Getting a Part in the School Play or Musical

Congratulations on deciding to try out for the school play or musical! What a great — and fun! — way to make new friends and learn new skills, which include working with and communicating   with others, time management, memory retention, creativity, and even construction (if you help the stage crew build the set) and fashion/sewing (if you assist in costume design). And don't forget about the confidence you'll build by being onstage, performing in front of people!

But how do you get into the play or musical, get the part you want, and overcome anxiety during auditions?

First, when you hear an announcement or see the first sign hanging around school announcing an audition for the next play, find a minute to approach the director (most likely it's a teacher) and let him or her know you're interested. If you've never met this teacher before, introduce yourself.

Next, read the play's script. The director might have one you can borrow, or go online or to your local library to pick one up. Read it carefully several times. It will really help when you're reading a scene during the audition because you'll understand what happened leading up to your scene, and you'll know where the play is going next. While you're reading, find a character that jumps out at you that you want to audition for. You might even go back to the director and ask for auditioning tips especially for the part you want. If nothing else, this will show the director that you're serious.

Next, practice! Practice in your room, in front of your friends and family, wherever you can. Recite your lines for anyone who will listen. Get into the part you're reading, because now's really the time to overcome any shyness.

Ready for your audition? Here are some tips:

  • Speak loudly and clearly and project your voice. If you're auditioning in the auditorium, remember that the people in the last row of seats need to hear and understand you.

  • Don't be afraid to look stupid or too dramatic; that's why it's called acting!

  • If you're auditioning with someone else who's reading, be sure to really listen to them and react to what they say. Do more than just read your lines.

  • Know the character(s) you're trying out for. Be ready for the director to ask you questions about them. If you're trying out for multiple parts, be sure not to get the characters confused!

Finally, don't be upset if you end up not getting the part you wanted. Most plays and musicals have character parts (the funny kid, the evil butler, the quirky sister). These roles, while often small, are the roles the audience remembers. Be supportive of those who got the leads or the part you wanted, commit to making the most of your role, and the director will be impressed. This could pave the way for a bigger role in the next production.

Break a leg!