In This Blog Post, You’ll Learn:
- How to Stand Out in Auditions
- Finding Material You Connect With
- Believing in Yourself
- Staying Focused on the Work
- The Key to Preparation
Preparing for college visits? Trying to answer the ultimate question: what are your plans after high school? Not sure where to start first? Well, meet Leo.
Leo Ash Evens has taught College Audition Preparation workshops for Broadway Student Summit and Broadway Teachers Workshop for years. He is also the Co-Owner/Director of MTCA (Musical Theatre College Auditions). A graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a BFA in Musical Theatre, Leo resides in New York City: currently covers in the Broadway company of School of Rock, and is also a commercial voice-over artist. A balance of many walks within the arts, Leo infuses all of his years of experience into the work he does when preparing high school students. So, whether you’re a student, a theatre educator, a choreographer, a parent, etc.
The key to a strong audition is your authenticity. Students often ask me…”Leo, what the number one thing I can do for myself in this competitive process? How can I “stand out”? The key is to nourish and expand who you are from the inside/out. Sharing who you are, what you love, and why you love it through your monologues and songs is the goal. And when you do that authentically, you stand out. All schools want to see is the real YOU. It can be daunting at first to discover who that is…or to trust that what’s inside is beautiful…but when it’s done effectively…it’s quite rewarding. And even liberating!
Choosing The Right Material
Material selection should always be something you CONNECT WITH. It’s not a good idea to assign yourself a strong song or a strong monologue because someone tells you, “Wow, you sound just like the girl who sang it on Broadway.” Or — “This monologue comes from a Tony Award winning play”. While those two statements may be true and also exciting to hear — if you’re not making an internal connection to the material… it’s a moot point. Schools want to feel you connecting with your material. And versatility is always a good thing! What an awesome opportunity: you get to create your own package of material! You get to release yourself from the responsibility of getting cast in a particular role, or getting cast in a particular play. Instead, you have the artistic freedom to truly CREATE.
If you don’t believe you’re good enough to get in — why should we ask the schools to believe it?
You Are Good Enough
The psychological part of this process is just as (if not MORE!) important as the artistic preparation. BELIEVING that you are good enough to get in…having a healthy ego, or a “healthy selfishness” as I like to call it… is good!
If YOU don’t believe you’re good enough to get in — why should we ask the schools to believe it? At the same time, schools have to get the feeling they want to have you around for 4 years of training! Everything you do in school is collaborative. If your confidence turns to entitlement or arrogance — that’s a problem. You wouldn’t want to work with someone like that. It’s the balance of confidence and openness. Vulnerability is your friend. The want to learn. The want to succeed. But most importantly, the “sponge-like” quality to LEARN. Fantasize at night before bed where you want to be! Envision your success!
Worry About You & Your Work
Don’t do THEIR JOB. The schools know what they’re doing. And they’re often figuring it out as they go. Try to resist finding “patterns” of what schools are looking for. Or trying to “crack a code” to the secret formula to getting in. There isn’t one. The basic responsibility you have at the end of the day — DO GOOD WORK. Don’t worry about their job. Let them do theirs…and you do yours.
Get messy! Have fun! Remain spontaneous!
When I think of preparation..I don’t mean memorization. Everyone is expected to be memorized. You’re not getting any “extra credit” for that. In order to be truly prepared and competitive (always remember that “competitive” is a subjective word). But the truly prepared actor or actress knows how to PLAY. Get messy! Have fun! Remain spontaneous! Schools love it when your preparation allows you to PLAY with your songs and monologues! And, consequently, successful at taking adjustments IN THE ROOM. Don’t focus on it being “right”. Focus on the joy and freedom when singing your song! (Like you do in your bedroom when no one is watching!)
About the Author
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Leo is a Carnegie Mellon graduate with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Entering his 13th year with college prep, Leo balances and integrates a diversity of artistic disciplines, drawing from years of professional experience as an actor, voiceover artist, and educator. Leo infuses his students with the tools and confidence to prepare for successful college auditions. Most recently, Leo completed a year and a half long run with School of Rock on Broadway. Other B’way credits: Shuffle Along (starring Audra McDonald) and Jesus Christ Superstar. Off-Broadway: Jasper in Deadland, Finks at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Wanda’s World, & Ionescapade: The Works of Eugene Ionesco at The York. He’s played Riff in West Side Story on The West End, 50th Anniversary US Tour, Houston TUTS, Barrington Stage, & NCT. National Tours include 42nd Street, Disney’s On The Record, & Casper The Musical, starring Chita Rivera. Select credits: Black Stache in Peter And the Starcatcher (Pioneer), Emcee in Cabaret (Houston TUTS & The Arvada Center), & Tulsa in Gypsy, starring Patti LuPone (Chicago Ravinia Festival). National Voice Overs: Siemens Technology, Monster, Sharp, Foster Grants, JC Penney, V8, & more. IG: @leoashevens. www.leoashevens.com