The Audition Basics Guide

     Yay! Congrats you are 30 days away from earning that hard-earned B.F.A degree! Are you so excited to start auditioning or are you fearful of what to expect when you get to the big apple? Well let me eliminate one layer of stress; by sharing with you the audition essentials you will need to get started. Majority of these things can be costly and it all adds up (trust me). I am sure you just spent your future "home down payment" on your new headshots. But, if you gradually add these things to your "audition bag", you will have everything you need to look and feel your best in the room. Being that I’ve been in the NYC scene for a bit, I definitely have a lot of helpful do’s and don’ts. Of course, by any means you don’t need to follow EXACTLY what I did. I am simply sharing what worked for me. 
1. Audition Bag
    Trust me when saying this….you will NEED a larger bag if you are a dancer as well. I’ve tried the rolling suitcase, duffle bag and the backpack with a tote bag. I will and always look like a NYC bag lady. There is no way to carry just a small backpack. To the girls that do, GOD BLESS! I will only use my Lululemon tote. It fits everything and even has a built in curling iron holder that cools down your iron. This came in handy for me when rushing to auditions, after getting ready. It is possible to have multiple calls in one day, so it’s important to have a bag that is versatile. I normally carry a little lululemon shopper to carry my lunch and water in. PACK snacks. You can be sitting at an open call for hours at a time. You can find some new
lululemon bags

on eBay and even Poshmark if this is out of your price range. 

2. Laduca Taps
      Well, it is true. They even make Laduca taps. Whether you like it or not, if you’re a tapper you will need to invest in a pair of these babies. If you book a show like 42nd street or Singin’ In The Rain you will want these beauties. Eventually down the line, it’s smart to look at Miller & Bens too! 

3. Heels That Won’t Make You Fall / Don’t Wear Your Ladcuas 
    Hah! Imagine falling face first onto the accompanists lap because your heels are too high? This didn’t happen to me or anything…..I can’t express this enough to you ladies, DRESS COMFORTABLE! You can still look chic, on trend and FABULOUS in your heels. It is important to wear a heel that is a bit thicker that will make you feel grounded and ready to take on the audition room. You don’t want to be wobbling all over the place. The key is to find a heel that looks similar to a character t-strap heel. Some people wear their laduca’s but I find that the dirty, dance shoes don’t present yourself as well when walking in there. Actually, a fun fact: Did you know the first thing a casting director looks at is your shoes, when you walk in? A CD shared this with me during a master class and I found it very intriguing. I started to pay attention and did notice them looking at my feet. Maybe it was my cute shoes. Who knows?

4. Black Dance Skort
      This is a definite staple piece for me when attending dance calls. I can wear this with any colored leotard and a crop top. The black gives you a nice sleek, clean line. I prefer the pace setter skirt from Lululemon. There are many other brands that make cute skirts but you will see a lot of dancers wearing their lululemon skirts and jewel-toned leos. Key is to find a leotard that makes you stand out. I bought a floral leotard and CDs compliment me all the time on how fun and bubbly it is. 
5. "Different Singing Call Looks" 

   You’re probably wondering what is this woman talking about? What is a singing call look? Well… you become more established in your career, you will find that you tend to get called in for the same role over and over again. For instance, I played Belle in Beauty and The Beast and get called in for her ALL the time. I have a specific dress that I wear for that audition, I call it my "Belle dress". Call me crazy but it works. DRESS the part. I believe in dressing the part but in a subtle way. When going in for Belle, I am not going to wear a yellow gown or a blue dress with an apron & bow (lol I’ve seen it). I find ways to subtly show casting, hey this is what Meghan looks like as Belle. Recently I wore my hair in a loose side pony, twisted up top with a light blue dress. I was told, I literally dressed the part but didn’t throw it in their faces. I made it to final callbacks. As you get called in for more of the same roles you can find an outfit that works. I have my gingham "Dorothy dress", a floral lace dress for Disney auditions and a black dress with floral on it for ingenue (1950s). Start setting different pieces aside for specific auditions and label it in your closet. (Y’all will thank me later). I purchase my audition clothing from all over. When I see something I know will work and I will end up wearing for multiple auditions I grab it. I got an adorable gingham dress for $7.00! You can’t beat that! Buy a little at a time and soon you’ll have a little audition wardrobe collection. 
       So if you were told spend 150$ on your ONE jeweled tone dress from Bloomingdale’s, be prepared to wear that to only 50% of the calls you go on. Think about it, you can see some of the SAME casting directors, sometimes back to back days. Do you really think they want to see the same green dress and nude heels. Be different, Be bold, Be unique and most importantly Be YOU. Do you want to wear jeans, cute t – strap heels and a bright colored peplum top? ROCK IT! No one ever said that you couldn’t. Embrace who you are. There’s no rules on what to wear when auditioning. All I can suggest, is that if you dress to present and look put together it will make you stand out!
6. Journal

    Journaling after an audition is so beneficial. It’s so helpful to look back a year later and see what you sang for what casting director and who played for what call. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! After you hit about 100 auditions or so, they all start to blend together. You never know who you may run into during the day!
7. Knee Pads

   You’re probably thinking to yourself, when will I ever need these? I used them for three national tour callbacks! They were REQUIRED. Just add a pair to your audition bag!
8. Hairstyle 

   Figure out your signature hair. What makes me "Meghan". I have a hairstyle that makes me unique in the room and different. Establish that. You don’t want your hair falling in your face during dance calls and shadowing your eyes while you belt your Eb!
9. Dance Outfits

   Similar to singing, you’ll find you will wear certain dance clothing to certain dance calls. I don’t wear a crop top to Oklahoma and I don’t wear a leotard to Flashdance. Find the appropriate basics and keep them in a little drawstring bag with you. You could change your dance audition outfit ten minutes before going in the room. It happens, sometimes those 10 buffalo wings from the night before give you that not-so 6 pack you had last week.
   I have a light colored crop top and a bright one. I have a short skort and high waisted leggings. Over the next year or so, start to gather those things when you can financially swing it. It’s great to be able to "dress the part" comfortably in a dance call! We don’t want any loose tops or see through pants. Invest in the good ole LULU!
10. You Booked It

I hope this was helpful and all the blessings. There is of course a lot more to gather together. Trust me, I was in your shoes. I remember wearing a kimono to a kiss me kate audition for an equity theatre my first year. We’ve ALL been there. I know how it feels to walk into Pearl Studios and feel like Nemo in a sea of 1,000 nemos. The thing that will make you a Dory is sharing your special heart and just being you. 
 Feel free to reach out to me regarding audition outfit questions. I have styled several actors and they feel great in the room! Be the BEST version of YOU and share your light! 
Meghan Nicole

My Adventures As Belle

Hello Darlings, 
      I can hardly believe that Disney’s Beauty & The Beast will be released in theaters today. I have been dreaming of this movie re-make for a very long time. I am not sure what to expect exactly, but I have listened to the soundtrack for the past week, and the orchestrations are absolutely beautiful. 
    Since I was just a little girl and singing at a young age, I constantly sang Belle’s songs around the house. She was my favorite Disney princess and I couldn’t get enough Beauty & The Beast. My mother knew that this Disney princess would always have a close place in my heart, especially since I wore a locket just like Belle. At the age of 4, inside the locket, I would carry a photo of my mother and hold it close to my heart, whenever we were apart. As the years passed and I grew, so did my love for Beauty and the Beast, as well as anything musical. I began to participate in my high school’s musicals and started taking private acting classes on the side at our local theaters. Now as a young adult, on my very first day of musical theatre class, I was assigned the song "A Change In Me" from Alan Menken’s, Beauty & The Beast musical version. I loved the song and I worked on it every single day, as it was challenging as a new musical theater student. This song eventually became a part of me, a part of my repertoire, and just something I loved to sing. After graduating high school, I worked extremely hard to book the role of Belle, as I was often viewed as only a dancer. Anyone who knew me well, also knew Belle was my dream role. Since the young age of four, twirling in my yellow Belle dress, I dreamt of playing this role. I was determined to fulfill one of my most important dreams. Of course there were teachers and people that tried to lead me astray, telling me I was just a dancer, but I knew I was meant to play this role one day. I always felt it in my heart. I actually had a lot in common with the character Belle, as I too was a bit of a bookworm and ostracized by others, and often referred to as, “odd.” When the time was right and I was prepared, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity, by directors who believed in my talent and me. Thanks to them and their trust in me, my time finally arrived.
    After attending my University and graduating with my B.F.A in Musical Theatre, I continued to perform in many musicals across the globe. I played roles such as, Chava in Fiddler On The Roof, Mimi in Guys & Dolls, Thea in Spring Awakening, as well as a soloist in Les Miserables, featured dancer in All Shook Up, Zelda in Singing’ In The Rain, the World Premiere of a new Off-Broadway show  and so many other amazing shows. I still was dreaming of playing my favorite, heroic Disney princess, who I related so closely too. I auditioned for the role of Belle at several theaters and wouldn’t let the no’s discourage me from my dreams. As I continued to pursue my dream, I one day sent a video audition tape of me singing the music from the show to a theatre, I had previously worked at. They asked me to submit more songs and get it to them as soon as possible. I thought to myself, this is a wonderful experience to even have the opportunity to audition for Belle. Weeks following my submission, I received a phone call that eventually would change my entire life, as well as my career. I was cast as Belle.  I of course was calm and collected on the phone, but after hanging up the phone, my mother and I were in tears. My dream had come true. I had received an opportunity of a lifetime. After years of work, audition after audition, I finally heard that yes I was waiting for.
The summer of 2016, I had the privilege to step into Belle’s shoes. It was an amazing experience, which I can hardly put into words. Sometimes, I think back to being on that stage and still shed a tear. The role of Belle brought so much joy, strength, hope and love to my life, as I stood on that stage with listening to the cheers of the audience. Before the curtain opened, I literally would have to pinch myself. I felt as if I was dreaming. I am so excited to share some of my favorite moments with all of you, and answer many frequently asked questions, as well as share a video clip of me performing! I can’t express this enough, if you dream it, you really can do it. There were times, I had lost all hope, but with determination and strength, you must continue to follow your dream. The dreams that you dare to dream really will come true.
It was truly no coincidence that the original Disney movie, Beauty And The Beast was released on my birthdate, November 22nd, 1991. 

1. How did you create your costume? 
We actually had a wardrobe/ costume creative team that designed all of our costumes. My mother handcrafted my bow and gifted it to me. it was a very special accessory to wear. I also wore my actual locket which made it that more special to wear. 

2. What was your favorite scene in the show? 
The song "Something There", is my favorite moment, as Belle reads King Arthur to the Beast. It is such a beautiful moment between Belle and the beast, as she begins to open up for the first time. This is the first look at seeing Belle fall in love with the Beast. 
My second favorite is the waltzing scene, it is such a touching moment in the show. 

3. In what ways do you relate to Belle?
If I could relate to any Disney character, it definitely would be Belle. I have always loved to read, especially romance novels. Belle’s favorite story is King Arthur. As research for the character, I did read King Arthur. It is a beautiful story. I always felt as if, I was  different, odd, and didn’t have a place in my small high school. A lot of my friends enjoyed going out, partying, but I was okay with reading my favorite book in my little nook and being the homebody that I was. 

4. How long did you have to rehearse and how long did it take you to memorize your lines?
We had about two weeks to get the show fully rehearsed and then we moved into the theatre for tech week. The normal rehearsal time is 2-3 weeks for a show. (Not talking about Broadway here). I started memorizing my lines while performing a different show. I had plenty of time backstage when I wasn’t on stage to work on them. It took me about a week to be completely memorized, music and all.

5. What was your favorite song to sing?
   I would have to say that "Home" was my absolute favorite song to sing. Home was a cut song from the movie but is an added song in the musical written by, Alan Menken. It is a beautiful song that takes place after Belle chooses to stay in the Beast’s dungeon instead of her older father. She has to let go of home and her small, provincial town. She is longing for home but knows this is her "new home".

 6. What was the hardest part as far as getting into character? 
Such a great question! My biggest struggle was meshing Belle’s character (personality) with the vocal music. Playing a leading, strong woman role was a different experience I was challenged with doing. After years of being in the ensemble, the focus was on my character. Instead of focussing on how to become Belle, I lived through the honesty of what she believed in and what was true to her heart. Relating to so many of Belle’s qualities, made it easier for me to jump into her character.

 7. What was your favorite part about playing Belle?
That is hard for me to answer, I loved every single moment! In particular, my favorite part was interacting with the Beast and sharing the message with the audience, that beauty comes from within. 

 8. How did you feel being Belle?
I felt strong, heroic, understood, adventurous, in love and  invincible because my dream came true. 

 9. How many costume changes did you have?
I had a few costumes. I had the blue classic dress that Belle wears in the opening scene, the yellow/gold gown, the pink dress she wears in the library scene and I had my FAVORITE costume; the cape. I wore the cape in majority of the scenes in the woods, entering the castle and also in A Change In Me scene. 

( Pictured above is the day I found out I booked the role!) 



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