At the final callback, they grouped us and it was pretty clear that there was an A-team and the alternates. I was in the alternate group. They danced us again, and asked us to stand in our groups while they talked. I knew I was in the group to be cut – you just know these things.
I put my biggest smile on my face, looked at the auditors, and thought, “You want to hire me! I’m a lot of fun to work with! I’m the sort of person you want on tour!”
As it happens, my counterpart in the other group was someone I’d been up against before – sometimes she’d get the job, sometimes I did – and she was having a bad day, scowling and slumping.
The stage manager said, “Thank you very much,” but the director immediately said, “Just a minute, if you don’t mind.” He switched my counterpart and myself, dismissed the group I’d just left, and congratulated the rest of us as having booked the show. I went on to book the only female chorus role (Hattie, the maid) and the Kate understudy.
My audition advice?
Know your material cold.
Be responsive to the “rules” (if they ask for 16 bars or a one-minute monologue, give them that and only that, they can always ask for more – and have more ready just in case).
Don’t waste their time (they’re looking for a middle-aged Asian person and you’re 16 and Caucasian? don’t go).
If you’re given a dance combination or music to read, learn quickly.
Listen listen listen to the auditors.
And never underestimate the power of a smiling face.