Have a musical theatre audition? Here’s our preparation checklist

Being prepared for an audition is essential in order to have the best shot of winning that coveted role. ALEXA TERRY’S checklist explains how to calm audition jitters and ensure that you’re ready and waiting when those opportunities arise.

The Sacred Folder

Just like Batman needs Robin, you need your trusty sidekick: a repertoire folder. A reliable repertoire folder includes a selection of songs which marry with what you are offering as a performer, and which highlights an intelligent understanding of what you could bring to a show. The songs should, where possible, show off your range. If not, you may be asked to sing scales, and no-one wants to sing a 5-tone AH if they don’t have to. In a recent BAST webinar, vocal coach Natalie Andreou said: “Having a repertoire folder means that you eliminate any of that unnecessary worry.” Auditions are stressful enough, so having your sidekick at the ready means you are always one step ahead for any casting.


Forget Polly who you have known since 1991 – the pianist is your bestie. Ensure that sheet music is sellotaped neatly and that all cuts are marked out clearly. Set your tempo, and don’t fire daggers in their direction if they make a mistake.

Make an impression, don’t be an impressionist

Colour your audition piece in a way that exhibits your abilities, and which is carved from your own hands. Of course, you have to follow the melody and convey the composer’s intention but be conscious that you are not offering a carbon copy of the original artist.

Singing is one element, but storytelling and being emotive should not be forgotten. Research into the context of the piece is essential as you may be asked questions such as:

  • What’s your character’s name?
  • Where are they?
  • Why is your character singing?
  • What happens next?

Breaking audition news

“Creatures described as ‘casting directors’, recently thought to have descended from Planet Xen, have been confirmed by biologists as regular humans…”

The likes of casting professionals and producers are mere homo sapiens – like us. Most do not sit with a crate of tomatoes ready to throw at any peasant performer who disappoints them. Rather, they are willing you to do well and share an understanding that auditions can be exposing. So, enter the room with confidence and leave any feelings of intimidation at the door.

Performance opportunities

Audition workshops can be beneficial as, not only are they a networking opportunity, but you receive constructive feedback regarding your approaches and get an insight to the process from the perspective of the casting directors. The more exposed you are to the audition situation and the more experience you have performing for an audience, the easier it will become. Audition workshops crop up regularly, so keep an eye out on social media platforms or company websites for future events, and consider trekking along to an open mic night with your sidekick in tow.

It’s all about you

Self-belief and authenticity are important tools in your preparation kit. There is no point trying to whip up a spaghetti bolognese when you have the ingredients for chicken fajitas. It’s likely that you will produce an inedible mess that your guests kindly decline. In other words, don’t try to be something you aren’t, because the thing that you are might be the very thing that a casting panel is hungry for.

Auditions are like marmite: you either love them or hate them. But, regardless as to whether you run cold with fear at the thought of auditioning for top casting director David Grindrod, or are dizzy with euphoria when called in by the formidable Pippa Ailion, preparation is the key. With a reliable repertoire library, polished skills and self-worth in check, you have the tools to give the best audition you can. And your best is enough.


Alexa Terry is a vocal coach, singer and writer based in Hampshire. She initially trained in Musical Theatre obtaining a BA Honours Degree from Bath Spa University and has since performed as lead vocalist onboard Aida Cruises, and for new musical theatre projects in London’s West End. Alexa regularly reviews for BritishTheatre.com and studied with Book, Music and Lyrics (BML) as a Musical Theatre librettist.