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THE SPECTATOR

The Student News Site of Berkley High School

THE SPECTATOR

The Student News Site of Berkley High School

THE SPECTATOR

What Does it Take to Audition for a BHS Musical?

Berkley High School’s theater department, BeDrama, puts on amazing shows year after year. Their flawless performances are a result of tireless, hard work from the cast and crew. This isn’t only during performances or rehearsals, but begins as early as the auditions. The auditions allow for the director, Mr. Hopkins, to perfectly pair an actor and a role together to bring a character to life.

For that to happen, the auditions are extensive, acutely testing the talents of the cast. This semester, BeDrama is putting on a production of the Legally Blonde musical. While auditions for the fall play consists only of two monologues, the spring musical auditions are more comprehensive, including one monologue, two song cuts, and a dance.

Mr. Hopkins provides actors with songs and a dance for their audition. Each actor has to perform two cuts of a song, which are a minute each. There are two song cuts for every character. For example, senior Charley Burnes auditioned for Paulette, so they sang Paulette’s portion from both the Bend and Snap song and the reprise of Ireland. On the other hand, senior Stella Krzysiak auditioned for Vivian so they sang different cuts than Burns.

In contrast, all auditioners are given one dance they have to learn. Krzysiak explained that they have an “awesome choreographer, Molly, who comes and sends us a video of the dance.” This year’s dance was to a 30-second clip of “Omigod You Guys” from the Legally Blonde soundtrack. The students then had to independently learn this dance and record themselves doing it.

Although the aforementioned were provided, the actors have to find their own monologue for the audition. This monologue can be from anything, but Kryzsiak explained that “usually they have a requirement like it has to be funny, or dramatic, and under a minute”. Krzysiak stated that this is the “worst part of auditions because it is so hard to find a good monologue”. This year, after extensive searching, they auditioned with a monologue from Thoroughly Modern Millie, about a girl who plans to marry her boss to become rich. Burns auditioned with a monologue from a one act about a girl who would rather be a man. They picked this because they thought it fit the journey and plotline of Paulette, who Burns was auditioning for. Although finding a monologue is hard, Burns calls on their friend who owns a theater to help out. Burns explained that, “I always go, ‘Hey, I have this very specific thing that I need a monologue for’. Since she has read a million books and gone through all of the stuff, she usually gives me a couple of options, and then I just kind of pick whatever I think is best.” All of the actors spend time and energy finding a script that perfectly sells them as their ideal role.

Perfecting all of the above takes practice practice practice. The audition information for the musical was released during winter break, two weeks before the auditions. This gave the actors a fairly long time to rehearse before auditions, which were January 18th. Burns explained that mastering the audition requires, “lots and lots of practice, and takes up a good chunk of time,” because they have to practice singing, dancing, and their script. To practice the song, Burns stated that they, “have a voice teacher, so I just do all the singing with a voice teacher and a couple hours of practice at home.” For the monologue, Burns stated that “it’s really just about getting it down and doing it over and over and over, and then finding the acting.” To “find the acting”, Burns states that they, “call my friend and say ‘hey, can I read this [monologue] at you’”. This process is intense, but Burns explains that after doing many shows, one gets it down. Krzysiak related to this, explaining that the more shows they do, the less stressful the whole process is. They state that this is because “now the directors know what I can do, so I just have to prove it again” rather than “making my first impression”.

Then comes the day of the audition! Each audition is usually about five minutes long. The actors perform for Mr. Hopkins and often a team of his assembled friends. Sometimes, auditions are “open”, meaning that all the auditioners can watch each other perform. Although this is fun to view, Krzysiak and Burns both agree that “closed” auditions to only the directors are way less stressful for the performer.

After the audition, everyone waits to see what role they received. Oftentimes this may not be what they tried out for. Before auditioning, the students fill out a form, stating which role they are trying for but also what roles they would accept. This plays a part in casting, for if one does not get their first choice but is marked that they wouldn’t accept any other role, they will be cut. Contrarily, if one doesn’t get their top choice but would accept any, then they will play one of the other characters. The final cast list is posted on Schoology after the auditions.

All of this work is translated into a four minute window to bring a character to life and win over the director. On top of that, this isn’t even half of the effort they put into the play, as immediately after auditions, rehearsals begin. The actors all put in an applaudable effort to make each play amazing. On April 18-21st, BeDrama’s performance of Legally Blonde: The Musical will showcase all of the time and energy the cast has dedicated to creating yet another great show.

 

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Aria Dwoskin, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! I am Aria Dwoskin, and this year I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Berkley Spectator! I am a senior, and this is my fourth year on The Spectator.  I joined Journalism because I love writing, and love collaborating with an amazing team to create important articles! I enjoy writing about news and politics. When I’m not writing, I am usually playing tennis or reading. I’m so excited to grow as a writer and an editor this year! And most importantly, my favorite donut cutter donut is strawberry frosted with sprinkles (obviously).

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