Friday, March 12, 2010

Are you Using the "Overdone"?

Friday musings...

Thanks for your patience about me being MIA!

Are you falling for the "overdone" material at auditions?

Joy Dewing, CD with Clemmons Casting gave me permission to re-print her note on facebook about SETC auditions. Scroll down to read it in its entirety.

I thank Joy for writing this from her side of the table. It brings up how so many singers are just not paying attention to what needs to be done in that audition room!

If something is in "vogue" try to stay away from it, or if you must use it cause it really shows off your strengths, then really make it yours!!! Don't mimic!! Find a way to present it so it shows what YOU do.

What often happens in these auditions - SETC as an example - is that singers tend to look amateur in how they choose repertoire and how they present it.

If you look amateur by your repertoire choices - overdone rep, the same old rep, the mimic'd rep, - and you present it that way, you will be dismissed.

Dare to find your individuality and dare to move into repertoire that shows off what you do well RIGHT NOW. Don't think you need to be something else other than YOU.

You can't get into a CD's head - you aren't going to know what they like or what they don't like. It doesn't matter! They don't need you to try to impress them! Do what you do, and do it with authenticity. Show through your choices and your execution that you have done your work and your research and know your strengths and are willing to claim them!

Being recognized, being called back means WORK and EXECUTION of showing your individual strengths and your ability to deliver what you say you have. Whether you are an emerging artist or a seasoned professional, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!!! Don't make excuses as a young performer that you don't have enough experience - the knowledge is there to harness! Do your work!!!! Prepare!!! Deliver!!! Show you have done the work and are willing to do what it takes to prepare yourself for what comes next!

Most Overdone Songs/Monologues at SETC Spring 2010
Top Songs:
Take a Chance on Me
Run Away with Me
I Gotta Run
Neverland (Scott Alan)
Mama Says
Forest for the Trees
Not for the Life of Me (still)
Gimme Gimme (still)
everything from Wild Party
Screw Loose (this has been HUGE lately, and it's just not a good audition song -- kind of like Privilege to Pee -- just screechy and annoying)
Here I Am
Astonishing (still!)

Top Monologues:
Joan Cusack's monologue (Is there, oh, ANY OTHER TIME you could have told me this?) -- this has been VERY popular for at least three years now. Give it a rest.
Squeaky Fromme from Assassins
Darleen Dances
Bridal Registry from A My Name is Still Alice
Belize's monologue about the national anthem from Angels in America
Mom's Ashes from I Think I Love You -- I can't BELIEVE this is STILL so popular... it is really getting ridiculous
Murder Your Fish/Mess up your life a little... don't know what it's from but it must be in a monologue book somewhere because DAMN
Diana from Moving (Quaker school... awards... someone is going to prick your bubble)

Now, let me just say again that I am GENERALLY not one of those people who's against doing familiar material; HOWEVER, the problem with most of the material listed above is that it shows a complete lack of creativity and familiarity with the theatrical repertoire, and it makes us think you are lazy. Also, when you do extremely demanding songs like "Astonishing", it is more likely to highlight your weaknesses than your strengths. Or worse -- it shows that you are completely delusional. If you do not have the right type of voice for a song but you do it anyway, it makes you look bad. Let me say that again: IT MAKES YOU LOOK BAD. There are thousands upon thousands of great songs out there, so why would you pick a huge screaming high belt song if you are a mezzo soprano with a beautiful, rich, low voice?

Do your homework and pick material that you not only LOVE to perform, but that FITS you as well. Show what you do well, not what you WISH you did well. And don't be lazy -- read plays, not pre-packaged monologue books; and listen to shows from before you were born, not just the Billboard Hot 100 Musical Theatre Songs on Campus. I know you LOVE Scott Alan, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Pasek & Paul, Joe Iconis, etc.; but please dig a little deeper and get to know the repertoire, not just the fads. I'd rather hear "If I Loved You" 100 times a day than "Neverland" (Scott Alan) 5 times a day.



  1. I love that list!! So good to hear this from a CD. I kinda wanna stab myself in the ears the next time I hear "Gimme Gimme" at an audition.

  2. I guess I'm flattered that the opening monologue to my play, "Darleen Dances," is overdone. It would be nice if the play were overdone. It has only had two productions ... that I know of. Sometimes playwrights are the last to know who's doing their work.