The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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Getting work on Broadway, whether you’re a singer, dancer or actor will take more than talent. As a member of a Broadway show, you’re one of many moving parts that makes the production happen. Make absolutely sure that you know your stuff, that you’re on time, and that your a good theatrical colleague.
Even if you have a show as a dancer and are primarily using ballet technique, make sure that you spend part of each week working on core strength and gymnastics. If you’re a tap dancer on stage in the evening, make sure you’re working on ballet during the day. The deeper your skillset, the better your chance of getting another show. Your body will take a beating as a performer and especially as a dancer, so make sure that your core is exceptionally strong so your spine stays flexible.
If you sing, remember that your body is your instrument. Cellists don’t leave their instruments out in the rain and snow, so make sure you bundle up in the cold and avoid anything that could trigger an allergic reaction. No matter what you do, warm up first.
Actors also need to take good care of their bodies and voices. If acting is your passion, make sure you study some singing. Basic dance and movement are critical for actors, as is learning fight choreography. No matter which fiend holds your heart, do your best to expand your usefulness on stage.
Performing may be your passion but auditioning is your job. Schedule time for it every day. Keep an eye on posting boards, find out what it takes to get on the path to earning your actor’s equity card, and get out there in front of casting directors.
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If you dread the competition of auditioning, take the pressure off of yourself by treating the audition as a class. Smile. Engage with those around you. Try your best on each move, but keep your eyes on your moves and not on your fellow dancers.
If you don’t yet have an equity card but want to audition for Broadway shows, get there early and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Actors with cards audition in 20-minute time slots, and you may get your chance to audition at the end of that slot, even if you don’t have your card. Being ready to go when you get the call can be the difference between a gig and waiting tables, so show up prepared.
It’s said that theatre is a small town and everybody knows everybody. If you’re a diva, a disaster, or a flake, word will get out. Be on time. Be prepared. Don’t make a mess in the dressing room. Be kind to the dressers, stage management staff, and anyone on the crew. Do NOT touch props, costumes, or anything that doesn’t belong to you. If you have a problem with procrastination or tardiness, get some help from professionals at a Broadway school. You can learn performance skills and pick up tips on how to be a good team player.
If you’re tall, wear bold colors so you get noticed. If you’re short, wear something sparkly. Everyone who works in theatre has a physical feature or skill that is something only they can do. You need to find the right casting director and the right show for it to be featured. Every audition is a chance to show off that feature. Keep putting yourself out there and keep learning new skills.
Your resume needs to be up-to-date. Your headshot needs to look like you do now, not as you did ten years ago. Set up your own websites and social media accounts so you can share your skillset, images of your work, and your performance schedule. However, if you’re going to show a photo of yourself on stage, make sure you’re not sharing the work of another artist, such as a lighting designer, scenic designer, or costumer, without their permission.
Performing takes talent, but working on Broadway is a craft. Overnight successes have to go to hundreds of auditions and take thousands of dance classes, voice lessons, and acting workshops. Never stop building your craft.