Audition Advice for Young Actors

I always have students and parents asking questions about auditions, so I spoke directly to some director and music director colleagues who have seen countless auditions.  Here is the advice that came up most frequently!

1.  Choose a monologue or song that is age-appropriate, and appropriate for the show you’re auditioning for.

“Pick something that shows you’ve listened to the show you’re auditioning for – that is in the same style – don’t sing Rodgers and Hammerstein if you’re auditioning for Godspell!”

“I never again want to hear a 9 year old girl sing, Let me Entertain You [from Gypsy].”

2.  For a musical audition, choose a song from (surprise, surprise) a musical.

“I don’t like hearing pop songs… no more Call Me Maybe!

“I’m “old fashioned” in wanting a song for a musical theatre audition to be from a MUSICAL. Not a pop song, not a rock song – unless that’s what is explicitly requested.”

3.  Make sure you’re adequately prepared for your audition.

“During auditions for [show] last year, the song of choice seemed to be “My Strongest Suit” from Aida… Trouble is, it became the running joke that no one seemed to know all of the words – we heard so many butchered versions…”

“Whatever you’re going to sing – KNOW IT WELL. KNOW the lyrics, KNOW the notes – I would rather have a song that’s performed well and showcases the singer’s true voice any day!”


Here are some songs and monologues that seem to come up frequently in auditions (meaning, we’ve heard them seventeen billion times).  Perhaps you might want to try something different. 😉

“Popular [from Wicked] is going to be banned from my auditions.”

“[I can’t stand]…all Internet based monologues like… Neverland 911.”

“Overdone monologues: Max Bialystock in The Producers and the “tuna fish” monologue from Laughing Wild [by Christopher Durang].  Overdone songs: “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own” [Les Miz], “Heaven on the Mind” [Jesus Christ Superstar], “Superboy & The Invisible Girl” [Next to Normal].” 

“The monologue from Mean Girls beginning “Let me tell you about Janice Ian.”  Not only is this monologue overdone, but I actually find it offensive out of context (though I enjoy the movie and the monologue in context).”

Here are my personal choices for overdone monologues and songs:

Overdone Monologues:
– The “falling down the rabbit hole” speech from Alice in Wonderland
– Dorothy waking up (“and you, and you, and you were there!”) from Wizard of Oz
– Anything from Anne of Green Gables
– Luisa’s “I am special” monologue from The Fantasticks

Overdone Songs:
– “Maybe” or “Tomorrow” from Annie
– “Over the Rainbow” from Wizard of Oz
– “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Toy Story has been one that comes up a lot lately
– “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry
– “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele (and that’s a really hard one to sing… I’ve heard it sung badly SO many times)

Do you have any songs or monologues that you’ve heard seventeen billion times?
Share them in the comments!

Photo Credit: Malcolm Miller

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2 thoughts on “Audition Advice for Young Actors

  1. inkscrblr

    I almost helped Miss P pick a crappy one apparently. Good thing she has better instincts than I do apparently. It must be a hoot sitting in there hearing the auditions.

    1. The monologues themselves are not crappy. I’ve just heard a lot of them many, many times! And to be honest, I’ve had young actors perform these very monologues at auditions and go on to win big parts.

      And the thing is, I’ve sat through more auditions than most. What sounds the same to me could be brand-new to someone else!

      If the actor can bring something new and fresh and unique to the piece, then use it! If it’s just easy or convenient, it may be better to pick something else.

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