Galinda’s Guide to Preparing and Packing for Your College Auditions
“NYC! Just got here this morning! 50 bucks. 6 unwieldy bags. 5 auditions. 2 days. 1 me… ”
You’ve done it--you’ve drilled your melodies and rhythms, delved deep into your characters’ wants, likes/dislikes, relationships, moment befores, actions, and all that jazz. How fun! Now, you gotta do the thing. Auditioning is fun, but as we all know, it can also be stressful. And unfortunately, you need to be prepared with more than just your 1 minute contemp and your awesome self. You might be thinking:
Packing? How do I pack? What is packing? What do I do when I’m NOT doing my best 32 bars of a contemporary uptempo!? Help! Fiyero!! FiiiyyyYYEEEeeeEERRrrrooooOOO!!!
Well, lucky you, Elphaba! You’ve come to the right blog. Cause today, I’m your Galinda (with a guh) and I’m here to make you popular. Nope. Ready for your college audition travels! (I was close.)
Dads, Moms, Guardians, Future Actors of America, you better get like Katherine Plumber, grab your tiny steno pad, antique pencil, and watch what happens! (Take notes.)
Make one. Just do it. Lists are old-fashioned and great. With EVERYTHING you need to bring. (The cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood… I mean, come on!, lists are obviously proven to be 100% effective.) No, but really. Save it either to Notes on your phone, as a Sticky on your laptop, or best yet, on a mutually shared family device (perhaps as a Google Doc) that everyone can access, so you can use it each time you are planning for an audition.
Don’t wait till the night before. Just don’t. Trust me. Two nights before--at the latest--is excellent. This way, you’ve allowed time for anything you may have forgotten (picking up the dry cleaning, any necessary laundry, and whatever last minute errands that may need to happen). No scrambling the night before/morning of. Added bonus (and real reason to do it ahead of time!): the night before you get to go to bed early, stress free, and know that tomorrow (travel and/or audition day) you’re rearing to go, well rested, and confident.
*Note on packing for students: Be honest with parent(s)/guardian(s) about how much help you want from them (and take responsibility for your inevitable choice to do it alone, when you ultimately forget something and it’s entirely your fault… just sayin.)
*Note on packing for adults: Leave them alone. Then after they’re done, secretly double-check the list and cross reference for accuracy when they’re not looking. Break a leg.
FOOD & DRINK
...are best. And lots of it! Maybe a little lemon or honey for taste, if you like. Room temperature to warm is best. Caffeine free is nice. NOT ice cold and NOT boiling hot. Drinks that are not room temp have an adverse effect on your voice--they can constrict the muscles in your throat, leading to unnecessary stress and loss of vocal flexibility. Avoid things that coat the throat or cause excess phlegm (like dairy). You know your body better than anyone. Make smart choices.
Things you love and you know make you feel good--energized and strong good, not Friday night after the movies at your BFFs good. Pretzels or softer crackers are great. Larabars. Bananas. Apples are the best--great natural pectin helps to lubricate and moisten the vocal folds and mouth, making speaking/singing easier. Avoid hard nuts or sticky things that get caught in your teeth--you could potentially choke or be bothered by it later (even after brushing your teeth), and you don’t want it to happen while you’re singing or doing your best 14 lines of Romeo. Likewise, nothing that could drip/spill. You’ll be grateful. Later, you can--and should!--celebrate. If you’re in NY, by eating your weight in LeVain Bakery cookies.
In general during audition season, avoid sugar, excess of carbs, and fried foods--these will make you feel lethargic and weaken your immune system. As well as spicy foods and things that can cause acid reflux or erosion to the throat/stomach.
CLOTHING & SHOES
Including shoes, necessary socks, etc. And whatever else you need. Lint roller? Travel-size steamer? (Available for a moderate price, like anything else you could ever want, HERE on Amazon!) *Remember: They say black is NOT this year’s pink! It makes you look like you’re either going to a funeral or on the run crew. Additionally: Gents, avoid blue collared shirts--you’ll see why once you start auditioning...Gals, you do not need to look like a crayola crayon--bright colors are fun, but you don’t need to only pick ONE--mix and match, patterns are great--show us your personality, don’t dress like everyone else--be YOU! You’re wonderful.
Emergency Change of Clothes
Who knows. You spill your tea all over your blouse. Some crazy parent accidentally squirts ketchup from their street hotdog onto your pants. Pigeon poop. You just never know...
Dance Clothes and Dance Shoes
These are important--don’t forget them. (And whatever undergarments, socks, tights, etc. that are necessary/appropriate to go with them).
Make sure it is clean and fool-proof (nothing will accidentally fall out or rip). With any and all music you need, including cuts, extra/back-pocket songs, and all cuts of monologues. But DO NOT leave any material in this binder that you are not 100% READY to perform with excellence. So, if you sang “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” three years ago for your audition to be Dolly Levi in your freshman year spring musical, TAKE IT OUT.
HS/Rs (your headshot and resumes)
Stapled back-to-back, with the separately printed resume trimmed to fit your 8”x10” headshot. Bring a few extra, just in case. Keep them in a plastic sleeve or envelope so they don’t get wet/ruined by spills or bad weather.
Phone, Charger, and Headphones/Earbuds
Perhaps with a playlist of “pump up” or “calm down” music (whichever you need most). Charger. Charger. Don’t forget your charger. Do you have your charger?
*While we’re on the topic: I would make the helpful suggestion to go “phone free” as much as possible-- especially in terms of social media, and perhaps entirely/cold-turkey for that final half-an-hour or so before you go into the room--this will help alleviate your brain and heart of anything they may want to hold onto. The world and all its joys and problems will still be there in a half-hour after you’ve done your magic. Go make some magic! Then troll the internet for puppy photos and videos of delicious food being prepared by other people that you’ll never make yourself.
Any necessary ID’s or items for travel
Self-explanatory, I think.
Including something to take if you have irregular or severe allergies (mine are horrible!), or are prone to headaches or upset stomach, etc. Bandaids are nice too. Any wraps you might need for swollen ankles or knees from dance/sports, etc.
It is FLU SEASON. Especially when you are traveling to unified auditions and will be around many people in a crowded and dirty city (sorry, if you thought you looOoOOoOoved NYC -- it’s DIRTY!) and you do NOT want to get sick. Every time you get off the subway or touch ANYTHING. Sanitize to stay clean and germ-free.
*Note: Especially at this time of year, don’t feel bad not shaking hands with every student and parent and professor and assistant and monitor you meet. They probably don’t want to shake your hand for the same reason--they won’t take it personally if you’re kind about it. Kill those germs with kindness, kids!
I SWEAR by this stuff. All the time, but especially when I am in a demanding show, auditioning a lot, or at times of the year when harmful germs are plentiful. (NOW!) A few times a week, at most--every day, if you’re not feeling well. Really. This stuff is basically magic.
To wipe yourself down after your dance/movement call. You’ll be a bit damp (at the very least).
Deodorant / Antiperspirant
To refresh, as necessary. Please remember to refresh. Please.
Gum/Mouthwash/Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Same as above--whatever method you prefer, whenever you prefer.
Same. Be pretty. Be the BEST version of you. So make sure those hairs are I’m sooo chill unkempt, not I toootally just-woke-up unkempt. There’s a difference. Galinda WILL notice.
ADDITIONAL (not necessary, but recommended)
These are a must for me--when you’re a little sweaty or feeling icky after a dance call, you’ll love them. And similarly, if you’ll want to remove some make-up at some point (since it’s runny already and you’ve sweat most of it off doing your double-pirouettes to The Room Where It Happens 525,600 times in a row while someone screams, “Again! Again!!!”).
These are great, especially as these months tend to be dryer outside due to extreme cold (especially in Chicago and NYC!) and dryer inside due to extreme heating. Use without Menthol before auditions (as it can be drying). But Menthol is lovely if you’re not feeling in tip top shape or a bit under the weather, a few days or a week before.
Personal Pillow from Home
Anything that will help ensure you get a GREAT night’s sleep in a bed that is not your own. Is Cow-Cow the Brown Moo Cow with the cow-cow spots and the patch on his ittle-wittle ear coming toooo000OOO?!?!? He may be useful--not that I am speaking from experience or anything…
Good luck charm
Anything--any talisman--you love that will make you smile or feel confident!
Create a board of images that make you laugh and smile, feel powerful and confident, and/or serene and peaceful. OR a board of images for each of your characters/pieces that help to ground you in the reality of who they are, where they are, what’s happening, and what they need/want. Swipe through it(/them) briefly before you go in!
A Card or Note
Write to yourself about things you want yourself to remember--the possibilities are endless. Whatever you think you’ll need to hear in that moment. Short and sweet:
Breathe. I am enough, exactly as I am. I am ready and prepared. Have so much fun!!! Remember to pee. Be A Boss.
I’ll leave you with one of Galinda’s favorite lyrics, written by the great Stephen Sondheim:
“Anything you do, Let it come from you. Then, it will be new. Give us more to see...”
- Dot, Sunday In the Park with George
Signing off. Have fun. Pack wisely. Be prepared. And just be! Be you. Everything that is wonderful and joyful about you. And share it. All of it. And get sleep. And don’t wait too long to pack. And don’t go to the rival football game the night before. Or power-belt Be More Chill alone in your room while crying. And use your checklist. But most importantly, remember: who you are and what you are able to bring into the room is most important -- so, if you forgot your perfect audition outfit, or your special tea, or your good luck charm, you’re fine. You will be okay. You will be excellent! You are enough, exactly as you are.
Hearts, stars, and lots of luck! broken legs! Give us more to see...
(aka Monologue and Acting for the Song coach, Nick Sulfaro)
Monologue & Acting for the Song Coach - My College Audition
Nick is an NYC based actor and a Monologue & Acting for the Song Coach for My College Audition. www.nicksulfaro.com
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