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How To Get Into Musical Theatre

A few weeks ago, we discussed how to start a singing career in contemporary music. Today we’ll cover how to get into musical theatre. The path to getting into the musical theatre world is all about solid training, practice, and going on audition after audition. Once you have plenty of musical theatre vocal training under your belt, here’s what you can do next.

Invest in some acting and dance training.

For musical theatre, acting and dancing are just as important as singing, and the performers who can do all three are the most marketable.

Get head shots taken.

Head shots are photographs from a person’s shoulders up. For professional auditions, it’s important to bring your head shot with you so they have a way to remember what you look like when making casting decisions.

Build a resume.

For most auditions you go on, you’ll need to bring along a resume that includes previous theater work, training, and anything else that might be relevant to getting the role. Skip irrelevant information, like the office job you have or the botany degree you just received. At first, it may not seem like you have anything to put on the resume, but include what you do have, even if it’s just your vocal training and that one recital your first vocal teacher put on. For some great tips on how to build a resume, check out this Actor’s Resource page.

Go to musical theatre camp.

For kids, summer musical theatre camps and workshops are a great way to build confidence and add to your resume. The most prestigious ones are by audition only, but there are plenty of good ones you can attend with no previous experience. Try to find one that includes acting, singing, dancing, and some sort of performance at the end.

Join a children’s theatre.

Children’s theatre is great for kids, because they have the opportunity to star in roles usually reserved for adults. Some are audition only, but others invite all kids to participate, even if some are only given a small role. Click here for a list of children’s theatres in Orange County.

Audition for local theatre.

Grab a copy of Backstage if you’re on the East Coast or Backstage West if you’re on the West Coast, or go to backstage.com to look for local auditions. Look for roles that are appropriate for you, and go audition! If you want to begin with a little less competition, you can start with community theatre and work your way up to local equity shows.

Be careful with equity cards.

Think carefully before taking an equity card, a card proving your membership in the Actors’ Equity Association. While it’s tempting to take it at your first opportunity so that you can get paid and be a professional actor, it limits the roles you’re allowed to take in non-equity playhouses and may make it harder for you to find places to perform. If you want to perform a starring role in a non-equity playhouse before trying to make your way in the much more competitive world of equity, you may want to hold off. Once you’ve had your fill of amateur theater though, take the leap and start regularly auditioning for equity shows!

Go for the big time!

Once you feel confident with your skills and experience, go for the big time! Audition for national touring companies, and maybe consider moving to New York City one day to try to make it on Broadway. Some Broadway musicals now do their casting online, so look out for audition notices!

Trying to make it in musical theatre? We’d love for you to share your experiences and questions in the comment section.

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