Audition coaching includes the selection and coaching of contemporary and classical monologues from published plays that best suit an individual student’s age, type, personality, and skill level.
Most schools require two contrasting contemporary monologues and some require a classical piece. However, with additional school specific requirements, students generally end up with three versions of each contemporary monologue. In addition, Denise recommends choosing an additional contemporary piece, for a total of three, not including the classical monologue. This gives the student some flexibility during the process and provides extra material if the evaluator requests it, which they often do.
Schools are looking for three qualities when evaluating a student’s performance. First, they consider the appropriateness of the material for the student as evidenced by age, type, and quality. Second, they evaluate the student’s potential in terms of their belief that the student will grow as an actor. In this aspect they evaluate whether the student has made good, strong, and appropriate acting choices. Third, they look for honesty and authenticity. Here, they evaluate a student’s connection to the piece in terms of how successfully the student conveys the emotional content of the monologue. In other words, how well does the student make it her own in a believable way?
For musical theatre auditions, Denise also works on the acting and story behind the song. The song is a monologue to music.
Choosing pieces that speak to the student usually requires a few sessions and the amount of coaching sessions after that will depend on the discipline and work habits of each individual. Students generally need 8-10 sessions for four monologues.
Throughout the year Denise teams up with faculty from prestigious musical theatre and acting programs in a free teleseminar series. Topics include: choosing audition material, what college theatre programs look for and finding the right program for your child.
Past guest advisors have included:
- Charles Richter, Muhlenberg College
- Larry Silverberg, Shenandoah University
- Kevin Covert, Shenandoah University
- Jean McDaniel Lickson, Florida State University
- James Clark, Syracuse University
- Catherine Weidner, Ithaca College
- Marshall Jones, Rutgers University
- Mark Madama, University of Michigan
- Laura Lane & Kaitlin Hopkins, Texas State University
“Before I began preparing for college auditions, I wasn’t very comfortable with my acting abilities and didn’t know how to find the materials I would need for auditions. Denise helped me find monologues that I felt connected with and enjoyed performing each time I went into the audition room. Denise taught me how to let go of the stress of perfection and perform naturally. Thanks to Denise, I have gained confidence and feel prepared for the rigors and challenges of a college theatre program.”
Anthony DeMarte, Muhlenberg College: Dual Degree in Musical Theatre and Dance