Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Songs: Audition Cuttings Part 1 - The Verse and Chorus

So you’ve picked your song. First suggestion – learn the entire song.
Will you ever do the entire song for an audition? Probably not. Should you know the entire song? Yes. Why?
What if?
I have heard the stories. OH the drama! The fun! The “Oh-my gosh I’m so lucky –I’m so screwed!” – Stories!
·         An actor finished their 16 bar cutting and then they were asked to do the entire song.
·         An actor finished their cutting and they were asked to do 32 bars, or the verse and the chorus.  
·         An Actor finished their cutting and then they were asked to do another song. “Start from the beginning and go until I stop you.” (SO RARE, so Lucky IF you can do it)
·         An Actor finished their cutting and then they were asked to tell the story of the song they just did the cutting from.
It happens. Not often, but it does happen.
So – be prepared.
How do you cut a song?
You want to show off your voice AND tell a story. That seems impossible in 16 bars. It’s not. It’s just a very short story J Let’s start with something easier.
Today let’s talk about the request for the “Verse and Chorus”. Please remember these are not hard and fast rules. They are however pretty great guidelines that have worked for me and other actors I know.
v  Verse and Chorus
o   I usually start at the chorus and then go into the last verse. I do this because well – the chorus starts at a high point and then usually keeps building in intensity. It's INTERESTING. In most songs the last verse goes someplace new musically. That place is -usually -DYNAMIC! Doing this part of the song shows off your range and often the last verse has a money note. Think about it.

·         Defying Gravity
·         The Wizard and I
·         There’s a Fine, Fine Line

o   The story is usually exciting at the end the song. Often at this point the song is telling the end of the story. Sometimes there’s a reveal. It’s wrapping up. We humans are pretty good at putting together what happened to get us to the end of the story. So you’re telling the climax of the story. The EXCITING part. You want to sound good. You need to sound good. But you need to tell the story. So as always:

Don’t forget to act!


  1. A few things:

    I normally try to involve the bridge in a few ways. Verse Chorus is not necessarily as easy to identify in a Musical theatre song.

    Don't be afraid not to do a continuous 16 or 32 bar. Feel free to do the first 8, the bridge 8 and then the final 8 (if it makes sense).

    Get your cuts FINALED!!! Pay the extra money to get it thrown into a computer so that there are no questions with your accompanist. It raises the chances of your audition going well, reduces time talking to accompanist and makes you look more professional.

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