What is the Audition process?
At NYT, auditions are an open casting call; nothing is precast. Any student, 8-19 yrs. old, is eligible to audition. Students have “1 minute to shine.” We recommend preparing a 1-minute song highlighting your vocals and acting through song. However, students may choose to do a monologue or dance if they prefer. We recommend using a karaoke/backing track. iTunes, Amazon, etc. sells many options. Bring your music on an electronic device to connect to our speakers. Be sure to have: phone set to Do Not Disturb; passwords turned off; a special adapter if needed to hookup to our audio cable/speakers (iPhones); volume set all the way up; song read to play at audition beginning mark. A CD player is also available, if needed. Be sure to know where the CD needs to begin playing.
Students will be given a number and taken into the audition room in groups of approximately 10-12. [It’s very important you make a note of, and remember, this number for callback purposes.] Hand your music device to the music tech, and take a seat in numerical order. As each student’s number is called, the student will come in front of the directing team, introduce themselves and their song, and perform. Students will then take their seat until the entire group is finished, then they will be dismissed. There may be a dance audition in addition to their 1-minute audition, but no preparation is required. If the directing team wishes to see your child for a specific role, they will be called back – usually the following day. Callback notification will generally be sent late that night or early the next day.
What are Callbacks?
Callbacks involve singing for a specific role(s) and/or reading for specific character(s) and/or for more advanced dancing roles. Songs from the actual show are featured at callbacks. Learn all the songs from the show for callbacks in advance, especially the ones you feel you could be called back for. As a performer you should try prepare in advance for roles whenever possible. Sometimes the music is not available in advance as with shows like Narnia or other lesser-known works. But often the songs are easy to access online, like Music Man or Peter Pan.
If your child is called back, you will receive notification sometime after auditions. The method of communication for this process will be given to you during the audition process. The number assigned to your student upon arrival will be the same number that callbacks will be referenced by; you will not see names on the callback sheet.
If my student is not called back does that mean they were not cast?
No. All students are considered for casting even after callbacks have been completed. And if a student is called back it does not automatically signify they will be cast in a featured role. Likewise, the directors sometimes know who they are casting in a lead role without a callback. In general, NYT’s goal is to cast all students that complete the one-minute audition and that do not have significant rehearsal or dress rehearsal conflicts. The number of conflicts allowed is at the discretion of each lead director for each show. However, please be aware that if the number of children auditioning is very large (i.e., 90+), cuts are possible, and every child may not be cast; although this is something that the NYT directors will make every effort to avoid. Please be aware that one sibling may be cast, but another may not. That is part of the competitive process. If your child is not given a part, you will be refunded the production fee.
Besides performing practice, are any other preparations needed?
Who can view auditions? Can I videotape/record my student’s audition?
Audition groups are only open for viewing by the directing team and the families of those auditioning in that group. You may videotape your own student’s audition only.
What if I have rehearsal conflicts? Or I’m unsure about future conflicts?
Please make sure your rehearsal conflicts are included on your audition form, as rehearsal or show conflicts brought up after casting are considered non-excused. If you are unsure of a certain conflict or if it is flexible, please note the dates as “negotiable,” and a team member will contact you to clarify. If a conflict is non-negotiable, then please note as a “firm” conflict. If a cast member misses any rehearsals during the run-through process (later in the rehearsal schedule), dress rehearsals (tech week), or shows that was not disclosed on the audition form, they will only be eligible to audition for a ensemble/chorus role in the next National Youth Theater production for which they try out. An exception to this policy will be made for emergencies and excused illnesses.
What to wear to auditions and callbacks?
For auditions, we recommend wearing comfortable but nice clothing. Comfortable shoes or dance shoes are also recommended but not required. Same dress is recommended for callbacks. However, if you are called back as dancer, and you have dance shoes, please wear them as well. Dressing up as a character is not encouraged.
Can we audition if we are out of town during auditions and callbacks?
Yes, you may submit a video audition to our production coordinator by email by the night of auditions to be considered. However, there are no video options for callbacks.
Do you make casting cuts after auditions?
We make every effort to not cut auditioners from our casts. However, sometimes it is necessary due to physical constraints such as the size of rehearsal or theater venues, etc. If an actor is cut, the production fee will be refunded.
How can I help my student with the audition process?
Help them find the correct music for their audition. It is good for them to practice in front of their family and friends as much as possible; it makes it easier at the actual audition. Encourage more than critique.
How do I pick the right song/material?
Choose a song/piece that you are excited to perform and also fits into your vocal range or dance abilities. If you have to strain either high or low to hit notes, it’s not in your range. Keep looking for a song that feels comfortable for your vocal range. If you are new to auditioning or have little preparation time, then choose a song you already know. Songs from Broadway, Disney, or kids’ movies are always good options. In general, try to avoid songs from the show you are auditioning for.
Should I download and bring my own music?
Yes. And in order to ensure auditions go smoothly, please either download your music onto your phone (don’t rely on trying to find it in your “cloud” as reception may be poor in the building), or bring music on a CD. If using a phone, please make sure your phone is set to not accept calls or texts during that time — you don’t want to receive a call during your song! Also please have the music set to the exact time you want your song to start. We will not have time to search for the right time once your audition begins. If using a CD, be sure to copy it starting at the time you want the song to begin for you. Give yourself at least a 4 second lead in! Parents, please give the musical device that your child is using to them. While you are allowed to be in the room, you will be sitting in the back and unable to help them. They will need to hand the phone, iPod, or CD to the music monitor themselves. Please make sure that phones are unlocked and placed on Do Not Disturb.
Can I sing without music/acapella?
We would rather you audition without music than not audition at all. However, make every effort to bring music with you even if the song has voices on it. The ideal option, however, is a karaoke track.
How will we know what role my child received?
After callbacks on Saturday, the directing team will take time to meet, pray, and review their audition notes. They will share their thoughts with each other, many times take overnight to think about it, and finalize casting decisions by Sunday evening. The method for announcing the cast will be provided at auditions.
What if I don't want the role I'm offered?
At National Youth Theater, we encourage students to audition only if they are willing to accept any role given to them. It is normal to want to go after specific roles. But once the casting is announced, our expectation is that you will receive whatever role(s) you are assigned by the directing team like a pro. You can be disappointed, of course; that’s normal. But after a few days you are expected to handle your casting with grace and be part of the team as we practice and perform the show for the glory of God. Also, all production fees must be paid before auditions, and are non-refundable. If you decide to drop out of the show, please know that we are happy to have you return to audition, but you will only be considered for a role in the ensemble/chorus for your next show back. You also will not be eligible to audition for any other shows that NYT is producing in the same season as the show you dropped.
If I am not in the show, may I work backstage?
Please fill out the Backstage Volunteer Request Form. The production manager will contact you with more information.
How do you insure a fair casting process?
We take pride in the integrity of our casting process. All of the directing team members are encouraged to give feedback on casting of all roles. However, if their own children or private lesson students are being discussed, that director must leave the room; and they are not eligible to give input on those students. We rely on godly wisdom from the council of many to make casting decisions. Final decisions are never one person’s opinion, and we bring in a variety of directing team members into each production to make sure our casting decisions are as fair and balanced as possible. We also do not have a policy against students receiving good roles each show. This is a competitive program and the roles are given to the students that are best suited, as determined by the whole directing team. The only way to earn a role is to prove yourself to be best during auditions and callbacks. The coordinators and/or production managers of shows are not eligible to give input on casting. They are at auditions to help facilitate paperwork and to make sure all rehearsal conflicts are noted. They are also required to leave the room if their children are discussed.
Are production fees refundable?
Fees are refundable up until the time of the audition, with a $25 processing fee. All participants are required to have production fees paid in full prior to their audition. Once the actor steps into the audition room, fees become non-refundable. The only exception would be for those times when the directors decide not to cast an actor; and then the full production fee will be returned.
May I audition for more than 1 show per season?
No, you may only audition for one show per season at NYT. Please decide on the show that you most want to do — and go for it!