What it’s like to audition (and be in) a school play

The spring musical is the highlight for the theater department. This year, The Addams Family will be a hit. Maybe you should get involved… Here’s what to expect.


Kassandra Haakman

A Grease rehearsal from the 2018 Spring musical. Pictured: Charlie Price (18′), Trystan Brown (’20), and Cam Vining (’20).

Olivia Elisha, Staff Writer

Every year after the holiday break, Theater Director Mrs. Elisha holds auditions for the annual spring musical.

This year, she decided to do things a little differently and hold auditions for The Addams Family musical before the break. With auditions quickly approaching, some people aren’t sure what to expect.

Learning from previous years, Mrs. Elisha decided that the early auditions would be ideal, because after Christmas break actors would have roles, scripts, and could start working on music if they’d like, which in the long run will help rehearsals go smoother and cause less stress around show time.

When you ask anyone who’s been in a musical, you never hear about one crucial component: the audition. Actors always focus on the rehearsals or the actual show. They’ll tell you how much fun it was, from developing the persona they play on stage to the chaos that happens behind the scenes. But the audition process is one of the most important parts of being in a show.

Being in a musical is thrilling. It builds confidence, nurtures creativity, and fosters friendships. Over the past 16 years, many students have told me that being in the school musical was a rewarding experience they will always cherish.”

— Mrs. Elisha

Saint Stephen’s auditions are very different compared to other schools or even community theater auditions. Auditions are run by Mrs. Elisha, Ms. Jurgensen, and Ms. Hambrick.

Prior to auditions, the actor must fill out a form asking for their availability and what roles they’d like to be considered for. During the actual auditions, there are two main components: a song that the actor is prepared to sing, and a reading for a character if the actor would like a lead role.

Being in a show is a large time commitment, so actors who are interested in a lead role must dedicate even more time than members of the ensemble.

When picking a song for an audition, the song should be a representation of the actor’s vocal range (how high or low they can sing). This can help determine lead roles, especially for characters who have particularly high or low ranges. For those interested in a lead, a good choice is either a song from the musical, or a song from another musical that’s sung by a similar character.

It shows how you would portray the character on stage, which can help you get the role you want. Along with singing, the music teachers will sometimes have the student match pitch in order to get a better sense of the actor’s vocal range and how well they can stay on a pitch.

The final step of  auditioning for the musical is a reading. Mrs. Elisha prints out specific scene from the show for each of the lead roles. If the actor would like to play a certain role, she will have them read for that character, in addition to any other characters that she would like them to read for. This is the actor’s chance to show off their acting skills, giving them a chance to show off how they’d portray the character if they were to play that role during the show.

In regard to an actual audition, junior Meg LaFollette said, “It was a comfortable and supportive, in the sense that is it was so casual and with a group.” 

As the theater program continues to grow there are a few changes Mrs. Elisha would like everyone to know about.

“In the past everyone that has auditioned has been offered a role. However, because the program is growing, auditions may require cuts if there are not enough roles available,” Mrs. Elisha said.

There are a few mandatory things that you have to be able to commit to beforehand in order to be in the musical. Students typically have to come to four rehearsals a week with exceptions for games. There are also a few dates that everyone in the cast is required to attend.

March 17th is the tech rehearsal, where the entire show will be run from start to finish in costume with lights, sound effects, and all music. Performances will be on March 20th at 7:00 PM, March 21st at 7:00 PM, and March 22nd (two performances at 4:00 and 6:30). If you can not attend all of these dates, you will not be able to be in the musical.

Some students don’t see that being in a musical has benefits besides doing something fun with their friends. Mrs. Elisha has been involved in theatre productions her entire life, always performing in one way or another.

According to Elisha, “Being in a musical is thrilling. It builds confidence, nurtures creativity, and fosters friendships. Over the past 16 years, many students have told me that being in the school musical was a rewarding experience they will always cherish.”