Using Popular Music in Your Audition

Guest Blogger: Sheri Sanders is the author of Rock the Audition. This is an excerpt of her post on StageNotes. Please visit their site for her full article.

Rock Musicals are dominating Broadway. And Musical Theatre performers and their teachers are expected to know how to pick, cut, arrange, properly research, vocally style, and act authentic popular music for the purpose of auditioning for rock musicals. And “rock musicals” are not just rock. They are Motown, 70s folk/rock, disco, 80s pop/rock, contemporary pop and rock and alternative rock. In 2011, Hal Leonard invited me to write a book so that I could reach educators and their students all over the world to de-mystify the rock audition with easy tips, references, tangible tools, and a DVD demonstrating the different styles currently represented on Broadway. I include interviews with the top directors, music directors, casting directors and composers of the hottest rock musicals on Broadway. When I sat in on all the rock auditions in the three months I wrote this book, the consensus was the same in every room, no matter what the style.

Keep reading this article on StageNotes.net.

Rock the Audition defines what is required of the actor-singer to succeed in the audition room and gives the aspiring performer the tools necessary to interpret rock material with abandon, creativity, and inspiration. This book shows those interested in auditioning for a rock musical how to holistically embody the essence of the show for which they are auditioning.

Visit rock-the-audition.com.

Musical Theatre Audition Tips

Andrew Gerle
Audition Tips from the “enraged accompanist” Andrew Gerle
Andrew Gerle is the author of The Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition (Applause Theatre and Cinema Books)

1) Make sure you know what you want the accompanist to play before you start singing. That means if there’s a piano intro, know what it is, when you come in, and how to get your note. If you want something other than the intro that’s in the music (like a bell tone), make sure it’s clearly written in the music.

2) Know how to give the accompanist a clear tempo. This is something you’ll want to practice with a pianist, because giving tempos can be difficult – sometimes, the vocal part has a lot of rests in it and you’ll want to sing the piano accompaniment instead.

3) Put some fresh time in with the text of your song(s). Are you really honoring every word and making each phrase mean something unique and important to you? Why is your character singing this song right now, and not yesterday, not two hours from now? What does your character hope to accomplish, express or figure out by the end of the song? Remember, the auditioners (or “tablepeople”, as I call them) aren’t looking to hire your voice, they’re hiring you, so make sure your personality is shining through on every line!

How to start a song:
Andrew Gerle giving advice at the Drama Book Shop in New York City:

Sheri Sanders
Audition tips from Sheri Sanders
Sheri Sanders is the author of Rock the Audition: How to Prepare for and Get Cast in Rock Musicals (Hal Leonard Books)
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The Hook:
Sheri Sanders giving advice at Samuel French Bookshop on Jan. 21, 2012:

Andrew Gerle and Sheri Sanders give their tips on TV:

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The Books

Enraged Accompanist
Andrew Gerle
is a composer, accompanist, and playwright. He is the composer of six acclaimed musicals, and his opera “The Beach” was excerpted by the New York City Opera in May 2011. A sought-after vocal coach, he has worked at NYU’s Tisch Graduate School of Acting and is currently a lecturer at the New York Film Academy and Yale University. For more information, visit andrewgerle.com.

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Rock the Audition


Sheri Sanders
is an actor, singer, and teacher. She created her master class, “Rock the Audition,” in 2004, and since then has become a premiere rock-audition and rock-music repertoire coach. She travels extensively, teaching students and their instructors the art of holistically capturing the essence of the rock musicals prior to audition.  For more information, visit rock-the-audition.com.

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Event: Sheri Sanders Helps Oklahoma Rock the Audition

Free book signing at Barnes and Noble with Sheri Sanders, author of Rock the Audition: How to Prepare for and Get Cast in Rock Musicals (Hal Leonard Books)
When: Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7pm
Where: Barnes and Noble in Norman, OK
Sheri Sanders will be giving advice, taking questions, and signing books.

Rock the Audition – LIVE!
When: Tuesday, Dec. 13th at 6pm
Where: AMC@UCO Performance Lab 329 E. Sheridan, Oklahoma City
Rock musical guru Sheri Sanders will sing, talk about rock music and pop culture and invite you to get up on stage with her and she will adjust your rock musical audition songs! Live!. Only $5.

What’s Sheri like on the radio? Listen to this interview on Book Expo America!

Rock musicals are an increasingly dominant force in contemporary musical theatre. Rock the Audition defines what is required of the actor-singer to succeed in the audition room and gives the aspiring performer the tools necessary to interpret rock material with abandon, creativity, and inspiration. This book shows those interested in auditioning for a rock musical how to holistically embody the essence of the show for which they are auditioning.

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Visit Sheri Sanders on the web at rock-the-audition.com
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