Audition Advice From An Enraged Accompanist

I was ten years old and and at my very first audition. It was for the local community theater’s take on A Christmas Carol, and I was terrified to go stand up, all 42 inches of me, in front of a group of people who did this every year and sing a few bars of a children’s church song. Somehow my best friend, whose mother did shows at this theater every year, had convinced me to try out, and now here I was.

My name was called, I walked up to the front of the room, signaled my pianist, and tremulously let the lyrics tumble from my mouth. When I sat down, my knees were shaking and my throat felt dry. Somehow, I felt like a champion for beating my first audition.

I didn’t make callbacks, but my friend did. I tried not to hate her.

Now, one decade and several more auditions (more failures, some successes) later, I shake my head and wonder what was I thinking singing that type of song for that type of audition, wish I filled out the application better, and hope I still don’t look that inexperienced when I try out for a play. I audition every once in a blue moon; I can only imagine how hard it must be for a career actor to put up with that kind of constant rejection.

Enter the Enraged Accompanist’s Guide to the Perfect Audition by Andrew Gerle. He thinks he knows it all–and I almost agree with him. Gerle is an award-winning composer and pianist from New York who has put up with scores of wannabes, pop stars, and theater divas for the last 15 years. He gives tips and advice learned from years at the piano bench accompanying act0rs who think they’ve got a shot–and miss it. Written in a very chatty manner that is frank and outgoing, Gerle’s book definitely gets a good review here. Reading it has made me reflect back on my auditions and realize why some of them were so unsuccessful, and how they may not have been so bad after all. It’s a great little guide (112 pages) that anyone looking into showbiz should read.


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