acting classes. The cost of years of voice lessons can be high, as is the cost of all the classes dancers must take in jazz, tap, modern, and ballet. Even actor/singers must invest in movement classes. Add to this the cost of a vocal coach and accompanist. All these are quite necessary if one wants to have a career in the musical theatre.

Just as you should memorize a monologue, you should also memorize a song, preferably one from a musical rather than a popular song. Unless your role requires a substantial amount of singing, you may not have to sing an entire song, but rather 16 bars as a sampler of your abilities, but come prepared just in case.

At a theatrical audition (and certainly a performance), you may have the benefit of a wireless microphone to amplify your voice. But you should still be trained to project your voice loud enough for everyone to hear in case you don’t have a wireless microphone or if the microphone happens to fail sometime in the show.

 

 

Relevant Associations & Organizations

 

American Composers Forum (ACF)
332 Minnesota Street, Suite East 145
St. Paul, MN 55101-1300
Phone: 6510228-1407
Fax: 651-291-7978
The American Composers Forum is committed to supporting composers and developing new markets for their music, through granting, commissioning, and performance programs. Useful links page.
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http://www.composersforum.org/index.html

American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)
4400 Mac Arthur Boulevard NW
Suite 306
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-337-9325
Fax: 202-338-3787
Union that represents professional musicians.
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http://www.afm.org/

American Music Center (AMC)
30 West 26th Street, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10010-2011
Phone: 212-366-5260 ext.10
Fax: 212-366-5265
The American Music Center (AMC) is a national service and information center for new American music.
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http://www.amc.net/

Association for Independent Music
925 W. Baseline Road, #105
Tempe, AZ 85283
Phone: 480-831-2954
Fax: 480-831-2955
A professional trade organization supporting the independent music industry by providing business opportunities for its members through an annual convention, ongoing information services, educational resource materials and advocacy.
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http://www.afim.org/

Chorus America
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-331-7577
Serves the spectrum of professional, volunteer, children/youth, and symphony/opera choruses by providing information, publications, conferences, consulting, training programs, surveys, networking, and awards to support choruses in North America.
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http://www.chorusamerica.org

Country Music Association (CMA)
One Music Circle South
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
Phone: 615-244-2840
Fax: 615-726-0314
Objectives of the organization are to guide the development of Country Music throughout the world; to demonstrate it as a viable medium to advertisers, consumers and media; and to provide a unity of purpose for the Country Music industry.
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http://www.countrymusic.org/default.asp

Dance/USA
1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 820
Washington, DC, 20005-1726
Phone: 202-833-1717
Fax: 202-833-2686
Advances the art form of dance by addressing the needs, concerns and interests of the professional dance community through journals, monthly member bulletins, specialized listservs, and a collection of studies and booklets.
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http://www.danceusa.org/

Gospel Music Association
1205 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-242-0303
Fax: 615-254-9755
As an umbrella organization, the GMA provides an atmosphere in which artists, industry leaders, retail stores, radio stations, concert promoters and local churches can coordinate their efforts for the purpose of benefiting the industry as a whole
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http://www.gospelmusic.org/

Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation
55 Bethune Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-691-9751, ext. 30
Multi-faceted support group for dancers, musicians and media artists.
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http://www.merce.org/

National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS)
3402 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: 310-392-3777
Dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers. An organization of more than 11,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals, The Recording Academy is internationally known for the GRAMMY® Awards.
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http://grammy.aol.com/

National Music Council
Founded in 1940 and chartered by the 84th Congress in 1956, the National Music Council acts as a clearing house for the joint opinion and decision of its members and represents the United States to the International Music Council/UNESCO.
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http://www.musiccouncil.org

 

For a full listing of helpful associations and organizations click here