In the early months of each new year, Singers and Dancers from all across the country attend a non-union open call audition in New York City. Each of these auditionees is hoping to be cast in one or more of our upcoming Original Shows that year.
We chatted with Matthew V. Gotwalt, AMT’s Company Show Manager, to find out just what’s involved in the New York audition process.
Long before heading to The Big Apple, the first order of business is to select audition dates. Once finalized, Matthew reserves studio space and audition rooms, schedules piano players, and places audition announcements in numerous theatrical publications and websites. The audition announcements will give the Dancers and Singers all the info they’ll need to come prepared for their audition.
The first few hours of Audition Day 1 is a Dancer call, and both Dancers and Dancer/Singers attend. During these open auditions, no appointments are made — the Dancers are seen in the order they arrive. They’re placed in a holding room where they can stretch and warm up while they wait their turn to audition. Once their names are called, the Dancers are assembled in a group of 15-20. The group is then taught two different dance style combinations and they’re given some time to practice the moves. They audition for Andrea McCormick, AMT’s Artistic Director/Choreographer, Missy Clayton, our Show Captain, and Matthew, the Show Manager in pairs or groups of four until everyone has had a chance to be seen. Once everyone in the group has auditioned, they are given the opportunity to demonstrate any tumbling or specialty dances they may do. The process begins again with the next group of 20.
Later in the day, it’s time to see the Singers and Singer/Dancers. They begin the same way as the Dancers, waiting their turn in a holding room. Once it’s time for them to be seen, they’re lined up outside the auditioning room in groups of 12. In contrast to the Dancers, the Singers audition by themselves, after having a chance to go over their song selections with the piano player. Prior to arriving, the Singers are asked to prepare 16 bars of two contrasting style songs, whatever they feel would best show off their voice. Once finished singing, they may be asked to come back the next day for a Call Back.
During a Call Back, the Singers are asked to sing a song from a music book which is separated into specific AMT Show sections. If a Singer is being considered for a certain show, they will be asked to sing one or two of the songs from that show. The wait then begins for the Singers after Call Backs, to see if they are selected for any or all of the Original Shows that season.
It’s now Audition Day 2, and the process begins again with a whole new group of hopefuls!