Auditions are the same and not the same. Some are for professional placements, some are for places in schools, some are for a show, some are for a position in a company. But they all share common features, one them being a need to be prepared.
In Dance Australia's annual Audition Feature, Geraldine Higginson has interviewed a cross-section of dance professionals, about a range of different auditions. You can check it out in the June/July edition of Dance Australia... but here's a sneak peek her interview with Stefanie Jones, who plays Rhonda in Muriel's Wedding, about auditioning for musical theatre.
STEFANIE Jones is currently playing the role of Rhonda Epinstalk in Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical in Melbourne. As Muriel’s best friend, the role of Rhonda is a sizable one, and a much bigger part than the one she was originally cast to play – one of the bridesmaids, Nicole.
Stefanie hails from Queensland, where she started her musical-theatre career playing child roles in two iconic musicals – Young Eponine in Les Miserables and Brigitta Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. In her late teens, Stefanie moved from Brisbane to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Music Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has trained
extensively in dance, having studied with the Queensland Ballet through its Junior Extension Program, and also has an Associate Diploma in Music for violin.
Stefanie: Back when I was a fresh graduate, having just completed three years at the VCA, I was notified by my agent about an audition for the recasting of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Myself and some friends from my year knew the demands of the show and decided to prepare by taking classes on the show material with an old cast member who was willing to help us. I was so thankful we took these steps because the show requires such a vast array of skills it’s impossible to perfect them all in one short audition day. It made a world of difference going into the room as prepared as I could be; however, it’s possible that being so overly ready channelled my energy in the wrong way. I auditioned well that day, but I didn’t get the gig.
If I could give advice to my younger self when she was new to auditioning, I’d say: “listen more, be calmer, and focus on the work and not those around you”. This can sometimes be extremely difficult when you have to share an audition room with 50+ people all struggling for mirror space but, with practice and gentle reminders, it gets easier to block out the noise and just focus on yourself. After all, you’re there only for you!
Not getting the jobs you want – even after preparing so diligently – can be a tough pill to swallow. I had a very frustrating few years after graduating as I knew I was auditioning well but still wasn’t getting results. But now I know that those two years of “thank you, that’s all we need for today” were certainly no waste of time. Even though you may feel like you’re not making
progress, continuing to show up to each call and performing well is always another step in the right direction. Audition panels find joy in seeing the familiar face of someone who is excited and ready to work, so try for everything you can and make every new audition your utmost priority.
Read more interviews in our Audition Feature, in the June/July issue of Dance Australia, out now! Don’t miss out! Buy Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or online here... OR never miss an issue by subscribing here.
Pictured top: Stefanie Jones performing in the Production Company's 'Oklahoma' with Daniel Roberts.