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Pet Peeve: Dressing for an audition (even if it’s a high school show)

This subject is one of my pet peeves. While I embrace the ideas of younger generations, I do have my own prejudices when it comes to putting in the effort to prepare for things like job interviews, meetings and – in this case – auditions for the high school musical which are coming up in December.

Some of you may know I have a side job directing children’s theatre in my community. It staudition-imagearted at a PTA meeting years ago when I saw a friend from my theatre days presenting information about his elementary school’s spring production. It was my son’s elementary school, too. Being a glutton for punishment, I volunteered to be his stage manager and have been doing theatre work in my hometown since 2005. I jokingly say “glutton for punishment” because Paul is the best person to work with and we work well together. We come from the same place with regard to how we learned our trade. Those little things make a huge difference as to whether one gets the part in the adult world, little things we both try to teach our students when we have them in front of us at a rehearsal.

One of these little things is dressing for the job or, in this case, the audition to get the job. As a high school student, the ‘job’ is the part you want in the show I am casting. While there are many things that go into getting the part you want such as talent, how hard you work and your reputation as a person who gets along well with others (namely your cast), one of the things that I notice is how much work you’ve put into looking presentable when you show up at auditions. The best way to explain this is to give you two examples of students who auditioned for the last show I directed this past spring. One had another commitment she had to attend before auditions, so she ran home to shower and change into a dress and brush her hair before she came to my audition. The other (and actually many others) showed up in sweatpants and even pajama pants, a t-shirt and no makeup. Some even had unwashed hair. Now, I ask you, who am I more likely to cast if they have the talent and all of the other stuff mentioned before going for them? The one who took a moment to try to look their best. That shows me they care about being in the show and aren’t just showing up because a parent wants them to audition.

With that said, I love that girls aren’t as concerned as my generation was about making sure their makeup is perfect or even that they have makeup on at all. Their natural beauty as a teenager shines through without covering their face with makeup. I get that and I love that attitude, but unless they have somewhere they have to be five minutes before they walk in my door or if they don’t drive and someone has to drive all over the state to get them home to change, they can make an effort with their appearance before they come in the casting room rather than walking in looking like a hot mess who can’t be bothered to find a clean shirt and take the extra step of ironing it even if they forego the makeup. That’s all I’m saying.

So, future theater kids of mine, take a moment to look in the mirror before you come to your audition appointment for any audition you have. It might just get you the part!

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