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If you are auditioning for a play or theater company, it is important to make an excellent visual impression. While nothing can make up for talent or typecasting, the correct outfit can help you impress the auditors and do your best. The three keys to a great theater audition outfit are comfort, professionalism and unique style.
Comfort is an enormous factor in considering what to wear for your theater audition. Too tight or too loose clothing will hinder you and make you feel awkward. Materials like cotton, twill or soft jersey are excellent for an audition, as they are easy to move in and soft. Remember, you may be asked to dance or show movement at an audition, so wearing comfortable clothes is an asset. Avoid jeans or any denim, as they are rigid and difficult to move in.
If you get stage fright or audition fright, take that into consideration when choosing your outfit. Remember that sometimes nerves can cause sweating, and avoid shirts that might stain easily. Also, avoid any clothing with complicated straps or tricky zippers. Generally these clothes aren’t comfortable to begin with, and the last thing you need is to worry about clothing mishaps.
In terms of professionalism of your clothes, several factors should be considered for your theater audition. Clothes should be clean and fairly modest in cut, as if you were going to an informal interview. Knowing what genre the play is can be very helpful. While it is never recommended that you go to a theater audition in full period costume, consider adding a subtle hint of era-appropriate clothing. Try wearing a twin set for a 1950s living-room comedy, a western-style belt buckle for Oklahoma, or a lacy long sleeved blouse for a Victorian melodrama.
In terms of professional shoes for women, the most appropriate choice for a theater audition is low-heeled, rubber-bottomed character shoes in black or tan. These shoes are made for theater-style dancing and will mark you out as someone who has audition experience. If you do not own a pair, any low heeled style will do, but avoid stilettos or heels that make loud noises on hard surfaces. For men, black or brown dress shoes are professional.
Auditioners sometimes see several hundred hopeful actors in a single casting session. To stand out from the crowd at your theater audition, avoid neutral colors like black and beige. While your clothes do not need to be flashy, a solid color piece in flattering shade will make you more memorable. If you are asked to a call-back or second theater audition, be sure to wear the same outfit as you did for the first. Unless they auditioners know you, they are likely to remember you by your clothing. If the “girl in the yellow dress” is now wearing a purple sweater, they may forget their initial impression of you.
Nothing but the auditioners’ opinions can land you a role in a production, but actors often forget that appearance is a major factor in forming initial opinions. By ensuring you are comfortable, you remove additional worries from your own mind, allowing you to maintain better focus. By dressing professionally, auditioners will recognize that you have some experience and maturity, and have put some thought into your performance. Using color or subtle design to help you appear unique can lock you in the mind of the auditioner. Even if you are not cast, auditioners will recognize your maturity and may keep you in mind for a later production.
Thanks for the tips! I have a blog with my experiences as a non-equity performer auditioning in New York. I just hope people can relate to my posts and/or appreciate that we're all just trying to, as Tim Gunn would say 'make it work.' New York is tough, this business is tougher and sometimes it's nice to know that we're not alone in our struggles to 'live the dream' or in reality, just survive!
When auditioning for a play, especially in musical theater auditions, it is also important to make sure your hair is out of your face, that you do not have any especially distracting jewelry, and that you are not wearing too much makeup. While none of these things are directly impeding to your own performance, they can distract directors and casting assistants, and also might prevent them from being about to see you most naturally.
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